Shooter (2007 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Antoine Fuqua|
|Produced by||Lorenzo di Bonaventura|
|Screenplay by||Jonathan Lemkin|
|Based on||Point of Impact
by Stephen Hunter
|Music by||Mark Mancina|
|Cinematography||Peter Menzies Jr.|
|Editing by||Conrad Buff
|Studio||di Bonaventura Pictures|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Release dates||March 23, 2007|
|Running time||125 minutes|
Shooter is a 2007 American conspiracy thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua based on the novel Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. The film concerns a former U.S. Marine Scout Sniper, Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg), who is framed for murder by a rogue secret private military company unit. It was released in cinemas on March 23, 2007.
Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) is a U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant who served as a Force Recon Scout Sniper. He reluctantly leaves a self-imposed exile from his isolated mountain home in the Wind River Range at the request of Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover). Johnson appeals to Swagger's expertise and patriotism to help track down an assassin who plans on shooting the president from a great distance with a high-powered rifle. Johnson gives him a list of three cities where the President is scheduled to visit so Swagger can determine if an attempt could be made at any of them.
Swagger assesses each of the locations and determines that a site in Philadelphia would be most conducive to a long-range assassination attempt. He passes this information to Johnson, who purportedly arranges for a response. This turns out to be a set-up; while Swagger is working with Johnson's agents—including local police officer Timmons—to find the rumored assassin, the Ethiopian archbishop is instead assassinated while standing next to the president. Swagger is shot by officer Timmons, but manages to escape. The agents tell the police and public that Swagger is the shooter, and stage a massive manhunt for the injured sniper. However, Swagger has a stroke of luck—he meets a rookie FBI special agent, Nick Memphis (Michael Peña), disarms him, and steals his car.
Swagger uses the first aid supplies in the car to treat his wounds and escapes by driving into the Delaware River while being chased. He then takes refuge with Sarah Fenn (Kate Mara), widow of Swagger's late spotter and close friend Donnie Fenn, killed years before in a mission in Africa that Swagger himself barely survived. She saves his life by cleaning and stitching Swagger's gunshot wounds, and he later convinces her to help him contact Memphis with information on the conspiracy. Memphis is blamed for allowing Swagger's escape and is informed that he will face disciplinary review. Memphis argues that given Swagger's training and experience, it is surprising that the president survived and the archbishop standing several feet away was killed. He independently learns that Swagger may have been framed for the assassination by finding several inconsistencies in the evidence and witness statements provided to the FBI by an unnamed private agency. His suspicions rise further when the officer that shot Swagger was murdered hours later the same day, having it staged as a simple mugging.
When the rogue agents realize their secret is compromised, they kidnap Memphis and attempt to stage his suicide. Swagger tails the agents and kills Memphis' captors. Swagger and Memphis then join forces and visit a firearms expert (Levon Helm) in Athens, Tennessee, who provides valuable information on the FBI's ballistics report and a short list of people capable of taking a shot from a distance of one mile or more. Armed with this information, Swagger and Memphis plot to capture the person who they think is the real assassin, an ex-sniper allied with Colonel Johnson. Once they find him in Lynchburg, Virginia, he commits suicide after revealing that the archbishop was actually the real target and he was murdered to prevent his speaking out against U.S. involvement in the massacre of an Eritrean village. The massacre was carried out on behalf of a consortium of American corporate oil interests headed by corrupt Senator Charles Meachum (Ned Beatty). Swagger learns that the mission in which Fenn was killed was also a part of the massacre, as they were tasked to cover the withdrawal of the contractors assigned to the job. Swagger records the ex–sniper's confession of his involvement in the African massacre. Then, with Memphis' assistance, Swagger escapes from an ambush by killing 24 mercenaries.
Meanwhile, other rogue mercenaries, led by Johnson's psychotic right-hand man Jack Payne (Elias Koteas), have kidnapped Sarah to lure Swagger out of hiding. Sara is tortured and sexually assaulted. With his new evidence and cat and mouse strategy, Swagger and Memphis are able to rescue her when Colonel Johnson and Senator Meachum arrange a meeting to exchange their hostage for the evidence of their wrongdoing. After killing Payne and several enemy snipers in an isolated mountain range and rescuing Sarah, Swagger and Memphis surrender to the FBI.
