Recently a friend pulled me aside and said I should watch more movies featuring Clive Owen.
Sure, I probably could have used advice on some things that are of greater concern to me, things like my career goals, my unhealthy appreciation of alcoholic beverages, and my total lack of female companionship, but I have to take what I can get from my friends. They're not into sharing to begin with.
So I went to the Blockbuster place in search of movies featuring Clive Owen, whom I am told is rugged and British. Think of him as a Land Rover with a SAG card.
For the sake of time and to avoid any kind of Clive Owen burnout, I narrowed my choices down to two of his recent films.
First was the Children Of Men, an award winning thought provoking sci-fi drama that although set in the future, holds a mirror up to our society's current struggles.
The other was Shoot 'Em Up, a mindless action film.
Clive, you had me at Shoot.
In Shoot 'Em Up, Owen plays a man named Smith, one of those mysterious movie anti-heroes with no past who speaks in a raspy monotone and wears a slick black trench coat no matter how hot it is.
I would love to have a coat like that. You fight bad guys, fall down a flight of stairs, crash through a few windows and you still manage to look sharp for evening cocktails at Tenjune. That my friends, is a quality garment.
Anyway, as the movie opens Smith is hanging out on a bus stop bench practicing his brooding when he meets a very pregnant girl being chased by a bunch of heavily armed thugs. Before you can crank up the heavy metal soundtrack to eleven, Smith is on the run with a newborn baby under his arm and every armed goon with a henchman license in the tri state area is in hot pursuit.
Oh, and he does all this while shooting everyone.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, Shoot 'Em Up is a movie that has guns. Lots of guns.
A plethora of pistols. A festival of firearms. Bushels of Baretttas. Gaggles of Glocks.
Oodles of Uzis. Bullets fly, bad guys die, and spent shell casings rain down like- well, like rain.
Sorry, I'm not good at similes.
But come on, Oddles of Uzis! You have to give me props for that.
Leading the band of baddies after babydaddy Smith is distinguished actor Paul Giamatti (Sideways) who must have suffered severe stomach cramps after all the scene chewing he does on screen. On the surface, Giamatti's Hertz character is your typical batshit movie villain, but he's above all a villain who cares. When one of his underlings bungles an attempt to catch Smith, he calmly expresses his disappointment in his employee, points out his mistakes and then encourages him to do better before shooting him dead. Don't you wish your boss had those kinds of leadership skills?
Monica Belluci plays a local prostitute named Donna who gets sucked into Smith's adventures in babysitting. Belluci is a beautiful Italian actress who could easily pass for Catherine Zeta Jones' hotter Italian sister.
Donna doesn't do any shooting in the movie, but she does have sex with Smith during a gun battle, which is something you don't see in your average action movie. Before the gunfight? Perfect time for sex. After the gunfight? Sex is a great way to wind down. Sex during a gunfight? That's pretty darn cool.
Let's see Mel Gibson and Danny Glover have sex with each other during a gunfight in a Lethal Weapon movie!
No, let's not see that.
While Shoot 'Em Up doesn't have as much shooting as Saving Private Ryan, it does have a lot more shooting than Fried Green Tomatoes, so it's a pretty entertaining flick.
Let's face it, Fried Green Tomatoes would have been a lot better if Cathy Bates went flying through the air firing two guns at once while some AC/DC song blasts in the background.
Maybe they'll include that in a sequel.