Plot: Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) is a former Marine Corp sniper. He is convinced to go back into service and is double-crossed. Now, he’s on the run and has to prove his innocence. I think I just described 75 percent of action movies from the ’80s.
Who’s it for: It’s an action flick. Plain and simple.
Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger: Wahlberg’s body meets the requirements for “action hero,” but it is his voice that separates him. He can’t help being soft-spoken, even when he is yelling. It makes him seem like the good kid next door, except when he was dropping the F-bomb in “The Departed.” Wahlberg has enough toys to play with in “Shooter” and he is clearly the strength of the film. MacGyver wouldn’t be impressed by some of his tricks, but we should be.
Danny Glover as Colonel Issac Johnson: I can’t think of a good reason for a character to have a lisp. Glover didn’t have a lisp in any other movie. Why did Glover have a lisp?! Every time that man speaks, it’s obvious. It kills every line he attempts to deliver with any authenticity. Perhaps the character in the novel (yup, this is actually based on a novel) had a lisp and it was explained. Perhaps Glover just had some dental work. He becomes an accidental joke.
The other bad guys: Elias Koteas plays a bad guy, pseudo-rapist that is insanely slimy and Ned Beatty is a senator with the worst teeth by any fake politician ever. In fact, the villains are so flawed in this film it becomes humorous.
Overall: I am a sucker for mindless action. I saw “Cliffhanger” twice in the theater. And “Shooter” starts off with a lot of promise. It shows a sniper in action and even shows how someone would plan an assassination. But after that it’s downhill. “Shooter” is like “Commando” meets “Bourne Identity” in the worst way possible. It jumps from typical action one-liners to political discussions about Abu Ghraib. I mean, you can’t have a character named Swagger and expect me to take you seriously. Mark Wahlberg is an action star, and the story of a sniper is perfect material, but “Shooter” misses by thinking it can be more.
Overall Grade: 3