Movie Review: Shooter Is Harmless Fun

Based on Stephen Hunter's novel "Point of Impact," Shooter follows an ace marksman, formerly of the CIA, who has become a mountain recluse after the loss of his partner on a peace-keeping mission. Bob Lee Swagger is approached by government officials to help prevent the assassination of the current United States President. They've intercepted a report that someone was going attempt to kill the President with a sniper gun from a mile away.

It's actually a very interesting thought. I'm wondering in reality if that would be possible. Does the secret service stake out locations as far as a mile away? If not, may-be they should. And you would have to think that with the advancement of technology, it's only going to become easier and more accurate.

I hate to reveal any more of the plot, but unfortunately the next plot point is revealed in almost all the trailers and television advertisements. The whole thing turns out to be an elaborate set-up to frame Swagger, who escapes law forces on the land, air and water.

Swagger is a your atypical revenge hero, always three steps ahead of everyone else. A combination of Jason Bourne, MacGyver and Jack Bauer (24), Swagger is a smart mouthed government trained assassin who is able to spout off cool sounding tech lingo while making a hospital grade pain reliever out of common grocery store items.

I'm not quite sure Mark Wahlberg is ready to carry an action film on his back alone, and at times it shows. For instance, one slow motion shot of Walhberg walking away with an American flag in the background had people laughing out loud. And I'm sure that's not what the filmmakers intended. Michael Pena is incredibly adept at playing the sympathetic inexperienced sidekick character.

Antoine Fuqua received huge acclaim for Training Day, which was released shortly after 9/11. He's unfortunately been unable to capture the same lightning in a bottle with his last few films. And while Shooter is fun, it's nowhere near the level of his 2001 crime drama.

The story, which is held together with duct tape, seems to be almost directly stolen from last season's 24 (or the first season, since the show seems to repeat many of the same situations). You even get the obligatory torture scene. The whole scenario is so over-the-top ridiculous, but somehow manages to be mildly entertaining.

I was rather surprised to see that filmmakers kept an Anna Nicole Smith joke in the film, as her body is still warm. But it was obviously constructed before her death, and was not at all tasteless.

Shooter is a Jason Bourne movie for people that don't want to think. It's harmless fun, and not much else. Sit back, enjoy, and watch the explosions.

/Film Rating: 6.0 out of 10