The Top 5 Shoot 'Em Up Movies

You know, I don't often like to call films derivative, but Shoot 'Em Up is a movie that really is. Not that that's a bad thing. But it clearly wants to be an American version of a Hong Kong film. But it does so really, really well. Here are a few other explosive masterpieces that Shoot 'Em Up clearly wants to be compared to, and frankly, the movie sent me home wanting to watch these flicks again.

1.) Hard Boiled

The movie that clearly inspired Shoot 'Em Up, this taut John Woo actioner climaxes at a hospital with one of the craziest shootout sequences of all time. Chow Yun Fat has to protect a hospital ward full of babies from an endless stream of gunmen. Once you've watched this you get the feeling that Shoot 'Em Up director Michael Davis thought, "I wonder what would happen if you stretched that one gunfight into a whole movie?" If you haven't already seen it, you owe it to yourself to see this gunfight.

2.) The Killer

Okay, okay. I went for two movies from the same director. But what can I say, John Woo in his Hong Kong days was the Kubrick of action films. And this one is his magnum opus. It's the story of a cop and an assassin who are at first hunting one another, then eventually are working together to take on a crime syndicate. Originally intended to be a comedy in Chinese, American audiences failed to see the humor and instead found it heartfelt and distinctly awesome. The final gunfight in a church is one of the greatest shootout moments in film history.

3.) Die Hard

Well known as one of the single greatest American action films, the gunfights in this are inventive, spectacular and turned a balding television romantic lead into one of our greatest action stars. You've seen it, you know. I don't think I need to say much more.

4.) The Nest (Nid de Guepes)

This relatively unknown French action film is its own special kind of awesome. When authorities transporting Europe's most dangerous kingpin are slaughtered by a sudden, vicious attack, the driver turns the paddy wagon into a warehouse which a group of thieves try to rob. The subsequent siege is one of the best "shoot 'em up" movies in recent years. It's available on DVD in the US with a surprisingly good English dub for those who hate subtitles. In fact, it's one of the best dubs I've ever come across.

5.) Assault on Precinct 13

Take your pick, although I personally prefer the remake. I love the original, but there are just so many great moments in the new version that I love to revisit. Precinct 13 is being closed down and absorbed into another, more well-equipped precinct. Trouble is all hell breaks loose on their last night during a blizzard and no one can help. Cops and criminals must work together to survive the night and hold out for help against mysterious waves of assassins. Each version of the movie is distinct in its own right. I own them both for just that reason.

C. Robert Cargill - - - Email me


Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD five times a week.

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