by HELEN GEIB
Recommendations of action movies on DVD carry an implicit disclaimer: “this movie will not be as much fun on your TV as it was in the theater.” The kinetic thrills of the action sequences are inevitably diminished by being shrunk to TV size (even a new, widescreen, really big TV). Although it can’t possibly be as exciting on DVD as it was on the screen, I expect Shoot ‘Em Up will suffer less than most action movies in the transition. It’s a comedy as much as an action movie, and a very, very funny comedy indeed to people who love the action movies it parodies.
Shoot ‘Em Up and Hot Fuzz are the movies that made me laugh the most in 2007 and those two inspired send ups of the modern Hollywood actioner would make a great double feature. Hot Fuzz transplanted the cop buddy movie with all its glorious cliches intact to the supremely incongruous setting of a pastoral English village. Shoot ‘Em Up takes a different approach, playing up the inherent absurdities of the form by pushing it beyond the boundaries of anything you’ve seen before. And then pushing it farther.
Critics often (and often justly) characterize action movies as cartoonish in their indestructible heroes and stunts that defy the laws of physics. Shoot ‘Em Up literalizes this reading of the genre. It’s a live action cartoon as much as any big screen adaptation of a Saturday morning kids’ staple. The difference is it’s also witty, clever, and shoots lots and lots of bullets.
Other new releases this week: Resident Evil: Extinction, September Dawn, War