Eighty-six minutes of Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti shooting at each other over a baby.Oh, you want a bit more than that? All right, we'll give it a shot...Mr. Smith (Owen) is waiting for a bus, when he decides to follow a gunman, who is following a pregnant woman with murderous intent. He kills the gunman and his fellow Mooks, saving the newborn, but not the mother. The Mooks' boss, Mr. Hertz (Giamatti) continues the attempted infanticide at every stop. Smith enlists a lactating hooker (Monica Bellucci) to take care of the baby, who Mr. Smith names Oliver, while Smith fights Hertz and tries to find out who wants the baby dead and why.No, really.The film exists to show gunfights in every conceivable situation, from high-speed chases to mid-sex to mid-skydiving. Heck, it might as well be called Guns: The Movie because that's really the main focus of the film. The plot is secondary to meta-humor and really over-the-top action sequences. No, we mean really over-the-top. Roger Ebert commented: "I may disapprove of a movie for going too far, and yet have a sneaky regard for a movie that goes much, much farther than merely too far." By one count, Smith kills over one hundred and twenty people over the course of the film.Not to be confused with Shoot Em Ups, the video game genre. Although they do have a lot in common.
The film provides examples of:
Action Hero: Mr. Smith, who can not only kill a man with just a carrot but also shoot someone with a literal handful of bullets with no gun via fireplace. With his hand broken.
A Date with Rosie Palms: "What were you doing in there?" "Cleaning my gun." "...Oh, really?" The man in question is polishing his gun for most of the film. Literally, though.
Asshole Victim: Of a sort. When Smith and DQ need a car, Smith isn't particularly concerned that he has to steal a car, nor which car he picks. Then he sees an expensive one illegally parked in a handicap zone and immediately picks that one.
Awesomeness by Analysis: Hertz is a former FBI profiler. According to his minions: "He doesn't guess — he sees things we don't."
Forensic behavior consultant. My god, how many times do I have to tell you guys? Details make all the difference in this business.
Bad Ass: If we have to tell you, we're going to slap you.
Berserk Button: A number of things can trigger this response in Mr. Smith. For example, when he steals a car for parking in the handicapped zone, or runs another car off the road for repeatedly changing lanes without a signal. Basically everyday annoyances that usually only merit a gripe or two from normal people trigger sociopathic rage in Mr. Smith. And we love him for it.
Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: The ending takes this to a new level — a robber hides behind cover, so Smith shoots the robber's partner several times — first in the leg (causing him to fall down), then in the arm (causing his gun to point at the hiding robber), then in the wrist (causing him to fire). Keep in mind that Smith's fingers are broken at the time, so he pulls the trigger by putting a carrot in the trigger guard and slapping the back of the gun with his other hand.
Actually, Truth in Television, there is a nerve in the arm and wrist makes it twitch in the general direction done in the movie. But hitting it on purpose is next to nil Unless you're Smith.
Broken Aesop: A movie that celebrates gun violence has a pro-gun control message. According to the DVD commentary, this was not an attempt at a Spoof Aesop, but was simply in keeping with the overall gun theme. All the problems and solutions of the film directly relate to guns. Recite the mantra.
Hertz: Guns don't kill people. But they sure help!
Bullet Proof Vest: If Smith bothered throwing in a headshot or two for good measure, it would have been Bye Bye Hertz at the whorehouse (although Hertz was still knocked out cold and did not recover until the heroes got some head start out of there). Also DQ believes a bullet proof vest to be a better investment than a crib for the baby in light of their recent predicament.
And if Hertz had kept his vest on, he would have won his final shootout with Smith.
Counting Bullets: When Hertz is torturing Donna, he shoots to heat up the barrel of his gun. When Smith comes in to save her Hertz points his gun at him, and Smith notes that he's hasn't got anything left. Hertz however has been counting the rounds Smith has fired up to now, so he knows Smith is out too.
Disproportionate Retribution: Smith rams a guy off the road for driving aggressively without signaling. But keeping with the tone of the movie, Donna lampshades it: "You are the angriest man in the world!"
Double Entendre: "That's a six-shooter. I just counted six shots. You've blown your load." In a whorehouse, no less.
Dragon-in-Chief: Although Hammerson is the mastermind, his enforcer Hertz gets the most screentime.
