Shoot 'Em Up & r & & r & by BEN KROMER & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & hoot 'Em Up is a straightforward action movie about a misanthropic, semi-homeless gunfighter who only likes dogs and hookers and accidentally becomes entangled with infanticidal intrigue when a knife-wielding punk chases a pregnant woman past a bus stop he's sitting at. Our hero Mr. Smith won't stand for this, and before long he's acquired a gun, killed some people, and has a baby boy he doesn't know what to do with. Meanwhile Paul Giamatti and other bad, perverted men try to kill the baby with guns, knives, or just by running it over.

It's been decades since John Woo directed the great maternity-ward finale in Hard Boiled, yet in all that time no one has had the common sense to exploit the inherent drama of babies in peril. OK, there are plenty of babies in peril -- I've just never seen one in the scope of a sniper rifle before.

Shoot 'Em Up breaks unwritten rules besides the ones barring hilarious depictions of child endangerment. For instance, the bad guys' motivations are related to politicians and gun control, as opposed to every other action movie where the bad guys are motivated by drugs or nukes or something else not at all related to the substance of the movie. Shoot 'Em Up is unapologetically about guns and how much they rock, without so much as a sideways glance at America's "culture of violence" or any other concepts that high-minded filmmakers like to bounce off unsuspecting audiences to make themselves feel better for taking part in lowest-common-denominator fare.

Clive Owen's Mr. Smith is virtually identical to the character he played in Sin City. Monica Bellucci's hooker with a heart of gold isn't too far from her character in The Passion of the Christ. It's downright precious watching the two of them plus the baby start forming a happy family. If I never get a sequel to True Lies, I at least want a sequel to this.

The Shoot 'Em Up DVD has the standard special features: writer/director commentary, deleted scenes, making---of docs and animatics.

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