Director Michael Davis welcomed ComingSoon.net into New Line Cinema’s post-production facilities in Burbank, where he showed us about 20 minutes of the almost finished Shoot ‘Em Up. The action-thriller, starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci, tells the dark story of how Mr. Smith (Owen) delivers a woman’s baby during a shootout and is then forced to take care of the newborn and protect him from the army of gunmen trying to kill him.
Davis was incredibly accommodating and was thrilled to show us selected scenes from the movie.
The film starts with Owen sitting on a bus stop bench gnawing on a carrot. A pregnant woman clutching her stomach struggles to swiftly walk passed him and into an abandoned building. He sits there a moment and ponders the oddness of situation. Next, tires screech as a man plows onto the curb screaming out the window, “you’re dead b**ch.”
As he runs after her, he questions Owen, “what the hell are you looking at?” He pulls out a gun and sinfully stares at Owen before he enters the building. He doesn’t seem fazed by what’s just happened. He continues to sit on the bench, eating his carrot. Annoyed by what he knows is about to happen, Owen stands up few seconds later and goes in after the girl.
When he cautiously walks in, the girl is on the ground hysterical with the guy standing over her with the gun. Owen takes the rest of his uneaten carrot and shoves it so hard down the guy’s throat; it goes through the back of his head.
He picks up the woman, who is in labor, and carries her to a safer area. He then starts to hear gunshots and sees other gunmen fast approaching. While he effortlessly shoots back at the army of men, he tries to calm the woman and tells her, “give me one big push” as she’s about to give birth. He delivers the baby and shoots off the umbilical cord. Blood splatters on the mom’s face. “What are you doing,” she cries.
Paul Giamatti is now among the pack of men trying to kill Owen and the woman. One of his guys is shot down and he leans on his body to take aim at Owen. “You’re ruining my shot,” Giamatti says and shoots him, not thinking twice about it.
“We’re outta here,” Owen says as he carries both the woman and the baby. He puts the woman down and says, “jr. needs to eat.” He commandingly rips open her top and forces her to breast feed.
Owen beautifully and fluently takes out most of the armed gunmen and rushes back to get the girl and the baby. He picks them up once again and starts running out of the warehouse. He’s pissed off and demands answers. When the girl doesn’t answer, he looks back at her and sees she’s been shot in the head. He sets her down and leaves the baby with her. He leaves and immediately feels bad and goes back for the newborn.
“Obviously I’m influenced by the man with no name, the Leone movies. But I wanted to twist it by starting out this Sergio Leone close up, but then setting up the quirk with the carrot crunching,” Davis explained. “Obviously, there’s the ‘Hard Boiled’ influence, ’cause I love the scene in the hospital with Chow Yun Fat and the baby; actually, that’s the inspiration for doing the whole movie. And also Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti have this real tit for tat, back and forth in the movie, so I thought it’d be nice to set that up, the beginning of their sort of arm wrestling back and forth and I had fun putting that together.”
Another scene Davis showed us was when Owen goes to a brothel. He asks DQ (Bellucci), a lactating hooker he knows, to watch the baby for awhile. She’s with another client, but he bursts in anyways and tells the other guy, who is only wearing a diaper, “the show is over,” and forcefully tells him to leave.
He takes the baby out of the brown paper bag he’s been carrying and tries to give her money to take care of him. He holds up the baby to her breast and it looks like she is going to take him, but she pushes the newborn away and refuses to hold him. From their mannerisms, you can tell there is tension between them, but it’s not sexual, it’s more than that.
“I like this idea because not only does it sort of fit with the story line that he’s stuck with this baby. Who would he go to help him, get help from, but also, ’cause I had done all these romantic comedies that were sort of raunchy and were very frank about sexual talk, and so I like putting the same kind of sexual frankness in the movie. I just think it’s fun and it’s what I’ve been doing, even though this is an action movie, not a teen romantic comedy; it still feels like what a progression of what I’ve been doing,” Davis told us.
We were then shown a very brief clip which not only illustrated the witty and engaging interaction between Owen and Giamatti, but the Bugs Bunny aspect that Owen has in the film. “As the movie progresses, and because Clive had this sort of Buggys fun quality, because he was always getting out of these crazy situations and screwing over Paul Giamatti, and this line was already in the movie,” Davis said. “It really does have a Looney Tunes kind of quality, and we even enhance that later on in the story that Paul Giamatti’s ring tone is the Vagner Kill the Rabbit, Kill the Rabbit. And I think it helps tell the audience “yes, there’s these dark elements” – people trying to kill the baby and all that kind of stuff, but it is trying to be light, it’s like a violent cartoon. And so I kind of liked how their little interplay kind of enhances the Looney Tunes aspect.”
The clips Davis revealed to us were dark, edgy, hard core action scenes which showed Clive Owen going deliciously insane trying to protect this baby at any cost. If you’re a fan of intense high velocity and clever, sharp dialogue, then you’ll love this flick.