a critiQal film review Shooter (2007)

Plot: Ex-Marine Bob Lee Swagger (Wahlberg) is approached and asked to plot a sharpshooter attack on the President Of The US. He does so, after being assured the plan he draws up is to be used to prevent such a sniper attack from happening. When he is double-crossed and framed for the shooting of a diplomat, Swagger has to uncover who set him up - and why. Kinda hard to do, since the whole country is on the lookout for him.

426 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 7s)

Another Mark Wahlberg action movie has come to DVD, and we wanted to check it out. He’s been on a hot streak as of late, starring in hits like The Italian Job (2003), Four Brothers (2005), Invincible (2006) and The Departed, so Shooter was a shoo-in for a movie we wanted to see. But, would this seeming The Fugitive (1993) rip-off continue his hot streak, or will Shooter miss?

While Mark Wahlberg does a decent job in Shooter, the film does bring out the scruffy look on him, making him look more like ex-NKOTB-er Donnie than the action star hero he’s trying to become. Still, despite that scary reminder of NKOTB, he does a decent job with the role given to him, and jumps into it with as much gusto as viewers have come to expect of him.

His co-stars, Michael Pena, Danny Glover, Kate Mara and Rade Serbedzija among them, also do a decent job in Shooter with their acting performances. While none deliver really stand-out performance (especially disappointing from Danny Glover after his surprisingly good showing in Saw (2004)), they do enough to keep the storyline moving along without any really glaring difficulties.

Unfortunately, director Antoine Fuqua – who has shown he knows how to shoot action flicks with The Replacement Killers (1998) – paces Shooter more like a thinking man’s thriller than the action fluff it actually is. Too much time is spent between each action sequence, as the director tries to pull the viewer into the storyline. Maybe if the storyline had actually been a little easier to swallow, that may have worked. As it is, with it’s layers and layers of conspiracy mixed with complete ineptitude by the bad guys, the story behind the film isn’t enough to keep the viewer interested for these long talking-heads type of scenes between the action.

By the time Shooter finally wraps up, the viewer is almost happy it’s over with – and then the film sticks the viewer with a couple of false endings before finally concluding with a cheesy ending that is better suited for a 90’s Steven Seagal revenge flick (Marked For Death, Hard to Kill (1990), etc.).

While the story was probably good on paper (after all, it’s based on the novel “Point Of Impact” by Stephen Hunter), the film adaptation leaves much to be desired. Shooter aims to be the new The Fugitive (1993)…but turns out to have more in common with US Marshalls.

Worth a rental if you’re a big Wahlberg fan. For the rest of you, however, if you skip it, you won’t be missing much.

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