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March 2007


By Wilson Morales


Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Screenwriter: Jonathan Lemkin, based on Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter
Cinematography: Peter Menzies Jr.
Composer: Mank Mancina

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Michael Peña, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Rade Sherbedgia, Ned Beatty


It’s always amusing to see a film that gets recycled under a different name with new faces and new marketing. When it comes to action films, we basically see the same car chase, the mass number of guys getting killed, and the hero walking off in the end of the film. Such can be said with the latest film from Director Antoine Fuqua, “Shooter”. Ten years ago, a small film, if you can call it that, called “Most Wanted” came out and it starred Keenan Ivory Wayans. Yes, it was Wayans’ approach to be taken serious as an actor. It was about a soldier who was set up to be framed for assassinating a high ranking government official. When the movie bombed at the box office, Wayans went back to his day job as a comedian and a director and success has come his way again. Moving forward to the present, “Shooter” provides the same formulaic story but with more intensity, less comedy, and more action. That being said, while Walhberg provides plenty of action, there’s no substance to a convoluted plot and a hackneyed ending.

Walhberg plays a former military sniper named Bob Lee Swagger, who during his of combat, his government left him high and dry in the war to fend for himself while his Marine comrad was gunned down, leaving him remorseful but still patriotic to his country. When so-called members of the Secret Service seeks out his help in preventing the assassination of the President, Swaggers is reluctant to go back in the field, but can’t resist to use his rifle and marksmanship for a good cause. That cause turns out to be a setup with Swagger being shot in the process and seeking the help of the girlfriend of his late comrade. With every law enforcement in the nation is looking for Swagger, Nick Memphis (Pena) is the one dissenter who feels that everything is not is what is seems once he’s starts to put the pieces together. While his wounds are being healed, Swagger plots to exact revenge on his government in the midst of clearing his name.

The film is basically a cat and mouse game of who will end up alive, especially when the weapon of choice is a rifle. Not much is learned from Wahlberg’s character aside from what was shown in the beginning when he was hanging and playing with his dog. The mission and the reason Danny Glover is sent to track Walhberg in the first place doesn’t make sense once revealed. Fuqua has had better projects in the past when you think of “Training Day”, “Tears of the Sun”, and “King Arthur”. Those films, though not perfect, had some flair and substance, and did garner an award for Denzel Washington (Training Day). Coming off an Academy nomination for his recent performance in the Oscar winning film, “The Departed”, Wahlberg had more to do in that film and he had less screen time! If his character was going to be one-dimensional, while not get someone like Stallone or Schwarzenegger, who, while older at this point, can still do this film in their sleep.