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April 5, 2010
Shoot 'Em Up Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
7/9/20071/4/2010Village RoadshowMichael Davis
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1R18+Clive Owen

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Shoot 'Em Up is a pure action movie.

Director Michael Davis probably isn't too well known to man (although we personally love his comedy 100 Girls) but this latest movie Shoot 'Em Up is a totally different, R18+ rated action movie - and we loved it!

When the man known only as Smith (Clive Owen), a gorgeous streetwalker (Monica Belluci) and a maniacal hitman (Paul Giamatti) get swept up in a deadly game of cat and mouse, it sets off an explosion of armed thugs, flying bullets and non stop action.

First of all, forget about the storyline - there simply not much there to put more then a few brain cells of thought into. This is an action movie and it doesn't try to hide that fact. In terms of the action it's over the top, heart pounding, thrilling and laughable all in one. But that's what makes this movie so great, it's simply poetic gore...

The next impressive aspect is the actors. Clive Owen is a great action star and again he puts in a solid performance here while Monica Belluci is not only gorgeous, but puts in a fairly entertaining turn for the limited role she has to do. Finally Paul Giamatti. He's an actor we generally associate with a chubby, funny, good guy. In Shoot 'Em Up he's bad-assed all the way and it's just fun watching him in this movie.

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That’s getting your gun off!
So what else? Well one of the reasons I love Arnold Schwarzenegger so much is the number of one-liners in his movies. Now I've seen hundreds of movies over the years but Shoot 'Em Up is one that probably has more one-liners then all of Arnie's movies put together. Sure some are cheesy, but most are pretty hilarious too. Take this classic from Paul Giamatti's character: "Guns don't kill people, but they sure help". Or how about this one "Do you know why a gun is better than a wife? You can put a silencer on a gun."

So there are plenty of moments that are over the top, but the one aspect of this movie that really took me out of the entertainment was a scene where several characters have jumped out of an airplane and a gunfight takes place as they fall back to earth. It's pretty horrendous blue screen effects which doesn't look seamless at all. It should have been fe

Shoot 'Em Up is crazy, over the top, brutal but very entertaining for those looking for a popcorn action flick. Forget about the storyline, forget about the believability and just have fun with this movie because that's what it is - FUN.

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Ohhh guns, guns, guns...
Shoot 'Em Up is encoded on Blu-Ray using the VC-1 codec and has been framed at the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The video transfer here, while appearing a little on the warm side, really is very impressive. There's plenty of action and quick cutting in this film, but the video codec and the encoding is up to the task with a sharp image free of any compression of film artifacts - or at least significant enough to be concerned by.

We've already mentioned the rather dodgy scene where the characters have jumped out of the plane - it's terrible blue screening but that's not a fault with the transfer - although perhaps the added resolution over DVD hasn't helped the situation.

Just like the movie the audio on this disc goes over the top with aggressive use of surround sound channels and the sub-woofer. To cater for this Village Roadshow have provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track (24-bit/48Khz) and it's an absolutely cracker which will have your room shaking. Dialogue is clear and the music, including tracks from Nirvana, Mötley Crüe, AC/DC, Motorhead and Paul Oakenfold all sounding tremendous.

There are no other audio tracks on the Shoot 'Em Up Blu-Ray and there is only one English Descriptive Subtitle track which we briefly sampled with no major issues.

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Clive Owen is a great action star...
Given the low budget nature of the film, and the poor box office takings, we were pretty impressed with the extensive extras on this set which includes the following...

Enhanced Visual Commentary: This is a picture-in-picture commentary which has interviews with cast and crew which discuss pretty much everything. I would have liked a little more then just footage of the people talking, for example early on there is discussion about the massive number of drawings and storyboards but you don't see them here (they are in a separate extras "Animatics"), perhaps some could have been shown in the PIP window.

Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Michael Davis: I have to say that I really did enjoy this audio commentary with Michael Davis discussing many aspects of the story, the production, the actors and pretty much every aspect of this film. It's certainly worth a listen.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes (8:01/HD): There are nine deleted or alternate scenes here and they are presented in completed form with HD video and DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound which is tremendous. While they don't add much to the story they are worth spending time to check out.

Ballet of Bullets: Making of Shoot 'Em Up (52:52/HD): Split up into five parts ("Lock and Load", "Armed and Dangerous", "Itchy Trigger Fingers", "Safety's Off" and "Muzzle Flash") this starts off as a bit promotional, but after a couple of minutes turns into a wonderful, comprehensive look at the making of this film from finding the actors, to the storyline, to on-set filming. With a runtime approaching an hour this is well worth checking out.

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Now that's a sniper rifle!
Animatics (22:23/HD): Sixteen Animatics with optional introduction and audio commentaries are presented here and really are quire superb. The director used these to "sell" the film to the studios and it worked.

Trailers (6:39/HD): Three trailers are presented here "Addictive TV Remix Trailer" (in Standard Definition), "Theatrical Trailer" and "Red Band Trailer".

Shoot 'Em Up is a violent, over-the-top action movie with some good set pieces and passable plot. Most importantly it doesn't take itself too seriously and won't set any benchmarks, but if you're after a fun 90 minutes this should fit the bill. A great transfer and superb extras makes this worth a purchase.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.