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  Publicity Stills of "Shooter"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Action/Thriller
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Danny Glover, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Rade Sherbedgia, Ned Beatty
RunTime: -
Released By: UIP
Rating: TBA
Official Website: shootermovie.com

Opening Day: 5 April 2007

Synopsis :

An ace marksman--living in self-exile in the Arkansas wilderness after causing the death of an innocent person--is convinced by his former associates that they need his help to prevent an assassination. But he is double-crossed and framed for the presidential assassination he was trying to prevent. He is forced to go on the run while trying to track down the real killer and discover the truth of who betrayed him.

Movie Review:

Antonio Fuqua’s Shooter comes at you hard and fast: an action thriller that tackles the familiar anti-government conspiracy climates with a one man wrecking crew that blows the baddies into oblivion. That one man wrecking crew is a reasonably credible Mark Wahlberg, all suitably buffed up for the lead role of retired US Marine Sniper Bob Lee Swagger, as he delivers a film that’s wham bam full of action.

Shooter satisfies like a Panadol on a sweltering, bad-headache evening: it does the job the way you expect it to; in this case to serve up a bang for buck action thriller. Fuqua’s offering is as standard issue as they come: an off-the-shelf thriller that serves up giant fireballs, fiery plunging helicopters amidst bullet storms. Albeit a rather far-fetched plot that drives the film, one is able to enjoy it as a lightened version of government conspiracy thrillers. You get a few scenes of military and government mumbo jumbo but just enough to give us reason to close an eye and buy the storyline and enjoy the film for all it’s worth. In-depth character development and build-up is expectedly low in this film, although Swagger undergoes somewhat of an existentialist struggle as the film goes on.

Based on writer Stephen Hunt’s novel Point of Impact, Bob Lee Swagger is a marine sniper who loses his mission buddy in an operation gone wrong. Retiring and retreating to the mountains, Swagger returns on request of corrupt Colonel (featuring an excellent Danny Glover) to foil an assassination plot, only to discover a deeper and sinister conspiracy and being framed in the process.

So what happens next? Swagger gets chased all over the land by corrupt government agents who were supposed to ensure he does not leak out the truth behind the assassination ploy and the greater secrets it reveals about the Colonel and a Senator’s heinous deeds in Africa. It clearly helped that Shooter was based on a compactly and well-written novel; as a result the story, however far-fetched, remained gripping, well-paced and, most important, well-tied up with little jarring loose ends.

One thing to expect from this film is Swagger’s jaw-dropping shooting. This guy never misses and however crazy it might sound, it feels good to root for a crack, dead-shot protagonist. He oozes arrogance and disdain that smacks the no-good government officials in the face and never falls into an over-cocky, arrogant mould; neither does he get trapped in a emotional poseur persona.

The only things that ruin the Rambo-esque experience is Wahlberg’s inscrutable, largely expressionless face (he wears a consistent frown throughout) and his almost incomprehensible Southern accent mumble that took me more than a few minutes to get used to. One thing though, it makes big action scenes an even bigger joy to look forward to because he’d have to shout to make himself audible!

Thing Rambo without the cheesiness, more real-world grit and an enjoyable, well-paced thriller that feels like a good, solid journey that starts and ends at a good pace and time. He’d make you wish there were more of such alpha-marines to protect the world and fight wars for us. This action-figure hero comes equipped with a bumbling cross-over FBI agent sidekick(Michael Pena provides some great laughs), attractive love interest (Kate Mara) included!

Movie Rating:

(Get me a carbine and we’ll take those baddies out! )

Review by Daniel Lim

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