The Marksman (2021 film)

The Marksman is a 2021 American action thriller film directed by Robert Lorenz. The plot follows a brooding rancher and former Marine (Liam Neeson), living in an Arizona border town, who must help a young boy (Jacob Perez) escape a Mexican drug cartel. Katheryn Winnick, Juan Pablo Raba, and Teresa Ruiz also star.

The Marksman
A man stares down the scope of a sniper
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Lorenz
Written by
  • Robert Lorenz
  • Chris Charles
  • Danny Kravitz
Produced by
CinematographyMark Patten
Edited byLuis Carballar
Music bySean Callery
  • Raven Capital Management
  • Sculptor Media
  • Zero Gravity Management
  • Voltage Pictures
Distributed by
Release date
  • January 15, 2021 (2021-01-15) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$23–30 million[2][3]
Box office$23.1 million[2][4]

The film was theatrically released in the United States on January 15, 2021, by Open Road Films and Briarcliff Entertainment. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Neeson's performance but criticized the film as being formulaic.[5]


Former US Marine Corps Scout Sniper and Vietnam war veteran Jim Hanson, a widower, lives along the Arizona-Mexico border with his dog, Jackson. While tending his ranch, which he is behind in payments on, he reports illegal border crossings to the United States Border Patrol, where his step-daughter Sarah works. One day he encounters Rosa and her son Miguel, Mexican citizens fleeing from the cartel.[6] As Hanson calls border patrol, a cartel gang led by Mauricio approaches and a shootout ensues, in which Hanson shoots and kills Mauricio's brother and Rosa is fatally wounded. Before dying, Rosa gives Hanson her family's address in Chicago and a bag of cash, begging him to take Miguel there.

Border patrol shows up and takes Miguel, but one of the gang members claims him as a relative. Hanson sees their car outside the station and sneaks Miguel out to head for Chicago along Route 66. The gang get into America, tracking the pair via Hanson's credit card. Hanson and Miguel escape several close calls but the cartel members kill Jackson and find the map Hanson used to plan his route.

The cartel use spotters to find Hanson's truck, which breaks down during a chase. Retreating to a nearby farm, Hanson snipes three of the cartel members, but Mauricio captures Miguel. After a skirmish, Hanson is shot and stabbed but he seriously wounds Mauricio with a gunshot. Hanson offers Mauricio the gun with a single bullet as choice: either use it as a coup de grâce or to shoot Hanson. As Hanson and Miguel leave the farm, they hear a gunshot, indicating that Mauricio chose suicide. Hanson drops Miguel off at his family's home in Chicago before getting on a bus and closing his eyes.


  • Liam Neeson as Jim Hanson, a former U.S. Marines sniper and Vietnam War veteran
  • Katheryn Winnick as Sarah, border patrol agent and step-daughter of Hanson
  • Juan Pablo Raba as Mauricio, a deranged Mexican enforcer for the Vasquez Cartel
  • Teresa Ruiz as Rosa, Miguel's mother who is on the run from the cartel
  • Jacob Perez as Miguel, a boy who is on the run from the cartel with his mother
  • Dylan Kenan as Randall
  • Luke Rains as Everett
  • Sean Rosales as Hernando
  • Alfredo Quiroz as Carlos
  • Amber Midthunder as Gas Station Clerk


The project, originally titled The Minuteman, was announced in May 2019, with Liam Neeson set to star.[7][8][9][10] In September 2019, it was announced that Winnick and Raba joined the cast of the film.[11][12][13]

Principal photography occurred in Lorain,[14] Portage County,[15][16] and Chardon, Ohio.[17] Filming also occurred in New Mexico,[18][19] and wrapped in October 2019.[20]


The Marksman was initially scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on January 22, 2021, but was later moved up a week to January 15.[21]


Box officeEdit

The Marksman grossed $15.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $7.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide of $23 million.[4][2]

The film grossed $3.7 million over the four-day MLK opening weekend, the second Open Road/Neeson title to top the box office during the COVID-19 pandemic after Honest Thief the previous October. The film played best in the South, with men making up 57% of the audience, and 72% being over the age of 25.[22] It remained in first the following weekend with $2.03 million, then made $1.2 million in its third weekend and finished third.[23][24]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 39% based on 108 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "The Marksman benefits from having Liam Neeson in the lead, but this formulaic action thriller should have aimed higher."[5] On Metacritic, it holds a weighted average score of 44 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[25] Audiences surveyed by PostTrak gave the film a 73% positive score, with 46% saying they would definitely recommend it.[22]

Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times wrote: "Predictable to a fault, the movie coasts pleasurably on Neeson's seasoned, sad-sweet charisma."[26] Michael O'Sullivan at The Washington Post rated the film 2/4 stars, writing that it "proves itself to be the cinematic version of comfort food: satisfyingly familiar but full of starch and empty calories."[27]

Owen Gleiberman at Variety, gave a more negative review, stating "Lorenz stages the action with a convincing ebb and flow, but thanks to an undercooked script what happens in between is mostly boilerplate."[28] David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a C− and wrote "...The Marksman might be two three-ways short of The Mule, but almost everything about it — from its 'get off my lawn' misanthropy to its general take on the uselessness of government in American life — feels geared for a late-career Eastwood vehicle."[29]


  1. ^ "The Marksman". British Board of Film Classification.
  2. ^ a b c "The Marksman (2021)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  3. ^ Jurgensen, John (January 25, 2021). "Liam Neeson Is the Secret Weapon for Getting People Into Movie Theaters". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "The Marksman (2021)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "The Marksman (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 10, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "'The Marksman' Summary & Ending, Explained - Dry As Dust | DMT". Digital Mafia Talkies. April 14, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (May 9, 2019). "Liam Neeson to Star in Action-Thriller 'The Minuteman'". Variety. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  8. ^ Grate, Jake (May 10, 2019). "Liam Neeson to star in new action-thriller 'The Minuteman,' months after racism controversy". Fox News. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  9. ^ White, James (May 9, 2019). "Liam Neeson Starring In Action Thriller The Minuteman". Empire. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "Scandal-plagued Liam Neeson cast in action thriller 'The Minuteman'". Edmonton Journal. May 12, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  11. ^ Hipes, Patrick (September 3, 2019). "'The Minuteman': Katheryn Winnick, Juan Pablo Raba Join Liam Neeson Action Thriller". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  12. ^ Hermanns, Grant (September 4, 2019). "Liam Neeson's The Minuteman Adds Katheryn Winnick & Juan Pablo Raba". Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  13. ^ "Katheryn Winnick, Juan Pablo Raba Will Star With Liam Neeson in THE MINUTEMAN". BroadwayWorld. September 3, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  14. ^ Haidet, Ryan (October 10, 2019). "Liam Neeson 'Minuteman' movie filming in Lorain County: Here's where the action is taking place". WKYC. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  15. ^ Anderson, Natasha (October 2, 2019). "Caught on camera: Liam Neeson filming new movie in Portage County". WJW (TV). Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  16. ^ "Liam Neeson spotted in Portage County filming 'The Minuteman'". Akron Beacon Journal. October 2, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  17. ^ Balish, Paula (September 25, 2019). "Liam Neeson Shoots Scene In Chardon For Upcoming Movie". WNCX. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  18. ^ Naquin, Talia (August 28, 2019). "Want to be in a movie with Liam Neeson? 'The Minuteman' is filming in Cleveland and looking for actors". WJW (TV). Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  19. ^ "'The Minutemen' starring Liam Neeson to begin filming in New Mexico". KRQE. September 9, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  20. ^ Morona, Joey (October 22, 2019). "Liam Neeson's 'The Minuteman' wrapping up production in Cleveland". Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  21. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 17, 2020). "'The Marksman': Liam Neeson Action Pic Sets Sights On MLK Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  22. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 17, 2021). "Open Road's Liam Neeson Pic 'The Marksman' Takes $3.7M At MLK Weekend Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 24, 2021). "'The Marksman' Stays On Target As No. 1 In Pandemic As Major Studios Pull Product From Q1". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  24. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 31, 2021). "Denzel Washington & Rami Malek Thriller 'The Little Things' Counts $4.8M Debut, Best For Older Guy Fare During Pandemic B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  25. ^ "The Marksman Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  26. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (January 14, 2021). "'The Marksman' Review: In Need of a Mission". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  27. ^ O'Sullivan, Michael. "Review | Liam Neeson shoots bad guys, charms audience in the middlebrow 'The Marksman'". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  28. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (January 12, 2021). "'The Marksman' Review: Liam Neeson Saves a Mexican Boy From Cartel Slaughter in a Feel-Good Action Road Movie". Variety. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  29. ^ Ehrlich, David (January 12, 2021). "'The Marksman' Review: Liam Neeson Goes Full Clint Eastwood in a Redbox-Ready Action Movie". IndieWire. Retrieved January 12, 2021.

External linksEdit