Shooter Antoine Fuqua

Shooter Antoine Fuqua
If all action films were made to the standards of Shooter, the genre wouldn’t feel like quite as guilty a pleasure. Mark Wahlberg continues his string of impressive performances as the ridiculously named Bob Lee Swagger, an ace Marine scout sniper who retreats to the wilderness after his spotter/best friend is killed and they’re both abandoned by the government during a mission gone bad. Swagger is coaxed out of hillbilly hermit-hood by Colonel Isaac Johnson (an almost laughably sinister Danny Glover) to figure out how a suspected sniper would make an assassination attempt on the president. Predictably apprehensive about working for the government again but unable to stay out of the action, Swagger accepts the mission, only to be framed for the shooting by the Colonel’s section of a business-backed shadow government and thanked for his troubles with a couple of bullet holes and an uncluttered, yet exhilarating, car chase. Swagger’s ensuing pursuit for justice takes familiar action film devices and injects them with greater realism, at the director’s insistence, largely thanks to the counsel of real life Marine scout sniper Patrick Garrity and the thorough research of screenwriter Jonathan Lemkin. Certain scenes that might stretch believability to the uninformed are clarified as practiced military techniques in the educational "making of” and the sole commentary track. Fuqua loves his cast, gushing at length about the acting talents of the ensemble, particularly the dedication and focus of Wahlberg and all the specific sniper training he endured to nail Swagger’s character. Climaxing early after a gorgeous glacier shootout and Ned Beatty’s rant about how he and the other shadow government fat cats are going to keep making the rest of the world squeal like little pigs, there are some admitted problems with Shooter’s ending. Fuqua explains that he’s never been fully satisfied with the conclusion, re-shooting after test audiences, especially female viewers, demanded more vengeance. As well, a special feature on Independence Hall in Philadelphia seems to have been included as part of a deal with the City Parks Commission for allowing the production to shoot heavy action scenes, post-9/11, in the downtown core, right across from FBI headquarters. (Paramount)