Your Bad Movie Night Guide, Vol. 3: Shoot ‘Em Up

This is the story of a man that loves to eat carrots

Some so-bad-they’re-good movies never make it on  your radar. And some go by disguised as legitimate filmmaking. Shoot ‘Em Up is of the second variety. Marketed as a seemingly average, if not innocuous action film back in 2007, a time when, let’s be honest, Clive Owen was in everything, I had no idea what I was in store for when I was recently called away from my desk to see the ridiculousness playing on HBO.

Within 10 seconds, I was sold. This is a priceless gem, and one that anyone who appreciates terrible movies will love. In fact, when showing it just this week, to refresh my memory, a friend said halfway through the movie, “This has just moved to the top of my list of bad movies.”

Shoot ‘Em Up
Director: Michael Davis
Release Date: September 7, 2007
Rated: R
Where to Watch: Amazon


  • Oh so satisfying social commentary and acting out on the impulses we all have
  • One of the best sex scenes ever
  • A skydive fight scene that tops the original Point Break‘s


  • Beta-carotene enhanced supervision
  • Two confirmed kills by carrot
  • Room full of semen

It could easily be a movie promoting the health benefits of carrots. In fact, if one were to believe Shoot ‘Em Up, the key supervision on par with Superman is a steady (one every five minutes, approximately) diet of carrots (and maybe that ultra violence so oft referenced in A Clockwork Orange). Or it could be a movie about android babies sent back from the future by an evil cybernetic overlord named Skynet to kill us all. Conceivable, but no.

Really, Shoot ‘Em Up is a reluctant hero bystander story, wherein a drifter known only as Smith (Clive Owen) finds himself in either the wrong place at the wrong time, or the perfect place for a man of his impressive talents for mayhem and terrible witty one-liners. In either case, he saves a baby and then spends the rest of the film trying to keep the baby alive, and later a prostitute (Monica Bellucci) alive as well as the child’s surrogate caregiver. Paul Giamatti, and an odd, rag-tag assortment of the ugliest henchmen ever assembled for a mainstream film do their best (hint: not that good) to kill Smith, the baby, and hooker, only to die in droves in hilarious fashion.

Plot beyond that? No thank you. Applicable laws of physics? No mam. Discernible effort to intentionally come off as camp trite? Hell yes. Think of the worst bar lines you and everyone you know have ever either tried or joked about trying, throw them on a fridge a la magnet jumble, pick a few choice configurations, and, presto change-o, you’ve got Shoot ‘Em Up‘s dialog.

This is the story of a man that loves to eat carrots, is compelled to save babies, and act out when the sheeple of the world act the idiot savants they are: not using a turning signal? Spanking your kid in public? Don’t let Smith see you do it. He’s not bound by the moral or societal, or legally enforced restraints that you and I are and he’ll fuck your shit up. Remember, 151 bodies to his name, at last count.

He really, REALLY loves carrots.

I’ve got to take back what I said about the film’s marketing campaign. Perhaps its trailers were relatively straightforward, but apparently it had some guerrilla marketing that was ahead of its time to the point that the mainstream media took it seriously, like fake ads for bulletproof baby carriages.

If you’re not yet sold, you should have stopped reading this piece long ago.


  • It’s got super-hot brit Clive Owen and super-hot i-tie Monica Bellucci–they’re not just going to hold hands
  • Paul Giamatti has two overtly weird moments with a corpse and her boobs
  • One man suffering from paraphilia infantilism (feel free to click the link, if you’re curious) just wants a little milk fresh from the tap
  • Another man’s just looking for some back alley fun for money for a good cause


  • There is one of the most classic proposal moments of all times in this thing that may or may not involve a trigger guard (very much still attached to a gun) acting as a ring


  • Basically, everyone wants to kill everyone in this thing and it’s really hard to keep track of how many people are dying–my cohorts and I put the number at upwards of 100, easily–but has the tally at 151


  • “Fuck you, you fucking fucker!”
  • “You should thank me for saving your sweet back door.”
  • “Nothing like a good hand job.”
  • “Talk about shooting your load.”
  • This movie revels in uttering bad lines with utter seriousness: it is highly self-aware


Rick Lash