Shooter (2007 film)
Shooter is a 2007 American action thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua based on the 1993 novel Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. The film follows Force Recon veteran Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg), who is framed for murder by a rogue secret private military company unit. The film also stars Michael Peña, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, Levon Helm, and Ned Beatty and was released in the United States on March 23, 2007.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Antoine Fuqua|
|Produced by||Lorenzo di Bonaventura|
|Screenplay by||Jonathan Lemkin|
|Music by||Mark Mancina|
|Cinematography||Peter Menzies Jr.|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$95.7 million|
United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance Gunnery Sergeant sniper Bob Lee Swagger is on a mission in Eritrea with his spotter and friend Corporal Donnie Fenn. They help an allied convoy evade the enemy, but Donnie is subsequently killed in the firefight against the enemy militia forces. Some years later, Swagger, now a disillusioned civilian, is living in self-imposed exile at a secluded log cabin. At the office of a unnamed Private Military Company in Langley, Virginia, a retired US Army Colonel in the alias of Isaac Johnson and his associates and his employees review his combat operation report and his DD-214 and visit him and requests his expertise to prevent a pending assassination of the U.S. president. Johnson gives him a list of possible assassination sites, and Swagger concludes that Independence Hall in Philadelphia is most likely. As Swagger is working with Johnson's men to find the assassin, the Ethiopian archbishop is killed instead while standing next the President. Swagger is double-crossed when he himself is shot by a corrupt Philadelphia police officer, though he manages to escape. The conspirators frame Swagger as the assassin, and a manhunt ensues. Swagger subdues an inexperienced FBI agent, Nick Memphis, and steals his car, crashing it into the Delaware River. He then clings to the side of a boat to evade pursuing policemen.
After escaping, Swagger treats his injuries and takes refuge with Sarah, Donnie's widow. He later persuades her to help him contact Memphis with information about the conspiracy. Memphis is scapegoated for Swagger's escape and is awaiting punishment, but argues that given Swagger's training and expertise, it is suspicious that the president survived and the archbishop standing several feet away was killed. He suspects that Swagger may have been framed for the assassination and is further convinced when he learns that the policeman that shot Swagger was murdered shortly afterwards.
When the conspirators realize Memphis' suspicions, they kidnap him and attempt to stage his suicide. Swagger confronts them and kills the kidnappers. The two then collaborate by visiting a firearms expert who provides information on the FBI's ballistics report and a list of people capable of taking a shot akin to the assassination's. Learning this, they confront the actual assassin, who kills himself after revealing that the archbishop was the intended target and was murdered to prevent him from revealing their involvement in the massacre of an Eritrean village, which was carried out on the order of a consortium of corporate oil interests led by corrupt U.S. senator Charles Meachum. Swagger records the assassin's confession of his involvement in the massacre, but immediately after and with Memphis' assistance, escapes from and defeats an ambush by engaging and killing numerous mercenaries in the subsequent firefight, the same men whose retreat he had covered during the combat operation in Eritrea.
Meanwhile, other mercenaries have captured Sarah to lure Swagger out of hiding. Swagger and Memphis rescue Sarah when Johnson and Meachum arrange a meeting to release her in exchange for the evidence implicating them in the assassination. Meachum escapes and Swagger and Memphis surrender to the FBI.
Afterwards, Swagger is brought before the U.S. attorney general and the FBI director in a private meeting with Colonel Johnson, Memphis, and Sarah also present. Swagger quickly clears his name by aiming his loaded rifle (present as evidence as it was supposedly used in the assassination) at Johnson, and pulling the trigger—which fails to fire. Swagger explains that every time he leaves his house, he renders his firearms inoperable until he returns. Although Swagger is exonerated, Johnson cannot be prosecuted as Africa is outside U.S. jurisdiction. The attorney general tells Swagger that he must abide by the law and to refrain from vigilantism, "even though sometimes that's exactly what's needed." Swagger is released; the charges are dropped.
Afterwards, as Johnson and Meachum sit in a secluded cabin plotting their next move, Swagger breaks in and kills both men, before arranging for the house to blow up as if by accident. He then escapes with Sarah.
