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Genre: Action/Thriller
Rated: R
Directed by:
Antoine Fuqua
Mark Wahlberg, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Rade Serbedzija
Released by: Paramount Pictures

In Short: A terrific lead character, compelling story, and gripping action sequences make for a perfect beginning to what looks to be a new Hollywood film franchise.

Blazing His Way to Glory
“Shooter” Is Sure to Start a New Hollywood Franchise
by Jenny Peters

Ever heard the name Bob Lee Swagger? If you’ve been reading Pulitzer Prize-winning movie-critic-turned-author Stephen Hunter’s fine novels about the ex-Marine sharpshooter written over the past ten years, you’re already familiar with this great character. If not, the film “Shooter” is sure to make you a fan.

Based on Hunter’s 1993 novel “Point of Impact,” the movie is a heady mix of character study, intriguing thriller, and flat out action flick, with recent Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg in the title role. He’s as perfectly cast in this as he was in “The Departed,” bringing the slightly jaded yet still patriotic Swagger to vivid life.

Danny Glover in Shooter

Pulled out of a secluded retirement to protect the president from a supposed assassination plot by a smooth-talking colonel (played very effectively by Danny Glover) as the film begins, Swagger finds himself in the midst of a frame-up, accused of being the assassin himself – and is almost murdered in the process.

Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger
Kate Mara as Sarah Fenn

It is a really, really bad idea to piss off Bob Lee Swagger, as the assorted bad guys quickly learn, for he is the best of the best, a highly trained fighting machine who doesn’t flinch at doing what he has to do. And once he pairs up with a green FBI agent (Michael Peña, in a likable and believable turn) who is also quite a marksman, the duo wreak havoc on the bad guys.

Add in gorgeous Kate Mara as Sarah Fenn, the feisty widow of Swagger’s Marine buddy, and veteran actor Ned Beatty as a corrupt United States Senator, and the pitch-perfect tone and mix of character and action that director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) deftly creates, and “Shooter” unspools as a completely satisfying film.

And clearly it is the beginning of a classic Hollywood franchise, as Hunter has written three other Bob Lee Swagger novels, as well as three more about his father, Earl (who is also an ultra-deadly marksman). We know we’re ready for the next one already!


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