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Review byMatthew Turner11/04/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 120 mins

Cheesy, overblown and badly written thriller that tries to compensate for its plot-related shortcomings with lots of pretty explosions.

What's it all about?
Mark Wahlberg plays reclusive ex-Marine sharpshooter Bob Lee Swagger, who reluctantly comes out of his self-imposed retirement when Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover) persuades him that his country needs him to help foil a Presidential assassination attempt. Naturally, before you can say Lee Harvey Oswald, Swagger finds himself on the run and framed for both a murder and an attack on the President.

However, Swagger finds an unlikely ally in rookie FBI agent Nick Memphis (Michael Pena), who has reason to suspect that the official story may not be the truth. Meanwhile, Swagger holes up with his ex-partner's gorgeous widow (Kate Mara) and comes up with a revenge plan that requires guns. Lots of guns. And things that go boom.

The Good
There are plenty of things wrong with Shooter but the quantity and indeed the quality of the explosions isn't one of them. For example, there's a particular napalm-based explosion sequence that may be one of the most beautiful things you'll see on screen all year.

Wahlberg is fine although he mumbles a lot in the early scenes, to the point where you want to shout at him to speak up. Kate Mara and Rhona Mitra (as Memphis' colleagues) do little more than provide eye candy but there's good work from Michael Pena, as well as some amusingly unhinged support from Elias Koteas as Glover's chief henchman.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is the laughably awful dialogue and a badly plotted script that rivals even 24 for sheer implausibility. It also tacks on a supposedly crowd-pleasing ending that is actually rather disturbing in its fascist implications.

Worth seeing?
Shooter is enjoyable enough if all you want from a thriller is running, shooting and things going boom but it could have been a lot better with a decent script.

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Content updated: 22/08/2019 23:37

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