Today’s Prayer Focus

Shoot 'Em Up

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) violence, profanity, nudity, sex, adult themes

Reviewed by: Steven Warburton

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Thriller, Action, Adventure, Comedy
1 hr. 27 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 7, 2007 (wide—1,700 theaters)
Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema Copyright, New Line Cinema
Relevant Issues
Copyright, New Line Cinema

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?

Why are humans supposed to wear clothes? Answer

Featuring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Greg Bryk, Stephen McHattie
Director Michael Davis (“Monster Man”)
Producer Michael Davis, Douglas Curtis, Don Murphy
Distributor New Line Cinema

“Just another family man making a living.”

“Shoot ‘Em Up” is a gorgeous movie to look at. It’s so slickly produced that the adrenaline highs were probably just as heavy in the editing suite as they were on the set. There are some brilliant action sequences, and the color contrast has been turned up to 10, giving the whole picture a surreal kind of quality that surpasses cool.

Right. That’s everything that’s good about “Shoot ‘Em Up.” Otherwise, it’s trash (in other words, a typical Hollywood film.)

Clive Own plays Mr. Smith, a dude who’s just sitting there, minding his own business, when a pregnant woman runs past him. Some guy with a gun chases her, running past Clive, and follows the lady into a warehouse. Clive, a little reluctantly, follows her inside, where he winds up shooting lots of bad guys, delivering the baby, and then severing the umbilical cord with a bullet. Seconds later, mommy gets killed. Baby is an orphan.

At this point, all I cared about was the baby. The baby is innocent. That’s the only thing redeeming in this film noir tale which, so far, is just an excuse to put lots of stylized violence on the screen because audiences have indicated that they will pay for it.

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling the movie industry, “That’s what I want.” Why does “Hollywood” continue to promote immoral programming?

It gets even worse when Mr. Smith goes to a brothel, which is disguised as a church, so he can get a slut played by Monica Bellucci, to look after the child. Later, Monica will perform a sex act on a stranger in a back alley. Why? Because it gives the audience something to laugh at. Ho ho ho. (Those three syllables can be read as a sarcastic laugh or as an adjective describing almost every character in this movie.)

Seriously, don’t waste your money on “Shoot ‘Em Up.” It’s nothing but two hours of violence, profanity, and unnecessary nudity pandering as entertainment. Spend your cash on something more edifying.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

Viewer Comments
Positive—So I loved this movie. If you are easily offended then yeah don’t see it. It’s extremely funny though. It’s a satire which I love cause I love action films but sometimes they are over the top and that’s what this movie is picking on.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Anthony, age 23
Neutral—This movie is a mixed bag. I unlike most people that are religious am more open minded. I don’t know how anyone could see the title “Shoot Em Up” then its rating which states basically it’s NOT something a Christian should see, and then everyone goes and sees it anyway and then complains! What sense does that make? Did you think it was a love story or something?

Anyway about the movie. I seen the trailer and read about it elsewhere and heard it was made with one purpose 'Over the top action/shooter'. So I rented it and watched it. From a christian viewpoint depending on how far you take things it would definitely be extremely offensive. …

