#138 Shooter

Shooter (2007)

Dir: Antoine Fuqua

The director seems to like making action films with a military theme, and featuring tough guys.

Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) was a U.S. Marine sniper, one of the very best in the world, but after being abandoned in the field, he turned his back on the military and cut himself off, choosing to live isolated in the mountains, and spending much of his time giving credence to conspiracy theories. When a Colonel (Danny Glover) turns up at his home and asks him to help foil an assassination attempt on the President, Swagger reluctantly agrees out of patriotism. However, the assassination has been staged to frame him, and his employers turn on him, immediately sending Swagger on the run, where he looks for help from his Marine buddy’s widow (Kate Mara) and an FBI agent (Michael Peña) who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Director Antoine Fuqua’s latest is ‘Olympus has Fallen’, about a North Korean assault on the White House, and how a lone Secret Service agent (Gerard Butler) single-handedly stops them from getting the President. Fuqua has previously made films such as ‘King Arthur’ and ‘Training Day’, all these are of a certain ilk, and clearly within his preferred genre. He is a fitting collaborator for the producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who is the same producer as ‘Man on A Ledge’. Looking at his filmography shows that he mainly produces action films with often large financial returns but low critical praise. Good examples would be both the ‘G.I. Joe’ and ‘Transformers’ franchises, packed with action, turning huge profits, but have little more to them than a lot of spectacle.

This film thankfully does have a little more, I would attribute much of that to the fact it was adapted from a 1993 novel by Stephen Hunter, which means that there is a decent story behind it. The casting of Wahlberg is also key to how this works, as he looks physically suited for the role, pretty believable as a military man.

Beyond that it’s nothing that hasn’t been seen before. The action is fine, the story works well enough, and the actors are all perfectly good. However this kind of film has to compete against the likes of the ‘Bourne’ series which it has a number of similarities to, but that’s a tall order, and with a producer who doesn’t really aspire to much more than explosions and profits, it comes nowhere near that level.



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