Straight `Shooter'

Mark Wahlberg is the thinking man's action figure in a film that's mostly on target

Review B-

March 23, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

Mark Wahlberg proved himself a dynamo as a motormouth in The Departed, so it's disappointing to see him play the strong silent type in Shooter. Who ever thought that type was so American, anyway? From Davy Crockett to Crockett and Tubbs it's been hard to get American heroes to shut up. What was funny and charming about Gary Cooper in his early Western roles was that you could see his mind searching for more words than he knew how to pronounce and more thoughts than he could articulate. But Bob Lee Swagger is a man of no adjectives and few verbs or nouns. A former ace Marine scout-sniper turned mountain man, he gets about four decent laugh-lines. Happily, Wahlberg detonates each one. Otherwise, as they say in journalism and sports as well as politics these days, he does a good job of "holding the position."

Made the fall guy for what appears to be an assassination attempt on the president and the accidental killing of an Ethiopian archbishop, Swagger doesn't have time to crack wise anyway. He's too busy treating himself for two bullet wounds and outrunning a multi-force dragnet and enlisting the aid of his spotter's widow, Sarah Fenn (Kate Mara), and an FBI man, Nick Memphis (Michael Pena), who's figured out that Swagger couldn't haven been the culprit.

Shooter (Paramount) Starring Mark Wahlberg, Danny Glover, Michael Pena, Ned Beatty. Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Rated R. Time 124 minutes.

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