The reviews for “There Will Be Blood” and “No Country for Old Men” are incoming, but I just had to share my thoughts on “Shooter” starring Marky Mark, but no Funky Bunch.

Shooter (2007)

I wanted to be surprised by “Shooter”, I really did. I was aware of the mixed reviews it recieved, but decided to check it out for myself. So armed with as many weapon-related puns as I could think of, I sat down and scoped it. Was I gunner like it, or was it going to be the butt of my jokes? Well, I suppose that depends on the calibre of it…OK, OK… I’ll stop now.

“I’m just a peckerwood who lives in the hills with too many guns”

The story follows the stupidly named Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg), a skilled Marine Scout Sniper. After a mission of his is disavowed, Swagger goes into exile, retiring from the sharpshooting business. Three years later, Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover) comes looking for him to try and stop an assassination attempt on the President. Blah, blah, blah…double cross…blah, blah, blah. The story’s as retarded as it sounds. Even though the story does go deeper than that, it doesn’t go far enough for my liking. The acting in general is O.K. with Marky Mark sleepwalking his way through most of the proceedings. Right, first problem I have with “Shooter” are the character names. Naming a character “Swagger” is one of the stupidest things you can do if you want people to take your film seriously- I’ll come back to that in a minute. The sidekick F.B.I. agent is called Nick Memphis (Michael Peña). Was Danny Miami taken? Michael Wyoming? Sammy San Francisco? It’s so, so dumb. Maybe it’s because I’m not American, but I find the naming of characters after U.S. places an incredibly lazy way to try and convey the “everyman” quality of a character. If I made a film, I would not call a character Dave Bristol or Chris Liverpool. Christ, it’s like a “Point Break”/Johnny Utah thing all over again.

The beginning of “Shooter” is promising. I liked the whole sniping thing and I bought the notion that Marky Mark was a Marky Marksman. However, the film seemed to decide that there was too much talking and the shit hit the fan when Swagger took down a helicopter by shooting the blades out. From that point on, “Shooter” can’t decide what it wants to rip-off first. We get elements of the “Bourne” trilogy here (the healing whilst on the move, the conspiracy angle) and elements from “First Blood” there (the beginning of the ranch scene is almost a shot-for-shot copy of the forest scene). There is even a little moment ripped from “Saving Private Ryan” (the memorable shot through the scope and into the sniper’s eye bit is present here). Overall, if I was Matt Damon, I’d be pissed at “Shooter”.

The action sequences are pretty good, but I got the feeling that if this film took itself less seriously (told you I’d come back to that) it’d be a hell of a lot more fun. The film seems to be preoccupied in trying to make a serious point. For example, when Col. Johnson first approaches Swagger, we see that Swagger has a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report on his desk. Swagger initially mistrusts Johnson but is won over due to his overwhelming sense of patriotism (yes, that old chestnut). Also the villain is a U.S. Senator. Subtle. In general terms, “Shooter” is fucking infuriating because it thinks it’s clever, when really it is showing how immature it is.

“I don’t think you understand – these people killed my dog.”

When it all comes down to it, “Shooter” is pretty bad. There are some truly awful lines of dialogue including this woeful exchange:

What are you going to do?”
“Exercise my right to bear arms.”

But the main problem I have with it is that it tries to be a kick-ass action film and make a serious point at the same time and ends up failing to do both. Sorry “Shooter”, but you weren’t for me- mainly because I’m not some stupid American yahoo.

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