By Helen Cuthbertson, Blockbuster.co.uk
There are enough plot twists and turns in this adaptation of Stephen Hunter’s novel Point of Impact to keep the viewer hooked, with tension and sniper action aplenty.
The central character, Bobby Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg
, The Departed
), knows a thing or two about kinetics and is an incredible shot when the wind is on his side. In addition to this, he can even prepare and insert his own IV after being shot twice, clean out his wounds, get out of a submerged car and snipe a few bad guys before tea time. Oh, and he’s not too bad on the eye either – Jack Bauer might just have met his match.
The main story begins three years after the death of his best-friend and Spotter (the guy who tells the marksman where to shoot) following a botched operation and their abandonment by the military organisation they work for. The reclusive Swagger is recruited by Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover
, Lethal Weapon
series) to plan, but not carry out, the assassination of the President of the United States in order to help stop an actual impending attempt on his life. This ultimately paves the way for a ready supply of deceptions, betrayals and revelations.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
), the film is similar in many ways to The Bourne Identity
– Bob Lee Swagger could be Jason Bourne’s long-lost twin. My only criticism is that towards the end I felt I was expected to suspend my disbelief a bit too far. Some of the shots Swagger makes verge on the ridiculous and the physics they use to back up these shots is questionable. However, it’s not as though you’d choose to watch a film like this for its realistic perspective. Of course it leans towards being a typical “guy” film, with a conspicuous lack of female characters besides the beautiful and inevitably threatened red-head, Sarah Fenn (Kate Mara
, Brokeback Mountain
). They don’t waste any time with a soppy love story; there is heat between Swagger and Fenn, but that’s as far as it goes. Quite frankly, this is a relief and it certainly doesn’t render the movie inaccessible to women.
The villains are typical black-and-white baddies – all they need are moustaches to twizzle in accompaniment to the slightly hackneyed, heartless dialogue and arrogant strutting. Still, this is not as much of a criticism as it might sound, since it is enjoyable to watch Glover and Beatty savor their moments on-screen, as well as offering relief from the intensity of the action sequences. Wahlberg’s portrayal of the ‘wronged man out for justice’ role is dynamic and tense, while Michael Peña (World Trade Center
), also gives a good performance as his inadvertent side-kick, Nick Memphis.
Shooter is an intelligent action film, featuring a great cast, an engrossing plot and some impressive locations, including the penultimate confrontation on a snowy mountain. Undoubtedly one of the best films released this week.