Dramatic Drop: DQ's serving trays when Smith reunites with her, though it's implied she does this deliberately.
Dying Truce: At the very end, when Smith and Hertz are both nearly dead, Smith lets Hertz answer his cellphone as he walks away. The truce breaks, though, and both of them attempt one final shot to really kill each other off.
Establishing Character Moment: Hertz braces his gun on a wounded mook's chest, then shoots the man when his breathing disturbs his aim. When Smith takes the gun off him a moment later, he exchanges calm Gunpoint Banter, then reveals his Desert Eagle will only fire with his thumbprint.
Famous Last Words: Subverted. Smith tells the Strawman liberal politician how his (the politician's) death will create the sympathy needed for his gun control legislation to pass. When the politician starts to speak in resigned, but dignified agreement, he is Killed Mid-Sentence.
Faux Affably Evil: Hertz is a husband and father, and has a remarkably unexceptional home life that bleeds into his ruthless thuggery.
Gun Porn: This is the type of movie where the protagonist shows off his good parenting skills by teaching gun safety to a baby. Bizarrely subverted by the anti-gun message later on in the film, though.
Played for laughs with the male version (the Marilyn Manson wannabe with the cock ring.) Played for drama and squick with the female version (when Hertz is about to burn DQ's vulva with his hot gun barrel).
Smith at one point shoots a Mook in the crotch, causing a rather fantastic spray of blood.
Have You Told Anyone Else?: Discussed and subverted. Smith calls NBC, ABC, CBS, The Post, The Times, and the FBI to come check out an illicit baby bone marrow harvesting laboratory, because he hates it when a hero calls only one person and ends up betrayed by that one person. Unfortunately, the Lone Man uses his connections to make sure it stays out of the press.
The Big Bad has a dog he's openly fond of too. This turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun — Smith realises the senator has changed sides when he sees dog hair on his trousers, and realises he's met with the villain. Subverted when Hammerson is shown stuffing his dog's predecessor.
Hammerson: Don't worry Duchess, this ain't going to happen to you. Not for a few years anyway. (Duchess whimpers)
Hooker with a Heart of Gold: DQ who, to protect baby Oliver, will give a John a blowjob to buy him a bulletproof vest. Smith quips, "I hate to think what you'd do to get him into the right school."
Hoist by His Own Petard: Hertz might have won the final shootout if he hadn't had such a big and heavy gun to try and aim and fire while critically wounded.
Hypocritical Humor: After Hertz discovers the "Oliver" he ran over in the street is just a baby doll hooked up to a recording, he flips out and yells, "Oh my God, that is twisted. That sick son of a bitch!"
I Love the Dead: Hertz gropes the bare-breasted corpse of Oliver's mother, though he at least looks ashamed of himself immediately afterwards. It does give him a Eureka Moment when he realises Smith has to ensure Oliver is fed.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy : Like the rest of this movie it's cranked up to 11 - and that's if they're able to fire at all. Lampshaded when Go-To-Guy claims he was only trying to scare Smith into surrendering. Smith snarks back that it explains why he's such a lousy shot.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Starting from being able to precisely hit a Merry-Go-Round's bars to make it spin faster. The finale is this: manipulating a robber's arm to point at and fire at his co-robber behind cover.
In several scenes, Smith kills people using carrots.
The last shot blows a hole in Hertz's chest, lungs and all visible.
Meaningful Rename: "Smith" is both a generic pseudonym as well as a reference to the character's former career as a gunsmith. It also recalls the popular brand Smith & Wesson. The name reflects the character's desire and inability to forget his tragic past.
More Dakka: From semi-auto pistols. Somehow. The animation during the end credits gives new meaning to the phrase "a hail of bullets."
Mundane Made Awesome: The film's first shot is an extreme close-up of Smith's face, with dramatic music, as he eats a carrot.
Ms. Fanservice: Monica Bellucci as DQ is quite the epitome of this trope.
Neutral Female: Monica Bellucci's character. The mother in the opening doesn't count because, realistically, you wouldn't expect her to do any fighting, and because the whole movie happens because she's the one who first opens fire on the goons sent to kill her. Oh, and she dies.
No Name Given: Many of the supporting characters are simply identified by descriptive names in the credits despite their screentime or importance: The Baby's Mother, The Lone Man, Hertz's Driver, etc. The most bizarre is one Mook identified as "Man Who Rides Shotgun."
