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If you were looking for the Video Game genre, go here.
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.
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 call Guns: The Movie because thats really the main focus of the film. The plot is secondary to metahumor 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."
Not to be confused with Shoot'Em Ups, the video game genre. Although they do have a lot in common.
- Action Hero: Mr. Smith, who can not only kill a man with just a carrot, but also shoot someone with a handful of bullets - with no gun. And his hand is broken. And via fireplace.
- 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.
- In the commentary track, it is suggested that the reason he's always cleaning his gun is because he uses it for... stuff. Yeah, non-gun-related activities.
- Badass - If we have to tell you, we're going to slap you.
- Badass Bystander - What kicks off the entire plot.
- Badass Longcoat: Smith's. Despite being hobo-ish, he manages to pull it off.
- Badass and Child Duo: which leads to a whole lot of Badass and Baby carrying while in fights.
- 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 triggers 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, and 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.
- Bond One-Liner: Makes up a good 60-70% of Smith's lines.
- 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!
- Bulletproof 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.
- Canine Companion: Duchess becomes one to Smith at the end of the movie.
- Car Fu: Smith's temporary road rampage, and feinting throwing Oliver to bait Hertz. And the vault into the van to kill a vanfull of mooks.
- Catch Phrase: Parodied. Smith steals Bugs Bunny's, and Hertz promptly steals Elmer Fudd's.
- There's also "you know what I hate?"
- Character Filibuster: Smith often goes off on a rant about minor things he hates. DQ makes fun of him for it.
- Chekhov's Gag: "Your trigger finger is all the safety you really need." In that case, poor Smith will have to improvise by the time the movie's over.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Senator Rutledge appears on TV while Smith is checking channels in his slum.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Smith shoots out a sign 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."
- Coitus Uninterruptus: Smith guns down a few mooks in the process of having sex with Donna. "Talk about shooting your load."
- Compensating for Something: Hammersmith's lecture on America being a place where "a poor man can become rich, and a pussy can become a tough guy -- if he's got a gun in his hand." It's notable that Hertz has the biggest pistol in the movie.
- Complete Monster: Hertz's primary objective for most of the film is to murder a newborn infant, along with anyone else who gets in his way. After his initial appearance about four minutes in, he can't even go for even fifteen seconds without crossing the Moral Event Horizon (he kills one of his own wounded Mooks in order to get a better shot at Smith.) He wastes no time racking up his count of atrocities as he proceeds to snipe an innocent bystander who tries to take Oliver, fondle the corpse of Oliver's mother, interrogate DQ by burning her with the hot tip of his gun barrel, threaten to burn DQ's genitals with the gun barrel (he's interrupted just in time by Smith), interrogate Smith in a horrific scene of Cold-Blooded Torture, and lie to his wife about making it home in time for his son's birthday party. Smith thinks he's a complete douchebag, in-universe. More accurately, a "pussy with a gun".
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Hammerson.
- Corrupt Politician: The senator who sells out to the gun lobby.
- Determinator: most obviously shown when Smith takes down the Big Bad and The Dragon after they break all his fingers with nothing more than five bullets set off by fire.
- 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.
Donna: 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.
- Don't forget the end of the scene : "Nothing like a good handjob".
- Dragon-in-Chief: Although Hammerson is the mastermind, Hertz, his enforcer, gets the most screentime.
- Drop What You Are Doing: DQ's serving trays when Smith reunites with her.
- Evilly Affable: Hertz is a husband and father, and has a remarkably unexceptional home life that bleeds into his ruthless thuggery.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin - Is it ever.
- Excuse Me While I Multitask - Mr. Smith enters a gunfight while continuing to have sex with DQ.
- Eye Scream: Mr. Smith's carrots are good for his eyesight, but not for one Secret Service mook.
- Hertz's driver also gets a scalpel in the eye from Smith.
- Failsafe Failure: Thumbprint scanners on all of Hertz's guns. Smith simply hacks off a mook's hand and points the gun with it.
- Famous Last Words: Subverted. When 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.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Hertz.
- Fingore: Hertz' torture.
- Genre Savvy: Mr. Smith seems to know about typical action movie tropes, and actively takes steps to avoid them. For instance, 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.
- Gun Fu: The entire movie is made of this.
- Guns and Gunplay Tropes: Pick one; it's probably in here. Not that that should surprise anyone.
- Groin Attack: 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.
- Hand Wave: Parodied. Smith's shooting skills are implied to be because he eats carrots all the time. Pretty much everybody knows that while carrots can prevent the nutritional deficiency responsible for one of the leading causes of blindness, the idea of carrots significantly improving the vision of healthy people isn't really true.
