Colonel Sebastian Moran once said, “If I am in the hands of the law, let things be done in a legal way.” As with so many men who choose to act outside the law, Moran was swift to invoke it when it served his purposes. That theme remains as topical now as it was in Moran’s day, and so we find it coming up again in the new Mark Wahlberg film “The Shooter.”
Wahlberg stars as an ex-military sniper in “The Shooter,” a hunter who would seem to have something in common with Moran, but there all similarity ends. Wahlberg is the patriot who holds on to some American morality despite his government failing him time after time. Moran was an opportunist who would have definitely sided with the villains in this film, and those malefactors are definitely of a sort familiar to any student of cinema detection: the men of power to whom profit is the overriding law of the universe.
There is much here that might seem familiar: The framed ex-military man on the run who must revenge/clear himself. The attractive young lady with whom he finds shelter for a time. The slightly reticent sidekick who is drawn in, though thankfully is not comic relief. In fact there is little comic relief in this somewhat pessimistic film. A John Wayne-esque line about Wahlberg’s character revenging his murdered dog, and a brilliant quip about the Kennedy assassination are all that stand out.
If you enjoy a bit of light ballistics talk and vigilante war games being played on American soil, this may be the movie for you. If the residents of the theater on the night that I observed it are any indication, you will probably also be the sort of quiet, lone male that the neighbors always have nice things to say about in news stories. Unless you tend to like this sort of film going in, I doubt it will hold much for you.
What Great-grandfather Sherlock would say: