“Tit for tat, Mr. Hero. Tit for tat.”
One word can simply describe this movie: fun. There is so much to enjoy here in terms of action that it’s just fun, fun, fun, fun and more fun. It’s safe to say, I loved this film. I can throw it on anytime and immediately know that it’s going to be a great time because of how silly and hilarious it all is. But that’s all largely thanks to the fact that Shoot ‘Em Up knows to not take itself seriously at all and instead, focuses purely on upping the stakes each time and always being as much fun as it can. Oh, did I mention that it was fun?
Right from the beginning, Shoot ‘Em Up brings you in to tell you exactly what it’s going to happen and what you’re getting yourself into. I’m a fan of how this sequence quickly sets up the tone for the rest of movie and from that point; I was up for the ride it took me on. It’s also a sequence that might very well have one of the best and memorable opening action scenes in film history and that aspect alone should be enough of a reason to give Shoot ‘Em Up a watch. In terms of trying to picture what you’d be getting yourself into without divulging details of the plot, I’ll sum up the necessary expectations for what this film will deliver.
Shoot ‘Em Up is essentially a fast-paced action movie that is intentionally ridiculous but also really cheesy and which combine together to give you some of the most fun action sequences you’ll ever see. And if you’re a fan of the Crank series, you’ll be loving this.
One of the main aspects of the story that I really enjoyed, was the fact that every action scene was stepping up its level of intensity and stupidity. Just when I thought a particular fight scene or ‘shoot em up’ confrontation was so ridiculous, the next one would then up the game to a new hilarious height. It’s this fact that also made me not mind that most of the action scenes were being cheated, given I am a huge fan of how Jackie Chan’s style of work is inclusive of open wide shots that show every blow landing without faking it. At least the action that does come from Shoot ‘Em Up is intentionally meant to look ridiculous and as the stakes keep getting higher, it also makes it increasingly fun to watch as it goes on. For this reason, I can’t really fault it from a technical level because it’s not really trying to take itself seriously as a dramatic action movie in the first place.
Much like my appreciation for the Crank movies, once an action film like this becomes self-aware of how ridiculous it is, I can quickly ignore most of its other obvious flaws and soak it in purely as entertainment. Shoot ‘Em Up works because of the story’s sole focus on being fun, similar to also how I felt for Mad Max: Fury Road, which is a great experience to see on the big screen because of how boisterous the action is. Do these films have that much of an intricate and thought-provoking story? No. But they don’t need to because it’s so much more entertaining in other respects such as humor, action, and character.
For these reasons, Shoot ‘Em Up lies as a guilty pleasure on my list of favorite movies and is one that I easily recommend to anyone who’s interested in watching an exciting action film. It’s everything it needs to be and there’s not much else to say because it’s a fairly simple film. But just it’s simple, doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t surprising as I had no sense of guessing just how much the writers were willing to continually raise the stakes in terms of action and I was always glad when they did. Shoot ‘Em Up is by far a hidden Netflix gem for those in the United States and I can only hope that it gets distributed for those in Australia one day soon. See it.