- Also he is said to be the son of a highly-skilled gunsmith (which implies early exposure to guns and related skills) and to have later ended up being trained by the best of the US Army.
- Helicopter Blender - the fate of the Lone Man.
- Heroes Love Dogs - One of the few things Smith does like.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: DQ who, to protect baby Oliver, will give a John head to buy him a bulletproof vest. Smith quips, "makes me think what you'd do to get him into the right school."
- High Altitude Battle - And it's awesome.
- Hypocritical Humor: After Hertz discovers the "Oliver" he ran over in the street is just a doll hooked up to a recording, he flips out and yells, "Oh, that is twisted. That sick son of a bitch!"
- 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.
- Infant Immortality - Do we need to tell you? Averted for the two other babies.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: The mid-coitus gunfight.
- 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.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Smith.
- Just Keep Driving - Smith runs a guy off the road for the unforgivable act of cutting him off without using a blinker.
- He also littered.
- Knight in Sour Armour: Smith again.
- Lampshade Hanging: "Do we really suck, or is he really that good?"
- Large Ham: With a varying degree, everyone but the baby is a Large Ham. However, Mr. Hertz trumps them all. And we love him for it.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Hammersmith performing taxidermy on his german shepard. Once Hammersmith is dead, his new dog starts to eat his face.
- Literal Ass-Kicking: Done by Hertz to a henchman near the beginning of the film. After getting shot in the bum. Twice.
- And once was done by Hertz himself.
- Made of Plasticine: In several scenes, Smith kills people using carrots.
- The last shot blows a hole in Hertz's chest, lungs and all visible.
- Semi-justified by Hertz having taken several bullets into the area around where the final shot hit
- 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 (as in, Smith & Wesson). It reflects the character's desire and inability to forget his tragic past.
- More Dakka: From semi-auto pistols. Somehow. Orks would be a tiny bit impressed.
- The animation during the end credits gives new meaning to the phrase "a hail of bullets."
- Ms. Fanservice: Monica Bellucci as DQ is quite the epitome of this trope.
- Smith is obviously not the hero's real name; the Big Bad even lampshades him as The Man With No Name who rides into town on a pale horse. Hertz thinks he's worked out who Smith is, but isn't completely sure right up to the end. His end. What he does get is a tragic past and his real last name.
- 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."
- Not So Above It All: Hertz resolving not to lose his temper, quoting the Discovery Chanel on how anger lowers your IQ. Needless to say, he gets increasingly livid as the movie wears on.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Donna spends most of the movie in one.
- 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.
- Hertz's affection for his off-screen son and wife.
- Platonic Prostitution: Hiring a lactating prostitute to take care of a newborn baby.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: If you cause Smith to ask someone if they know what he hates, make your peace with God IMMEDIATELY.
- Pretty in Mink: Donna's purple fur coat.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Oliver's mother, who is pretty and got a neat little hole in her head, apparently so we wouldn't realize she was dead immediately. Averted for the entire rest of the movie.
- Prophetic Name: DQ winds up as a waitress at Dairy Queen.
- Put the Laughter In Slaughter: Hertz, a screaming tornado of beard and teeth.
- Refuge in Audacity: Pretty much the entire film.
- Refuge in Cool: Pretty much the entire point of the film, and metahumor. Given how over-the-top it is... it actually works.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: Duchess seems this way, but is a subversion.
- Soap Opera Disease: Senator Rutledge.
- 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.
- Shout-Out: The whole film is a series of hyper-violent yet comedic encounters between a protagonist who constantly eats carrots, and his hunter, a balding antagonist whose ringtone is ""The Ride of the Valkyries." Made explicit in one scene:
Smith: What's up, Doc? -bites carrot-
Hertz: "You are a wascally wabbit."
- The whole film was (admitted by the director) based on the scene from the end of Hard Boiled where Tequila runs around the hospital with a baby.
- Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes: Mr. Smith is somewhere between type III and IV.
- Stairwell Chase - Subverted: More like "stairwell turkey shoot".
- 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 strawman political 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 apparent enjoyment, and monologues about how guns are great because they let cowards feel powerful. So one strawman's a little more overstuffed than the other.
- The Stoic: 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:
Hertz: GOD'''DAMMIT, SMITH!!!
- That outburst gets repeated when he ruins Hertz's plans by killing the politician his boss was manipulating.
- 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. Take a wild guess what Bond's weapon of choice used to be...
- Toyota Tripwire: Smith uses a car door to take out a machine-gun-toting mook hanging out of the side of a van.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Smith likes him some carrots, and his first kill in the movie? Via carrot.
- Walking Transplant: Rutledge inseminating multiple women in order to mine the bone marrow from babies.
- With This Ring: Smith slips the trigger guard of a pistol over DQ's finger with obvious symbolism.