One-Man Army: Smith dispatches a whole battalion of Mooks by setting up an intricate system of rope-aimed, rope fired guns. As far as the Mooks are concerned, he's everywhere at once.
Throughout the whole movie, he kills almost a hundred and fifty guys.
Pet the Dog: Done straight up with Hammerson, who's openly fond of his Alsatian, and subverted with Smith — who'll shoot a man because he has a ponytail, but refuses to shoot a tracker dog because he likes dogs. He even adopts the aforementioned Alsatian after killing Hammerson. But Smith's best Pet the Dog moment is when he starts showing affection for the baby (which he previously referred to as 'it') by teaching him the proper way to handle a firearm safely. Awww...
This, of course, triggers Donna's he'd-make-a-good-father-so-now-I-want-to-have-sex-with-him hormones.
Rube Goldberg Device: In order to get into the Abandoned Warehouse he's using as a home, Smith takes a rat out of a cage, removes a brick from the wall and pushes the rat inside. The rat runs down a tunnel into a wire basket on a pulley which drops from the weight, pushing down a latch to open the door.
Rule of Cool: Pretty much the entire point of the film, and meta-humor. Given how over-the-top it is... it actually works.
Serial Escalation: When the first gunfight has Smith use leaked oil to turn himself into a sledding death machine, you know how often this trope's gonna be used.
Screaming Birth: Justified when you've got a shootout taking place all around you, including hot cartridge cases dropping onto your belly. It doesn't help when the man helping with the delivery elects to cut the umbilical cord with a point-blank gunshot.
Smith shoots out a "Faulk Truck & Tool" sign in the opening gunfight to read, "FUK U," while saying, "Fuck you, you fucking fuckers!" The camera pans to show the word "TOOL" next to it, and Hertz shoots out the L to have it read, "FUK U TOO", responding with, "Tit for tat."
A later scene halfway through the film has a thrown gun shoot off most of the numbers on an "X Days Since" sign at a gun factory, leaving only 0 out of over 1,000 days.
Stealth Pun: Monica Belluci's character (a lactating prostitute) is named/nicknamed DQ - the initials are for her real name Donna Quintana. That, and Dairy Queen.
Strawman Political: The liberal politician thinks he's destined for the White House, will do anything to get there (including inflicting horrible pain on babies), and sells out his beliefs to save his own life. To be slightly fair, the Conservative strawman is going to kill him painfully if he doesn't loosen up his gun laws. The conservative strawman does bad things with great relish, and monologues about how guns are great because they let cowards feel powerful. So one strawman's a little more overstuffed than the other.
Smith, usually. Even when ranting about stuff that pisses him off. The Lone Man, as well, even as his men drop like flies and he flings himself out of a plane to attempt to kill Smith.
Hertz spends a fair chunk of the movie as one, too, lampshading it with the explanation that getting mad causes a reduction in IQ, something he can't afford. All this, of course, just makes his eventual blow-up in the warehouse all the more hilarious:
Take That: The very first gun that Smith uses in the movie, a Walther PPK, jams, and he calls it a "piece of crap." Clive Owen, the actor who plays Smith, was briefly considered to play James Bond in Casino Royale. Bond's signature weapon is a Walther PPK.
Tank Goodness: Smith puts Donna and the baby inside an M24 Chaffee in a museum.
"You'll be safe from gunfire and most explosives."
Toyota Tripwire: Smith uses a car door to take out a machine-gun-toting mook hanging out of the side of a van.
Gun Safety: Smith knows you can never learn 'em too young.
Use Your Head: Hertz is about to poke out Smith's eye with a scalpel — Smith headbutts him in the face, getting the scalpel through his forehead but missing his eye. He then yanks out the scalpel and impales Hertz's mooks.
Villianous Resolve: Hertz is a grade A asshole, but he pulls himself up off the floor after taking !four! bullets in the chest, an obviously critical wound, and stands up for the final showdown with Smith.
Visual Gag: Smith exclaims "Shit!" when he has a Eureka Moment; on seeing Senator Rutlidge in the newspaper Oliver has been using as a diaper.
Wall Bang Her: Smith does this to DQ while killing the mercenaries.
Walking Transplant: Rutledge inseminating multiple women in order to mine the bone marrow from babies.