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Mark Wahlberg’s Shooter is the best action movie you’ve never seen

In 2007, director Antoine Fuqua adapted Stephen Hunter’s novel Point of Impac, as Shooter, an action thriller starring Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger. After his successful career as a Marine sniper comes to an abrupt and tragic end, Swagger is burned out and living the quiet life when he is convinced to come out of retirement to protect the president from an assassination attempt. However, this turns out to be an elaborate trap to frame Swagger for a very real assassination.

While Swagger is outmaneuvered, he’s rarely outgunned. But even Swagger needs help to dig himself out of this hole, which is why he turns to FBI agent Nick Memphis (Michael Peña) to help clear his name. Swagger is also forced to seek out Sarah Fenn (Kate Mara), the widow of his former partner in the Marines. Unfortunately, once Sarah becomes involved, her life is endangered as well.

Although the film is 16 years old, Shooter has held up remarkably well for its age. Here, we share three reasons why you should watch Shooter.

Mark Wahlberg makes a great action hero

Mark Wahlberg in Shooter.
Paramount Pictures

Shooter wasn’t Wahlberg’s first action movie, nor even his first movie in the lead role. But this is the first time that he truly became an action hero on-screen. Wahlberg’s Swagger is a supremely capable Marine sniper, but he isn’t Superman; instead, he’s fallible and human. Early in the film, Swagger lets himself get blinded by patriotism before ultimately being framed for an assassination. Over the course of the story, Swagger’s injuries also visibly slow him down. That goes a long way toward making him sympathetic and relatable.

Of course, Swagger is also a great warrior despite the odds against him or the injuries that he suffers along the way. Almost anyone else would crumble under the magnitude of the forces against him. But not Swagger. He’ll fight fire with fire.

Licensed to thrill

Michael Pena and Mark Wahlberg in Shooter.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Shooter is a post-Bourne and post-Bond action thriller. And while it never reaches the heights of those films, it has some absolutely stunning action sequences. The opening of the movie is particularly impressive, as Swagger and his spotter, Corporal Donnie Fenn (Lane Garrison), find themselves left alone in the midst of a deadly firefight. It’s an intense scene that establishes Swagger’s unique skill set, while also raising the stakes when he is ultimately the only one who gets to go home.

Fuqua keeps piling things on for Swagger once he’s been framed, and the story has a lot of truly exciting action. It’s not always the best-written movie, but it is very entertaining.

Danny Glover is a badass in it

Danny Glover in Shooter.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This may be Wahlberg’s movie, but Shooter‘s best performance belongs to Danny Glover for his turn as Col. Isaac Johnson. He’s the guy who convinces Swagger to come out of seclusion to ostensibly protect the president from an assassination attempt. Of course, this is simply a prelude to framing Swagger for an actual assassination. Because Glover was such a beloved action hero in his own right in the Lethal Weapon films and Predator 2, it’s actually surprising to see him fully embrace a villainous character. And he does it with aplomb.

Johnson is the kind of bad guy that you just love to see because you know that he’s going to pay the price for it eventually. Spoiler alert: The movie will not let you down in that regard.

Shooter is now streaming on Showtime.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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