When it comes to movies, I have a confession to make: I like well done violent action. I particularly like violent action that is implausible and does not take itself too seriously. Some of my favorite examples of over-the-top choreographed violence include "Desperado", "Transporter", the Blade series, and "Smokin' Aces". You'll note the lack of sword-based violence here. While I like those, they're more my husband's thing than mine.
"Desperado" was may favorite for the longest time. In it's day it was the ultimate choreographed fantasy violence flick.
As a parent, I guess I am supposed to abhor violence, especially violence in the media. I guess that makes me a terrible parent (well, that and a few other things, truth be told). However, my husband and son spend hours playing extremely violent video games. My husband teaches martial arts (albeit ones that focus on defensive deflection of your opponents attacks to his own undoing); and, my son assists him in several of his classes. However, my son is a relatively mellow and peaceful individual. ... So .... um ... THERE!
I find violence in film, when done in a near comic way, to be quite cathartic and stress releasing. I used to love it in the traditional James Bond flicks when he would kill someone and then issue some witty pun regarding their demise. My first real appreciation for my own attraction for violent film came after seeing the original "Die Hard". Man, but I do love that movie!
Enter my current nominee for 'most excellent choreographed fantasy violence flick': Shoot 'Em Up. The first time I saw the commercials for this movie I knew I had to see it. The best scene from the preview is when they show Clive Owen's character flying down one of those conveyances with the little metal rods that spin as packages are pushed along (used a lot in industrial assembly areas). He's shooting people left and right and as he reaches the end of the run he lets himself fall off the end, and in slow motion, shoots at more targets who suddenly come into range from underneath the run.
The skill that Owen's character has with a gun, and his succinctness in motion, are completely unbelievable. Literally. I DON'T CARE. It is great fun to watch. Plus, much like James Bond and Die Hard's John MacLane, he often delivers a great witticism after he's nailed a few bad guys.
"Sideways" star, Paul Giamatti is surprisingly amusing as Owen's criminal nemesis. He is obviously much smarter than virtually everyone in the flick, and keeps his cool most of the time even after being bested by Owen again and again. He even gets maniacal in several scenes when he thinks he's finally figured out how to beat Owen.
The average rating from the professional critics was about a C+. However, Roger Ebert gave it an A-. I guess he too knew what he was supposed to be getting from this type of flick. As quoted on Yahoo (and I totally agree): ".. the most audacious, implausible, cheerfully offensive, hyperactive action picture I've seen since, oh, "Sin City,""
So, if you too find release in gun play that really doesn't take itself too seriously (ala "The Departed"), go see this one. As we left the theater, I informed my spouse that we would be purchasing this one on the date it was released on DVD.