By Samantha Ofole-Prince
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, one of the most underrated directors of the 21st Century and based on the brilliant book "Point of Impact" by Stephen Hunter, "Shooter" centers on Bob Lee Swagger (Wahlberg), a brilliant marksman who is framed as a presidential assassin.
It’s "The Fugitive" meets "Tears of the Sun" in this edgy thriller about a former Marine scout sniper and disgruntled American hero who sought seclusion after a devastating betrayal. Coaxed out of isolation by retired Colonel Isaac Johnson (Glover) who needs his help in preventing a plot to kill the president, Swagger’s specific job is simply to predict which site on the day of the president’s speaking tour that a professional sniper would choose for an assassination attempt. Once Swagger identifies a site, he is shot and framed in the presidential assassination by Johnson’s corrupt officials and becomes the target of a nationwide manhunt. Injured and on the run, Swagger’s only ally is a discredited FBI agent and the girlfriend of his former slain partner as he uses his lethal skills to track down the culprits who set him up and expose a dangerous government conspiracy.
Fuqua, who created one of the most arresting police dramas of its time with "Training Day," manages to deliver a tense, taut and expert thriller with a political statement once more touching on the subject of African genocide with political ties. With enthralling chases hugely dependent on special effects, "Shooter" is an engrossing project. Viewers will be mesmerized as the dogged, but determined Swagger races to discover the conspiracy and prove his innocence finding his way through an impossible situation to some kind of justice and it becomes all about the conflict between a trained professional and his feelings. There are elaborate scenes utilizing helicopters and numerous gun-toting mercenaries. Particularly memorable is the climatic scene atop a frozen glacier where Swagger finally confronts the men who set him up to take the fall. Typecast as the good guy, it’s refreshing to see actor Glover as the evil Colonel, Swagger’s chief nemesis – a role which he plays remarkably well by convincing Swagger out of isolation only to later betray him. Michael Pena ("Babel") plays the rookie FBI agent who runs into Swagger during his escape from the assassination scene and ends up becoming his ally aiding him to track down the men responsible.
The biggest flaw is the credibility of the fugitive being able to track down the real culprit whilst being pursued by several law enforcement agencies, but it’s Hollywood after all and there’s enough excitement, action, suspense, car chases, foot chases and shoot-outs to keep one fully engrossed. It’s a full throttle action packed flick.