Shoot 'Em Up

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Shoot 'Em Up Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Over-the-top action with guns, guns, and ... guns.
  • R
  • 2007
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The hero is stoic and virtuous -- and a killing machine; the villain is snarly and underhanded; a politician is hypocritical.


Many, many guns. They're shot, thrown, exploded, bought, brandished, compared, cleaned, heated to burn someone, and arranged into grand traps. Lots of loud gunfire, shooting in motion (sliding, falling, leaping, flipping), car crashes, bloody bodies dropping, blood spurting and oozing, and lasting wounds, scars, and bruises with bloody bandages. At one point, carrots are used as weapons (jammed into eye sockets/through skulls). A man is tortured by having his fingers broken (very visibly) and threatened with a scalpel to the eye. Fights include kicks, hits, punches, falls, head-butts. First scene shows a mother giving bloody birth, after which she's shot dead. The baby is frequently in danger (thrown, shot at, hidden, used as jokey prop, left in traffic); at other times, Smith teaches him the parts and uses of a handgun.


Repeated female nakedness, particularly breasts (on both live women and dead ones). Frequent references to and images of prostitutes (brothel doorways show various sexual acts, including a woman's naked bottom, a "school girl" performance, and a dominatrix whipping her client). A woman performs oral sex on a client in an alley (viewers see where her head is positioned). An elaborate, comic sex scene has the woman moaning ecstatically as she and partner are shot at and assaulted (no explicit body parts are seen, but nudity is clear, as is the activity). Various colorful phrases (e.g., "nothing like a good hand job," "phallic mumbo jumbo," "you should see me spell my name in the snow").


Some clever use of language ("F-U-K-U" in spelled out in shot-out neon signage), plus a range of spoken/yelled vulgarity, including "f--k," "s--t," ""ass" (also with "hole"), "damn," "hell," "bitch," "p---y," and "rat bastard."


Cars (BMW), mentions of NBC and the Discovery Channel.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Hertz takes a combination of vodka and Tylenol; reference to morphine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this over-the-top, gun-focused action movie brims with wild violence and its effects. Much of it is presented in a comic, cartoonishly excessive way, but characters are still left torn, bloodied, bruised, and broken. Violent acts are mostly shooting-related (one particularly extreme sequence features characters shooting at each other during a fall from an airplane), but there are explosions and car crashes too -- all with painful-looking results. Sexual content includes references to the heroine's work as a prostitute (she's introduced in brothel), plus shots of naked breasts and cleavage, and a prolonged sex act during a violent assault. Language is quite salty (primarily variations on "f--k") but probably not as plentiful as you'd expect -- mostly because so much of the screen time is spent shooting instead of talking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycallofduty5 March 5, 2011

Silly as F**K but very good in that way

One of the best action movies of 2007.
It's quiet violent tough
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byrachel4missions March 13, 2009

Silly but enjoyable.

It was an interesting movie, despite having a lacking plot and way over the top action and sex. Still, it was a good date movie and we both laughed most of the... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byia1746 July 17, 2020

Lots of action in this 80-minute thrill ride

Shoot 'Em Up has quite a lot of action, I really enjoyed this movie. It has a really quotable and funny line which is (spoiler alert if you haven't se... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byhi5smosh April 12, 2015

Shoot 'Em Up: Movie Review

Hello, I will be reviewing the movie, Shoot 'Em Up.
Violence and Gore: The violence in this movie is endless, I mean, endless. The action has a dark sens... Continue reading

What's the story?

Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) delivers a baby during a shootout and ends up the infant's guardian when the mother (Ramona Pringle) is killed. Super-skilled (he was trained by the U.S. military in his secret past), intensely focused, Smith is determined to save the baby, though he knows nothing about how to feed or clothe it (he uses newspapers for diapers and a dirty sock for little Oliver's head). He enlists the only lactating woman he knows, a prostitute named Donna Quintano, or DQ (Monica Bellucci). More worldly wise than her valiant ex-client, DQ goes along for the ride, falling in love with Smith and little Oliver on the way.

Is it any good?

Outrageous and antic, Shoot 'Em Up simultaneously spoofs and pays homage to everything from Bugs Bunny to Indiana Jones and James Bond. Smith is so fast and furious during his always-triumphant encounters with bad guys that he's deemed a "wascally wabbit" by the malevolent Mr. Hertz (Paul Giamatti). The pair's antagonism escalates exponentially, accompanied by all manner of gunplay and wild stunts. As Hertz puts it, the back and forth turns into "tit for tat," with each shoot-out, car chase, and torture scene a means for one side or the other to get even.

Of course, no such balance is possible. Every violent act leads to more violence. While the acceleration is demented fun here, the broader context is dire -- as indicated by what turns out to be the villains' awkward motivation: their work for a cadaverous-looking gun manufacturer (Stephen McHattie) and a corrupt U.S. senator/presidential candidate (Daniel Pilon). Both are involved in an imminent decision concerning gun control, but really, they're just distractions from the film's main business, which is shooting and more shooting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's cartoonish approach to violence. How does seeing the kind of extreme violence typical of Looney Toons shorts translated to live-action affect your opinion of both approaches? Is animated violence easier to stomach than its real-life counterpart? Why or why not? Why do we as filmgoers like to see things go bang and blow up? What are the consequences of violence in real life? What messages is the movie sending about guns and "gun control"?

Movie details

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