Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Shooter (2007)

Starring Mark Wahlberg

A former Marine sniper is framed by a mysterious agency in this violent thriller. Mark Wahlberg plays the sniper, Bob Lee Swagger. Danny Glover plays “the Colonel”, who supposedly recruits Swagger to help prevent an assassination. Glover imbues his role with oily confidence and charm.

Once the plot elements are set up, Swagger is wounded and on the run from a national manhunt while trying to figure out what happened and why.

Shooter is based on Point of Impact, a book by Stephen Hunter. The book is a well-written thriller, while the movie is only so-so. The translation from book to movie left behind the loving detail and believable action for a breakneck plot in which Wahlberg simply uses his guns and his wits to best his foes, one by one. Further, in the book Swagger is a Vietnam-era sniper, wounded in action, who isolates himself after the war for twenty years on a mountain in Arkansas. In the movie he’s a young Marine sniper who retires to Wyoming after a disastrous incident, with the story picking up two years later.

Ned Beatty plays a corrupt U.S. Senator, and is thoroughly unlikable in the few scenes in which we see him. While he richly deserves the end that awaits him, the dénouement of the film is a little basic and not particularly imaginative.

Fans of violent thrillers will enjoy this film. Everyone else, stay away. If you want to see a taut, well-done thriller, check out a DVD of Three Days of the Condor instead.

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