- Mark Wahlberg as Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger
- Michael Peña as Special Agent Nick Memphis
- Danny Glover as Colonel Isaac Johnson
- Kate Mara as Sarah Fenn
- Ned Beatty as Senator Charles F. Meachum
- Elias Koteas as Jack Payne
- Rhona Mitra as Special Agent Alourdes Galindo
- Jonathan Walker as Brent Dobbler
- Justin Louis as Assistant Special Agent in Charge Howard Purnell
- Tate Donovan as Special Agent Russ Turner
- Rade Šerbedžija as Mikhaylo Sczerbiak
- Lane Garrison as Lance Corporal Donnie Fenn
- Alan C. Peterson as Philadelphia Police Department officer Stanley Timmons
- Brian Markinson as Attorney General Russert
- Levon Helm as Mr. Rate
- Mike Dopud as Lead Mercenary
- Paul Alexander Warren as Secret Service
- Dean McKenzie as Archbishop of Ethiopia
- Logan as Sam, Bob Lee Swagger's dog
The novel Point of Impact was in development first at Universal and later at Paramount for twelve years, with seven screenwriters attempting many adaptations. The author Stephen Hunter also tried to adapt the book but was put off by the experience and disconnected himself from the process. Jonathan Lemkin read the book and some of the previous drafts and was able to avoid repeating some of the same mistakes. Lemkin updated the story away from the original post Vietnam setting, and restructured the story bringing the main event to the end of the first act, and to cut the multiple plot lines down to just the A story. His page 1 rewrite of the screenplay attracted Wahlberg and Fuqua, and on his second draft the film got the greenlight to go into production. Unusually for a screenplay with such a long development process and multiple rewrites, Lemkin retained sole credit after Writers Guild of America arbitration.
Most of the film was shot on location in New Westminster, Kamloops, Mission, Ashcroft and Cache Creek in British Columbia, Canada. For example, Swagger's escape was filmed in New Westminster along the Fraser River, standing in for the Delaware River. The car chase that ends when it plunged into the river was filmed down 6th Street and off the Westminster Quay. The following scene of Swagger clinging to the side of a dredger was also filmed on the Fraser River near the Pattullo Bridge.
The assassination scenes were filmed in Independence National Historical Park in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The sniper location was created from using the exteriors of the church steeple at the junction of New Street and North 4th Street and combining them with an elevated view from another building to create a fictional vista of the park. The final scene was shot on Benton Crossing Road, about ten miles east of Mammoth Lakes, California.
Weapons and tacticsEdit
Shooter depicts a number of sniper tactics, thanks to the guidance of former U.S. Marine scout sniper Patrick Garrity, who trained Mark Wahlberg for the film. Garrity taught Wahlberg to shoot both left- and right-handed (the actor is left-handed), as he had to switch shooting posture throughout the movie, due to Swagger's sustained injuries. He was also trained to adjust a weapon's scope, judge effects of wind on a shot, do rapid bolt manipulation and develop special breathing skills. His training included extreme distance shooting (up to 1,100 yards/1,006 m), and the use of camouflage ghillie suits. Fuqua appointed Garrity as the film's military technical advisor.
In the special features of the DVD, Garrity is interviewed pointing out that the shot fired in the assassination would not have hit the archbishop straight on, as in the film. When a round is fired it will fall from 30–40 feet (9.1–12.2 m) depending on the distance of the shot. To compensate, the round is fired at an arc calibrated by how far the round is going to fall, the distance of the shot, temperature, humidity and wind. In his interview Garrity said "At 1,800 yards (1,646 m), because of the hydrostatic shock that follows a large-caliber, high-velocity round such as the .408 Chey Tac (which is used in the shot), the target would literally be peeled apart and limbs would be flying 200 feet (61 m) away." The exit wound on the archbishop's head would have been too extreme to show in movie theaters. Instead, the movie depicts a much less graphic representation of the assassination.
The score to the film was composed by Mark Mancina, who recorded the music at the Todd-AO Scoring Stage in Studio City, Los Angeles, using a 77-piece orchestra conducted by Don Harper. A score soundtrack was released by Lakeshore Records on March 27, 2007. The song "Nasty Letter" by Otis Taylor plays over the end of the film and credits.
Shooter grossed $47 million in the U.S. and Canada and $48.7 million in other territories, for a total gross of $95.7 million against its $61 million production budget.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 47% approval rating based on 147 reviews; the average rating is 5.6/10. The site's consensus reads, "With an implausible story and numerous plot holes, Shooter fails to distinguish itself from other mindless action-thrillers." Metacritic assigns the film a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on reviews from 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Manohla Dargis of The New York Times calls the film "a thoroughly reprehensible, satisfyingly violent entertainment about men and guns and things that go boom." Dargis describes director Fuqua's technique as overshot and overedited, but says he has a knack for chaos and the result is "pretty enjoyable." Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter gave a positive review but was critical of the weak characterization: "If the movie only lavished as much thought and care on its characters as it does on each intricate set piece, Shooter might have been a classic." Honeycutt says the problem is the screenplay by Jonathan Lemkin, and the source novel Point of Impact by film critic and author Stephen Hunter. He highlights Pena for his performance, and praise the technical aspects of the film, particularly the stunt work, and the camera work of Peter Menzies Jr. Tony Horkins of Empire magazine praised the movie: "The sequel-ready Swagger challenges Bourne's supremacy with an impressive shoot-'em-up, work-it-out action drama".
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