Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Michael Peña, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Rade Serbedzija, Ned Beatty. (2007, R, 124 min.)

REVIEWED By Marrit Ingman, Fri., March 23, 2007

To an extent I’m willing to indulge a dunderheaded commando actioner such as Shooter if one of its villains is an omnipotent Cheney-esque senator; in these times we all need catharsis. Less subversive and infinitely less intelligent than 1999’s Wahlberg-starrer Three Kings, this movie does blow lots of shit up real good and punishes contemptible public figures otherwise left unaccountable for massacring African villagers. And would you believe they’re in it … for the oil? So the movie has that going for it. Otherwise? Retired and improbably named ex-Marine Corps sniper Bob Lee Swagger (Wahlberg) falls for the oldest trick in the book – the book being Stephen Hunter’s Point of Impact, here adapted leadenly to the screen by Red Planet’s Jonathan Lemkin – and helps a shady G-man (Glover, who’s been instructed to speak as if he’s got strep) “prevent” the assassination of the president. But before you can say “fall guy,” Swagger is wanted for murder and on the run, and though they may have trained him to kill, they want him dead, and all that. There’s a junior agent (Peña) who believes Swagger has been framed and Barbie-doll co-stars (Mara and Mitra) who change clothes often and discharge weapons while wearing lots of eyeliner. It’s nice to see Serbedzija rolling around in a Strangelove wheelchair, snarling, “Nothing, no matter how horrible, happens without the permission of the government.” But if that’s true, Shooter is one more reason to impeach.

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