Written by Jonathan Lemkin
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Running Time: 2:05
for strong graphic violence and some language.
Shooter was a cliché filled mess of a movie which did at least feature some nice large explosions.
Former Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger was once one of the top military sharpshooters. During what he thought was a routine mission, his spotter and best friend dies, and Swagger leaves the military and disappears into the woods. Three years later, the Government gets wind of a plot to assassinate the President and asks Swagger to help provide clues as to how it might happen. Little does Swagger know he's being set up for the fall himself. Little do the people who set him up know that Swagger isn't someone who likes being taken advantage of. Revenge is now the name of the game, and when you've got a Swagger, nothing's gonna stop you.
That last sentence may have been the saddest thing I've ever written. I'm going to leave it up there though, because I find it about as entertaining as the movie. Revenge flicks have been done to death, as have the 'one man against the world' pics. Shooter brings nothing new to the table. You have a loner set up for murder, an FBI agent who believes his story when no one else does, and a hot girl (with a horrific accent) who loves him, no matter how little she knows him (and no matter how much she dated his best friend.) Can you see the story developing? Bobby Lee Swagger (could there be a more 'movie' name?) is set up by the most inept group of people imaginable, but still manages to survive being shot twice and falling four stories, through at least 3 layers of glass. At no point is he unconscious or unable to move. He just gets up and walks away before disarming the FBI agent who will eventually help Swagger. And what is it about Swagger that the agent believes? It's that Swagger said he didn't do it, right after he steals the agent's gun... and car. And what does the girl see in this dirty man who the entire country is after? He was nice enough to send her flowers once a year on the anniversary of his friend, and her boyfriend's, death. Yes, a true relationship made in heaven. Throw in the pathetic bad guys who seem to be outsmarted at every turn, and you've got a run-of-the-mill Saturday afternoon TBS action flick.
Even before his Oscar nod, I was a fan of Mark Wahlberg. I'll admit to having some of his Funky Bunch music on my Ipod at the moment. He's always been a cool character, someone who had talent that was overshadowed by his physique, and his thug/musical past. Shooter is the kind of movie where the story could suffer because Wahlberg has enough charisma to cover the holes. Unfortunately, the role as written didn't give him a whole lot to work with. One problem may have been the sound system in the theater, but it was very hard to understand half of what he was saying. Not that the parts I did understand served any purpose. Danny Glover looked kind of lost in a role where he was supposed to be this really bad guy, but instead was just as happy-go-lucky as you can imagine. Ned Beatty's character, the corrupt Senator, wasn't even on screen enough to really get to hate him. Kate Mara, who I adore, looked good, but had an accent that made me cringe. I'm not sure even people actually from Kentucky have accents that thick. And Michael Peña, as FBI Agent Nick Memphis (another name you'll only hear in the movies) was inept at first, almost to the point of being comical, before somehow becoming the smartest man in the Agency, and somehow getting the extremely hot Rhona Mitra to help him out. All in all you had a mix of talented and attractive cast members, all who seemed to be in the wrong movie.
I will say that the violence in the movie was entertaining. How it was possible that the most wanted man in American could walk into a Costco and not have any notice him is another story. But Swagger did have an amazing ability to put together some really cool bombs, including some kind of napalm bomb that literally made the floors shake in the theater. He also had some good shooting abilities, which I suppose would explain the entire premise of the film. Of course when he finally gets the revenge he sought, he shot them from about a foot away, but in other parts of the film he shot from long range. Then again, he was able to teach inept-then-smart FBI Agent Memphis how to shoot people from a long distance, so really his ability to shoot someone from a mile away didn't seem all that impressive. And then there was the ultimate reason all this happened. Every revenge movie has to have that reason; that moment when all the pieces come together and we understand who started the conspiracy and why it happened. When we finally got the payoff, my only response was 'is that it?' I waited almost 2 hours to get some kind of random, flimsy reason for setting a guy up for an assassination? I'm not sure a valid reason would have saved the movie, but it would have helped.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I wasn't a big fan of Shooter. It had the potential to be a non-thinking yet enjoyable action flick, but instead was a cliché filled retread of 1000 films we've all seen before. Not even the great Marky Mark could save this movie.
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