To me about the only offensive thing was the fact that the “villain” of the movie had the baby’s mother (whom was dead) in his car and did a REALLY perverted thing to her. That was really sick. The other thing that kind of crosses the line is one scene where the “hero” (if you want to call him that) walks through a building that is prostitute place. But this isn’t just like the ones you see in the movies, this has “fetish” things going on in it. Another thing that was a little to weird even for me. He could have simply walked in, talked to who who needed, and walked out. We didn’t have to see everyone in each room. Overall, you should only watch this movie if you can handle over the top violent shooters because that’s what this is. There’s really nothing to gain from watching this and is pretty much useless from a christian perspective. …It was just a quick useless movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Matt, age 26
Negative—I completely agree with this viewer on the utter and complete lack of positive, and Christian moral content in this movie. However, I also feel that this movie is not worth watching simply because it is not that good of a movie. A film like Sin City, which explores similarly dark and disturbing themes, using the medium of a down-and-dirty action movie, and loaded with amazing special effects and technology, is much more worthy of viewing, both from an artistic point of view, and as a Christian, despite, I believe, the pervasive and strong sexual, violent, and otherwise aberrant content throughout the film. In some ways the two films are very similar, or at least Shoot 'Em Up was intended to be similar to Sin City. Both concern troubled, worldly protagonists fighting morally despicable and unredeemable villains, but while Shoot 'Em Up is intended merely to use the typical good versus evil plot device as a vehicle for mindless (albeit somewhat entertaining, from a very broad cinematic and satirical point of view) explicit violence and aberrant sexual situations, Sin City uses explicit violence and aberrant sexual situations to illustrate deeper, more resonant traits within its troubled protagonists. For example, we see Marv, a psychotic bum, fighting to give his life meaning by avenging the death of a beautiful woman (who he realized later was a prostitute) who he felt showed mercy to him by giving him one night of sexual bliss that he never dreamed of, as he felt no woman would ever love him because of his scarred and savage appearance. While the emotions and motivations of Marv fall decidedly outside the range of Christian values, the sheer beauty of his humanity and his pursuit for meaning in life (apart from his religious beliefs) redeems this film, in my opinion. Though none of the protagonists are Christian, they are noble and beautiful according to secular definitions, and appeal to the most basic needs of human beings (in their relationships with other humans): to love, be loved in return, and to fight for the honor of a loved one, sacrificing oneself for that loved one if necessary. Apart from Christian values, these are universal human themes that Christians and non-Christians alike can relate to, though they may disagree with the actions or motives of the characters.

In contrast, however, “Shoot 'Em Up” contained no such redemptive features due to the fact that the motivation for any redemptive virtues in the characters stemmed from a plot that was so ludicrous and unbelievable that it was obviously written for a mindless action movie. Sin City, in contrast, is gritty, dark, and starkly haunting—a beautiful film, written with a callous, tough audience in mind who are able to watch offensive content while absorbing (even if only at a minor level) the deeper meaning of the filmmaker. An excellent example is the scenes with Jessica Alba as a pole dancer, which are erotic on the surface, but profoundly saddening to an audience member who is honest with himself and allows himself to see the scene from Bruce Willis’ eyes, Willis' character being a cop who rescued the pole dancer as a young girl, from murder and rape—it is sad to see that she has not grown up into the kind of decent young woman Willis' character wished her to be. This and many other similar scenes in Sin City elevate the film beyond merely trashy “pulp fiction” to a much higher intellectual and artistic level, on par with such early American films as Cimarron and High Noon, but targeted at a much more jaded and wordly audience, devoid of, or “liberated” from the constraints put in place by the Hays film content Code of the 1930s, and divorced in large numbers, from conventional Christian beliefs and/or morality. In “Shoot 'Em Up,” however, there is no deeper redemptive meaning of the filmmaker, unfortunately, which ultimately makes this films morally and artistically bankrupt (though from a cinematic point of view, it is well-shot, and somewhat effective as a parody of John Woo style action films).
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3½
Dan Smith, age 25
Negative—This movie is for men at heart. Sick, twisted, non-stop violence and shoot outs. I went to this movie with my significant other, and it was not very comfortable to watch this movie with him. Unnecessary scenes, such as the bad guy groping a dead woman’s bare breast… sick. This movie was vulgar and distasteful in many aspects—meant to be humorous but the only people laughing in the theater were all the gross guys sitting next to me. Spend your money on a great western with a good story: “3:10 to Yuma.” “Shoot em up” left me with a gross taste in my mouth.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
Sophia, age 20
Negative—This was quite possibly the worst movie I’ve seen. The quality of the filmmaking was shoddy and stunted. The acting was horrible and worsened by the horrible one-liners script. The overall effectiveness of the movie was confusing. It was hard to decipher if it was a black comedy against violent films or if it was just really poorly done. Furthermore, the movie contained many instances of extremely bizarre and grotesque themes. Among them, a much too revealing look into the lives of hookers at a brothel; a man experiencing lust for a dead woman; and an extended and graphic sex scene. All in all, the movie left me wondering what its exact message was. If the movie leaves the audience bewildered about its purpose, then it could be concluded that the movie was ineffective as well as offensive. Don’t waste your money or time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
Stewart, age 24
Comments from young people
Negative—I saw this movie with friends honestly not even knowing what moving I was going to or anything about it, BIG mistake. It is a very offensive movie. The main character finds a baby goes to a Whore house, and they know him by name, to find one of the girls, and as he goes to get her you see many different sex scenes and a lot of body parts throughout the movie as well. The main character falls in love with the women and ends up with her. Besides all the sex and nudity, it’s not such a bad movie; there are some funny parts, but not many that don’t have sexual innuendos or bad language. This is definitely not a movie for families or anyone that wants to stay pure of mind.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1½
Ericka, age 17
Positive—…if you are looking for a movie with a good plot, good message, low violence, low sex DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE. If you are looking for a movie that you can take your kids to see DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE. On the other hand if you’re going into the movie looking for non-stop action, cheesy one-liners and an almost non-existent plot This Is The Movie For You. It starts off with the main character “Smith” (Clive Owen) witness a man chasing after a pregnant woman with a gun. Smith chases after the man and saves the baby (she gives birth in the middle of a gun battle) the woman ends up dead though. So Smith goes to his “Friend” who is a prostitute so that she can take the baby off his hands but the “Bad Guys” (Including a great Paul Giamatti) chase after her and the baby so Smith has to save them and so on. Like I said before if you’re hoping for a movie with non-stop violence that never lets up, this is definetely gonna be what you’re hoping for. It’s a whole lot of fun if you’re willing to put up with all the violence and put your brain on hold for about 80-minutes.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
Klein Miltenberger, age 13
Neutral—I watched “Shoot 'Em Up” knowing full well it was an over-the-top shoot 'em up (ha ha) satirical film. That point is something that most people seem not to realize. This film is purposely out there, purposely plotless—it is a satire on the action film genre. And it does its job extremely well. This film is extremely funny. But that’s really the only nice thing you can say about it, besides that it looks amazing.

