I really, really likea good action movie. No, wait! Scratch that! I friggin’ love a good action movie. They’re fun, usually silly, great action sequences and stunts, all of it. They’re fun. Now, they can be packed with more meaning and intent behind them, but place almost any action movie in front of me and I’ll bite. That’s namely why I jumped at the chance to review Shooter. It look like it’d be a tight, fun movie that’s worthy of a Saturday night. But does Shooter really hit the mark?
Shooter is an action-packed thriller starring Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger, a former Army sniper who leaves the military after a mission goes bad. After he is reluctantly pressed back into service, Swagger is double-crossed again. With two bullets in him and the subject of a nationwide manhunt, Swagger begins his revenge, which will take down the most powerful people in the country. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directs.
The above synopsis is pretty correct. It is full of action. However, the main problem I found was that the movie moved too slowly. After a very, very long opening sequence to establish the background of Swagger, the movie takes even longer to get the inevitable double-cross that we know is coming down the pipeline. However, once it does hit the double-cross and the chase is on, the movie becomes pretty effective in what it sets out to do. Namely, show Mark Wahlberg blowing up stuff and killing people. And you know what, it’s pretty cool. The problem is that it takes nearly half of the movie to get to that point. Granted, he kills people in the long, and somewhat boring, opening sequence, but the real story kicks in about halfway into the movie.
I need to just point out something quickly, however. What kind of name is Bob Lee Swagger? Seriously? I can usually zone out these type of “Joe Everyman” names that action movie stars tend to have, but this is just . . . a bit too much to swallow. Now, it didn’t pull me out of the movie, by any means. I just couldn’t help but laugh whenever somebody said his full name.
Anyways, the movie is pretty standard in it’s’ execution. It sets him up, knocks him down, knocks him down again, then he proceeds to spend the remainder of the movie killing people to did him wrong. It’s a pretty standard movie, very 1980’s-style, and, for that, it’s somewhat enjoyable. But, like I mentioned earlier, the movie has some serious pacing problems. It takes too long to get to that point. I have no problems with trying to build character and depth in these types of movie, but it does not prove to be effective here. It needs to be effective and worthwhile to the plot to be worth waiting nearly half the movie for the double cross to being.
But how’s the DVD? It’s a standard release with a great transfer, audio, and an adequate heaping of extras. The extras include a commentary, a production feature, a look at the “Independence Hall,” and deleted scenes. And the extras are pretty basic, with all the cast and crew applauding themselves and accomplishing exactly what they set out to do with this movie. The deleted scenes are best left where they are, as they add nothing to the final product.
It’s a good DVD, falling into the pattern of recent one-disc releases by Paramount. There’s a little bit of everything here, all touching upon the usual extras we have come to expect. Of course, we’re short the movie’s theatrical trailer, but that’s beside the point. It’s a fine release.
Overall, I’d have to say Rent It. The action scenes sound simply fantastic on this movie. They’ll no doubt rattle your speaker system if you have it turned all the way up. The extras serve as really an afterthought, but will be entertaining if you’re a huge fan of the movie. While the movie does have some pacing issues, Shooter does serve as a suitable action film and throwback to 1980s action movies. The movie does deliver on all its promises, but I was hoping for a bit more than average execution.
Shooter is now available on DVD.