Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci
Director: Michael Davis
Producer: Susan Montford, Don Murphy
Release Date: September 7, 2003
Running time: 87 min
MPAA Rating: R
Distributors: New Line Cinema
“Nothing could be more painful than listening to you jabberin' on and on.”
- Mr. Smith, Shoot ‘Em Up
“What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?”
- Pet Shop Boys
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
No skinny. Just read.
What is your favorite food?
Maybe it’s something your mother made for you growing up or maybe it’s something you only have during the holidays. Whatever it is, I want you to close your eyes and picture it in your head. Think about how it tastes. How it smells. Think about all the reasons you like it. Now, with your eyes still closed, picture this fabulous meal of meals, the one true object of your culinary affections, your all-time desert island favorite meal of all time, being served to you with a big, fresh, steaming, smelly ladle of baby food colored, I just ate five truck load of the worlds worst sushi and don’t think I’m going to make it to the bathroom, shit smothered all over the top of it. You are now about 10% on your way to describing what I felt like watching this movie.
How in the name of all that is holy, could this have happened with two of my favorite current actors in the leads? Smith (Clive Owen) plays a… well I’m not sure what he’s supposed to be. What I do know is that he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up in a shootout with a gang of ne'er-do-wells led by Hertz (Paul Giamotti), get it, Hertz? Oh never mind… Smith ends up delivering some poor lady’s baby during the shootout, calls on the help of a prostitute acquaintance of his, Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci), and together they spend the rest of the movie playing cat and mouse with Hertz and his band of merry men, trying to save the baby. Why he bothered to care enough about it to risk getting his face blown off a thousand times over still escapes me.
The plot is… wait, what plot? Let’s see, there was something about a double or triple cross involving a government official and a gun manufacturer and something about a baby lab set up to harvest bone marrow and guys trying to stop all of it from happening - or something like that. It’s not that I didn’t follow it; I was just assaulted with it somewhere in the middle for the sake of having something else to follow besides the pointless action. Remember how horny you were on prom night? This is more forceful. And like both nights, by the time it really mattered I was too busy trying not to bite off my own tongue from the convulsions to even bother caring.
This was, by all accounts, supposed to be a slam bam, balls-to-the-wall action movie. At least there was action, right? Tell me there was action. If it succeeded on any level it was that it jumped right into it from the beginning. Within the first 5 minutes I thought, “Ok, this could be a fun little throwback to all the cheesy 80’s action movies I grew up on”, so I strapped in for the ride. And as hard as I try, I will never get back, what would be the next 85 minutes of my life. Ever. The action sequences were so over the top and so ridiculous that they could have only existed in the movie to have proof on film that some idiot studio head actually greenlit this movie. He must’ve lost a bet. Or owed someone a HUGE favor. The merry go round shootout, the loft shootout, the car chase, the sky diving scene, the warehouse shootout; even the sex scene was so bad I had to continually close my eyes, take a deep breath, and force myself not to walk out. I kept thinking that it had to get better, or at the very least not get any worse. Oh how wrong I was. This was reminiscent of Showgirls in that the primary draw of the movie (T&A there, action here) was so overused I got sick of seeing it. It kept getting worse and worse and worse until finally I just shook my head and laughed at the carnage (not the good kind) that was unfolding right in front of my fragile little eyes. At least we got various breaks in the action so Hertz can talk to his wife on his cell phone for no reason at all and Smith can eat his carrots… nope wait, never mind, Smith just killed someone with a carrot. Sorry, make that four different people. I guess we don’t get a break after all.
I watch a lot of movies and they aren’t all destined to make the awards circuit - nor should they be. And I am all for a good guilty pleasure now and again. They all have their place. But there are levels of failure that can be achieved. This one didn’t just scrape the bottom of the barrel, it hit rock bottom and kept digging. This is an absolute waste of an extremely talented cast. It tries to be funny and self referential, but the one liners become increasingly grating and if the movie understood itself as well as it wanted to, it would have realized just how terrible it was.
To paraphrase a line from the movie we kept getting bludgeoned with: Hey Smith, you know what I hate? Everything about this god awful train wreck of a movie you just tricked me into sitting through.
This is the worst movie of the year - hands down. There are no redeeming or likable qualities to be found anywhere in this picture; not one. A disappointment on levels I didn’t even know existed in the known world. It can only be best summed up by a quote from an equally idiotic, but at least likable movie, “…what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
Yeah, what he said.
And there’s the rub.
zero out of ****