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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.79%
Worth A Look44.83%
Average: 10.34%
Pretty Bad: 15.52%
Total Crap: 15.52%

5 reviews, 28 user ratings

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by Jason Whyte

"No, not Christopher McDonald’s sequel to Happy Gilmore."
4 stars

About halfway through “Shooter”, there’s a scene in which Sarah Fenn (the lovely Kate Mara) is back in her house after an entire series of shenanigans involving her working with a framed army sniper. She’s all alone in her dark house, and suddenly she hears a noise. She quickly grabs her double-barrelled shotgun and begins to look around the house. The music is ominous. The dank, dark cinematography helps set the tone. Sarah then turns around a corner and then…BAM! She lets out a double blast to a government bad guy who has broken into her house. Blood sprays everywhere on the wall behind him, and we look back to Sarah Fenn…barely any reaction. Yep, this is a guy’s movie.

It’s about here that I stopped taking mental notes on what’s wrong with the movie “Shooter” and went along for the ride. This political espionage thriller is so extremely silly, so stupidly fun that even with all of its logistical nightmares, the performances are right on the mark and the direction by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, King Arthur) keeps things right on track. And surprisingly enough, I found myself richly entertained with the storyline.

Take the name of Bobby Lee Swagger. Say it out loud if you want. Mark Walhberg plays this character, a special-ops sniper who is framed for an attack on the president’s life. You see, back in earlier days, he was in Ethiopia firing perfect shots at bad guys miles away in moving cars, and has decided to retire after one of his close partners was killed. Cut to two weeks prior to the attempt, and he now lives in solitude in the mountains, but has been asked to help foil an assassination on the president’s life that Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover) and his grunting partner Jack Payne (Elias Koteas), both close to the white house, believe will happen in Philadelphia.

When Swagger finds himself in Philly checking things out, the king of Ethiopia is killed instead, Swagger is shot twice, escapes and becomes a cross of Jason Bourne and Dr. Richard Kimble. His only allies include Sarah Fenn, who is the widow of Swagger’s partner and agrees to help, and Nick Memphis (Michael Pena), an FBI agent who quickly sees a conspiracy after running into Swagger and seeing that there is more to this than once thought.

I guess you’re not supposed to ask how Swagger comes back from two bullet wounds so easily. Being trained in special ops means you will survive faster, I suppose, and I recall Jason Bourne getting shot in “The Bourne Supremacy”, pouring vodka on his wound and then going on an insane car chase at the end of that film. So I guess I have to go with it. Fuqua’s direction is so fast-paced anyway that it seems silly to linger on these questions.

It also helps how easily Mark Wahlberg gets into the role. He’s had such amazing work in films like “Boogie Nights”, “I Heart Huckabee’s” and the recent “The Departed” and this originally seemed like a paycheque role to me. But he plays the part for real, adapts and figures out problems realistically, and even has time to rub shoulders with the ridiculously cute Kate Mara (who plays a wife that was going to become a nurse but finds herself weak at the sight of blood, but has no problem shooting the heck out of the bad guys and wearing revealing clothing while doing it). So it’s a good performance, you see.

As the bad guys, both Danny Glover and Elias Koteas are very effective. I can see Koteas in this part, but I was surprised to see Glover, who has played super-nice roles in “Grand Canyon” and nice cop Murtaugh and, even at 60 years old, makes for one tough baddie. I was also impressed by Ned Beatty, who comes later into the film as a senator (you know this because he’s always throwing his job title at someone else) who also has some ties to the conspiracy.

Throughout all of the film, there is a level of violence that is, oddly, a relief from all of the watered down PG-13 violence that we have seen in film in the past few years. “Shooter” contains a copious amount of head shots, blood spraying and decapations that give the film a deliriously entertaining look and feel that surprised me in how much I was caught up in the proceedings. I won’t remember this film for long, but it’s a lot of fun while it lasts. Think of light beer. Comes on strong and then…it’s gone.

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originally posted: 04/02/07 03:39:29
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User Comments

3/10/14 Charles Tatum Violent but surprisingly compelling 4 stars
11/22/11 Vishwas Implausible, but well done. Enjoyable 4 stars
1/24/11 Jeff Wilder One of the better recent action films. Has more intelligence than stuff like GI Joe. 4 stars
9/22/10 bored mom Just like its name: generic-ass crap, and not worth remembering. 2 stars
11/22/09 R.W. Welch Not a bad conspiracy/action pic but with excessive mumbling. C+ 3 stars
3/23/09 KingNeutron Some parts were a little too convenient, but overall pretty well done. 4 stars
8/04/08 mr.mike Fair , with unspectacular action and some unconvincing detours. 3 stars
7/04/08 mike quite surprised by how good this was. wish I had watched it earlier 5 stars
3/14/08 Wes Fun review for a great movie! 5 stars
2/11/08 debdahlin better than I expected 3 stars
2/03/08 cody a soild action movie with cool story and great actor of course mark wahlberg. 3 stars
12/10/07 Jamie L. The most implausible piece of crap that I suffered through this year. 1 stars
11/14/07 Matt Standard conspiracy theory stuff but well made and highly watchable 3 stars
8/29/07 Renee Really enjoyed. I loved Mark Wahlberg's Bobby Lee. 5 stars
7/31/07 Monday Morning Much better than expected - not much downtime as far as excitement. 4 stars
7/17/07 ES It was good enough 4 stars
7/07/07 Tracey Chambers great action. oh, and marky mark. what more could you ask for. 5 stars
7/04/07 Trust A solid film with valid warnings, nice action 4 stars
7/03/07 William Goss About as decent as it is derivative. 3 stars
5/17/07 Yamis Great! 5 stars
5/13/07 jim rambo 10 1 stars
4/11/07 funky chick this movie is so fuckin awaesome 5 stars
4/07/07 AJ Muller Awesome. Loads of bloody, asskicking action and Wahlberg is superb. Loved it. 5 stars
3/28/07 Sara A total insult to it's audience! 1 stars
3/28/07 Rob Implausible. Cheesy. 2 stars
3/27/07 Ole Man Bourbon Yay, the government finally killed Danny Glover 4 stars
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  23-Mar-2007 (R)
  DVD: 26-Jun-2007

  13-Apr-2007 (15)
  DVD: 13-Aug-2007

  19-Apr-2007 (MA)

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