A former military sniper is recruited to stop an assassination, but is then framed for it and forced to go on the run while he uncovers a conspiracy.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Written by Jonathan Lemkin
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Michael Peña, Danny Glover,
Kate Mara, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Ned Beatty
Based on the novel Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter
Curiosity always gets the better of me when it comes to Mark Wahlberg's action catalog. I don't think he's a great actor, but I often find myself watching his movies anyway. I definitely went into this one because it was directed by Antoine Fuqua, whose work I tend to enjoy. And while Shooter starts out fine, it devolves about halfway through into an unnecessarily complicated espionage thriller, which I can't stand. It's a shame because the sniper scenes are very cool and most of the cast does a decent job. There's just not enough story here to justify two hours.
Wahlberg plays one of the most ridiculously-named characters in action movie history, former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger. Yes, that's intended to be taken seriously. After getting left behind by his command in enemy territory but surviving, Swagger retired to live off the land and be a conspiracy nut. But he's brought back into action by Col. Johnson (Glover), who needs his help preparing a scenario for a presidential assassination. They believe the president will be killed, and they need a marksman to design a likely scenario so they can stop it. The set-up is full of red flags and reeks of a double cross, but Swagger accepts, and is of course the patsy for the real assassination. He then goes on the run to find out what really happened, which is where things go tits up for me. The espionage, deep state shit never clicks with me, and I lost almost all interest.
Shooter will surely work for some people, but I want less conspiracy theory rabbit hole stuff and more character and plot development. Wahlberg does his usual shtick, playing a guy from Boston who isn't supposed to really be from Boston. Ultimately, I think the second half could've been streamlined a bit, but overall, it's far from terrible.