Later, Swagger (in a prison jumpsuit) is brought before the attorney general and the FBI director in a closed-door meeting in Washington. Colonel Johnson, Memphis, and Sarah also present. Swagger quickly clears his name by loading a rifle round (supplied by Memphis) into his rifle (which is there as evidence since it was supposedly used in the killing, even though the calibers between the M200 - .408 - and the Barrett actually used - .50 BMG - are completely different. An anomaly that would have shown up in the ballistics report), aims it at the Colonel, and pulls the trigger—which fails to fire the round. Swagger explains that every time he leaves his house, he removes the firing pins from all his guns, replacing them with slightly shorter ones, thus rendering them unable to fire until he returns. Although Swagger is exonerated, Colonel Johnson cannot be charged with a crime as the Eritrean massacre is outside American legal jurisdiction and he walks free. The attorney general approaches Swagger and states that he (the attorney general) must abide by the law. He also admonishes Swagger, saying, "It's not the Wild West anymore, you can't just clean up the streets with a gun, even though sometimes, that's exactly what's needed." Swagger remembers his words.
Afterwards, Johnson and Senator Meachum plan their next move while at the Senator's vacation house—only to be interrupted by an attack by Swagger. He kills both conspirators, one of the Colonel's aides, and two bodyguards, then breaks open a gas valve before leaving. The fire in the fireplace ignites the gas, blowing up the house.
The final scene shows Swagger getting into a car with Sarah and driving away.
- Mark Wahlberg as Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger
- Lane Garrison as Lance Corporal Donnie Fenn
- Michael Peña as Special Agent Nick Memphis
- Danny Glover as Colonel Isaac Johnson
- Kate Mara as Sarah Fenn
- Elias Koteas as Jack Payne
- Rhona Mitra as Special Agent Alourdes Galindo
- Jonathan Walker as Brent Dobbler
- Justin Louis as Special Agent Howard Purnell
- Tate Donovan as Russ Turner
- Rade Šerbedžija as Michailo Sczerbiak
- Ned Beatty as Senator Charles F. Meachum
- Alan C. Peterson as Officer Stan Timmons
- Brian Markinson as Attorney General Russert
- Levon Helm as Mr. Rate
- Mike Dopud as Lead Mercenary
- Dean McKenzie as Archbishop
The film was shot mainly in British Columbia, Canada, in places such as New Westminster, Kamloops, Mission, Ashcroft and Cache Creek. The assassination scenes were filmed in Philadelphia. The crowd scenes with the President and the Archbishop were filmed in Independence National Historical Park in front of Independence Hall. The sniper location was created using the exteriors of the church steeple at the junction of New Street and North 4th Street. These were then combined with an elevated view from another building to create a fictional vista of the park. Swagger's escape was filmed in New Westminster along the Fraser 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 Pattullo Bridge.
Sniper weapons and tactics
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), 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 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, wind and the curvature of the earth. In his interview Garrity said "At 1,800 yards, 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 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.
Throughout the film, Swagger uses an array of sniper weapons, among which are the USMC M40A3, the CheyTac Intervention, and the Barrett M82 sniper rifles. Donnie Fenn used an M4A1 with a Cobray 37mm Launcher (commonly used by TV and movie armorers as a stand-in for the M203 grenade launcher) and M68 Close Combat Optic in the African opening sequences. A pair of Remington 700Ps were bought by Swagger and Memphis while on the run. Other weapons used by Swagger include a Beretta M9 and a commandeered M4A1 with an Aimpoint Sight, in the fight against the 24 mercenaries and a Colt M1911-A1 and a suppressed M4A1 in the final scene. Fenn's old .22 rifle that Swagger used on the lake scene is a Cooey model 60.
Also appearing in the film is a Precision Remotes Telepresent Rapid-Aiming Platform (TRAP), a remotely-operated weapon platform that accepts a standard rifle. Precision Remotes' website appears in the film, and the company is credited in the closing credits.
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.
Critical response to the film was mixed. Rotten Tomatoes reports a 48% approval rating based on 142 reviews; and an 82% based on 120,688 audience reviews. Metacritic assigns the film a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Empire magazine had a verdict of 'The sequel-ready Swagger challenges Bourne's supremacy with an impressive shoot-'em-up, work-it-out action drama.'
The DVD was released on June 26, 2007, reaching the top of the sales charts.
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