Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Right to bare arms

Last week I saw a sneak preview of Shooter, Mark Wahlberg's first movie release since his Oscar nomination. I'm glad to see the former Funky Bunch leader get his own star vehicle; I only wish said vehicle had been assembled better.

In the best case scenario -- though a longshot -- this could be Hitchcock meets The Fugitive. This was not that scenario. Former soldier Bob Lee Swagger (Wahlberg) is the ultimate longshot, a sniper with an uncanny skill to anticipate various environmental factors as the bullet travels to its target. Left for dead after an African mission went bad, he's now a civilian and a bit of a mountain man. When a former military hero (Danny Glover) asks for his help in preventing an assassination, he accepts.

As the film's trailer reveals, Swagger is framed for the eventual act, and he has to clear his name while all of law enforcement (save one FBI agent, played by Michael Peña) is against him. That setup is fine, especially the tantalizing but unexplored idea that Swagger's expertise may have provided real-time help to the assassins. But the follow through is all wrong. What starts as a thriller becomes a standard shoot-em-up with some plot choices that show: the heroes are really, really honorable; the heroine is really, really nubile; and the villains are really, really bad.


Brando said...

That's too bad. I hoped it had the chance to be an intelligent action-thriller along the lines of Ronin.

Neel Mehta said...

You know, it's only vaguely about the chase here. Mark Mancina does the musical score, and his distinctive style sort of prepares you for a Bruckheimer/Bay level of mindless action.

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