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Shoot 'Em Up 

 

click to enlarge 37_0007_shootemup.jpg

Oh, the plot about babies and politics hardly matters, or even makes sense. It boils down to this: A crack shot and mystery man, "Mr. Smith" (Clive Owen, cool and sardonic), is pursued by hitman Mr. Hertz (Paul Giamatti) and his hundreds of gun-happy assistants. Everybody shoots and gets shot; all except one or two die. Writer-director Michael Davis' comic actioner has its tongue firmly in cheek -- this is a hyper-violent, quip-laden cartoon that embraces the genre's conventions as gamely as it rushes to shoot 'em full of holes. So while the exposition feels trite, a mid-air gun battle draws big laughs; the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold (Monica Bellucci) subplot has been done to death, but Davis gets some traction with Mr. Smith's unconventional baby-minding. And that title's no false advertising: This film loves blasting away, though there's gunless violence as well: two gruesome deaths-by-carrot. (AH)

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