The violence I expected, but there was unneeded sexual content. I guess that’s part of the action genre, but still come on!! And some of it was really sick. The whore house, the scene in the car with the dead woman’s body. For that reason alone I cannot recommend this movie. And I must give it the very offensive rating. These scenes are easy to skip on a DVD, but as plotless as the film is, skipping these scenes would leave you even more clueless.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Ben Badger, age 17 (USA)
Movie Critics
…If you’re interested in shamelessly exploitative violence… this film is for you. …
Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
…It’s the biggest, dumbest action movie ever. On purpose. … With its absurd anti-gun ‘message,’ the film certainly could be called a satire, yet it remains firmly within the genre it is satirizing. …
Kerry Lengel, The Arizona Republic
…a cartoonish bloodbath… offers nonstop fusillades, ridiculously gruesome maiming and murders… A hundred bodies may kerplunk to the ground, necrophilia and back-alley sex-for-hire get tended to, and the f-word ricochets around with the thwacking frequency of ammo fire, but ‘Shoot 'Em Up’ really is just Bugs Bunny vs. Elmer Fudd. It’s an R-rated, gravity-defying, live-action cartoon. …
Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer
…There’s virtually no plot, laughably brief attempts at character development… and dialogue that consists mostly of jokey one-liners muttered through gritted teeth, just before somebody gets blown away. …
Michael Machosky, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
…Absolutely not for feminists, lovers of period films, and anyone whose sensibilities are bruised by over-the-top stuntwork, it’s a cocktail made up of three parts testosterone to one part brains. … ‘Shoot 'Em Up’ exists for its crunching ballet of flailing bodies and spinning cars, for its ghoulish black humor, and for its hopped-up, boys-only party vibe. …
Ty Burr, Boston Globe
…action-hero movie send-up ‘Shoot 'Em Up’ gives new meaning to the word ‘wretched.’… a gratuitous spectacle of violence…
Stephen McGarvey, Crosswalk