Review: Shooter

Published 8 years ago by , Updated February 9th, 2012 at 9:18 pm,

By Vic Holtreman

Short version: A decent action movie that tries to be deeper than it actually is.

wahlberg shooter Review: ShooterShooter, starring Mark Wahlberg is the story of a Black Ops sniper who is falsely accused of an assassination. Wahlberg plays Bob Lee Swagger, one of the top marksman in the world, who lives in a self-imposed exile after an operation in Africa goes badly. The film also stars Michael Pena who delivers a decent performance and Danny Glover as an effective bad guy. Ned Beatty does a really nice job as a dirty senator and Kate Mara is in the film to serve as the inevitable romantic interest, damsel in distress and eye candy.

The film opens with Swagger and his longtime friend and spotter (the person who gives the shooter range to target, wind information, etc.) in Africa, providing cover for U.S. forces on a local road. Swagger’s amazing skill is demonstrated as he picks off moving targets with apparent ease, but the operation soon goes bad, leaving him and his friend to fend for themselves in hostile territory.

Cut to Swagger living in a cabin out in the boonies sometime later with no one for company but his dog. He’s approached by Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover) who wants him to plan an assassination of the President. The purpose is to try to discover the most likely location of an attempt that the Colonel says will be made against the President within the next couple of weeks. Swagger has been approached because apparently there is a leak inside the government and since he is “outside the loop” he can be trusted. Swagger reluctantly agrees when his patriotic buttons are pushed.

Swagger scopes out three possible locations (where the President will be making appearances in the allotted timespan) and decides upon one, stating that it is the only feasible site from which an assassination could be successfully attempted. I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that this was an elaborate setup to frame Swagger since that’s the advertised premise of the film. The bulk of the movie concerns his escape from the scene and his attempt to clear his name and bring the real culprits to justice.

It was interesting to see how he would escape from an area with so much FBI, Secret Service and police coverage in the wake of the assassination attempt, although it seemed to me to be implausible at a crucial moment. Aside from that I liked how it was handled.

During his escape he comes in contact with a newbie FBI agent and tells the agent that he’s (Swagger) being set up. This sets up doubt in the agent’s mind (Nick Memphis, played by Pena) and he starts to work outside the chain of command to try to piece together what really happened. I was really hoping they’d avoid the cliche of having to stick a romance in the movie, but sure as heck, they did. Swagger goes to his dead buddy’s fiancee Sarah Fenn (played by Kate Mara) for help and she gets sucked into the proceedings.

There’s a bit of intrigue as the audience tries to figure out just how the heck Swagger is going to get out of this situation when it seems that there are such powerful people with incredible resources at their command working against him. Also there’s a fair amount of action including fight scenes and lots of gunplay. However there wasn’t really anything in the film that “wow’d” me… kind of a see it once and forget it movie. They tried to inject political intrigue into the film, but it felt kind of forced and flat to me.

I really like Wahlberg, but it seemed like he was a bit out of his depth here. Either that or the character just wasn’t written as well as it could have been. Considering how specialized Swagger’s skill was, and the fact that it was related to taking out targets at a VERY long distance, I found his amazing hand to hand combat skills a bit unbelievable. Why would a long-distance marksman be that adept at fighting? If they’d established him as an all-around special ops guy from the start it would have worked better in my opinion. This also bothered me later in the film when he planned a very elaborate attack. I just thought it was too much from the character. They started out with a military marksman, but by the end of the film he was Rambo.

Shooter isn’t a bad way to kill a couple of hours. Consider it an appetizer while you wait for The Bourne Ultimatum to be come out later this year. icon smile Review: Shooter

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. Marky Mark and his funky bunch have done it again. Mark Wahlberg stars in the latest action thriller Shooter. Shooter is the story of a retired sniper, Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) and his involvement in stopping a plot to kill the president of the United States. After running a mission in Africa, where his friend and spotter is killed, Bob takes refuge in the hills of Tennessee to get away from the memories of that mission. When Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover) shows up to get Bob to run one last mission, which is to stop an assassination on the president, this is where the movie takes off.

    The action scenes in this movie are outstanding. Between all the killings, the sniper shots and all the stuff that gets blown up, it satisfied the primal man side of your psyche. I would even go as far as to say the first 10 minutes of the movie are worth the price of admission. Now that isn’t to say that story line is a little bit of a stretch, if I were to say that everything in this movie is believable I would be lying to you. Sometimes you just need a good action movie, something that is just mind numbing and testosterone satisfying. This movie has all that and more.

    As far as the performances in this movie, Marky Mark does an excellent job as usual. I am really becoming a fan of Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch and I have no doubt in my mind that he will some day win an Oscar, just not for this movie. Another interesting point of discussion about Marky Mark (and we would appreciate your feedback on this subject here at Kajatm) which was brought up by my friend Ken this week was “Who is the greatest rapper turned actor?”. My original response was Ice Cube which Ken retorted; “What about Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch?” I stand corrected. I don’t even think this is a contest. But then again, I have been wrong before but only like once or twice.

    The female roles in this movie are played by Kate Mara and Rhona Fenn. Kate Mara plays the role of the widowed wife of Marky Mark’s spotter. Her onscreen talent is overshadowed by her beauty and she might be the other reason to see this movie, because I have no problem looking at a beautiful woman on screen for two hours. Rhona Fenn plays Alourdes Galindo, the Hot FBI agent that is helping Marky Mark find the people that set him up and lets be perfectly honest here since her debut in Nip Tuck I could watch her recite The Holy Bible in Latin and not be bored.

    The other characters involved in the movie are Danny Glove, who plays the evil Colonel Issac Johnson, and it seems that he has developed a speech problem over the years. Michael Pena who plays Nick Memphis, the only FBI agent that has figured out that Marky Mark was set up. And finally Ned Beatty, who plays the corrupt Senator Charles F. Meachum. They all play their parts perfectly. Although Michael Pena’s acting ability isn’t the best and it seems that his onscreen adaptations of characters always tend to be guys that seem to need to drink a case of Redbull to get moving.

    Overall I really enjoyed this movie. It was a good action adventure sniper movie. And when I see the words “action”, “adventure” and “sniper” in the same sentence I get very excited, that is of course unless it is something like See the New Action Adventure Sniper Movie Staring Ben Stiller. Sure this movie is a little bit over the top and the plot seems less than plausible but sometimes reality needs to check itself at the concession stand.

  2. I was really happy when I heard this movie was in the works, as I have read the book it was (supposed) based upon probably 10 times and is one of my all time favorite reads.
    After reading this great review, I won’t waste time writting another one here, but I will say one thing; if you are afan of the book, be prepared for a little disappointment.
    With that said, I should explain, I REALLY liked the movie and thought it was well done for what it was, an action “suspense” shooter, but it didn’t follow the book very much at all, so I can’t give it the total 5 star myself, as I went in expecting something different then what I got.
    After watching it a couple more times I was able to really get into it as a action movie and loved the content, but it did take getting past the previous knowledge of the book clouding my vision.
    So, all in all, good movie, worth the money to see in the theaters and since I now own it on DVD I would say it was worth adding to the collection, but my two biggest disappointments were seeing someone so young play a character that was supposed to be Tommy Lee Jones age, and changing the war history of the main character form the Vietnam era USMC sniper to modern day Special Operations.

  3. Wow, looks like someone found this using a search engine…

    About the movie, technically speaking the shooting and the actual firearm stuff were all pretty accurate and realistic, but the story was just sooooo dumb. I hate all of these retarded conspiracy theory movies. Vic was being nice, I would have given it a 2 out of 5, lol.