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.|
|Edited by||Conrad Buff
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|March 23, 2007|
|Box office||$95.7 million|
Shooter is a 2007 American conspiracy action 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.
Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg), a Force Recon Marine Scout Sniper, is on a recon mission in Africa with his spotter, Lance Corporal Donnie Fenn (Lane Garrison). During the mission, the duo's Commander orders the mission to be shut down, leaving Swagger and Fenn as expendable. Swagger survives by managing to fend off an enemy helicopter, but Fenn is killed.
36 months later, Swagger reluctantly leaves a self-imposed exile from his isolated mountain home at the request of Colonel Isaac Johnson, who appeals to him to help track down an assassin who is planning to shoot the president. Johnson gives him a list of three cities where the President is scheduled to visit and Swagger assesses a site in Philadelphia as the most likely. This turns out to be a set-up; while Swagger is working with Johnson's agents to find the rumored assassin, the Ethiopian archbishop is instead shot while standing next to the president. Swagger is then shot by a police officer but manages to escape. The agents tell the police that Swagger is the shooter and stage a manhunt for the injured sniper. However, he meets a rookie FBI special agent, Nick Memphis (Michael Peña), disarms him, and steals his car.
After his escape, Swagger takes refuge with Sarah Fenn, Donnie's widow. He later convinces her to help him contact Memphis with information on the conspiracy. Memphis is blamed for Swagger's escape and is informed that he will face disciplinary review but 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 and is further made suspicious when the officer that shot Swagger was murdered hours later.
When the agents realize their secret is compromised, they kidnap Memphis and attempt to stage his suicide. Swagger tails them and kills the captors. The two then join forces and visit a firearms expert who provides 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, they plot to capture the ex-sniper who they think is the real assassin. Once they find him, he commits suicide after revealing that the archbishop was actually the real target and was murdered to prevent him revealing 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. Swagger records the ex–sniper's confession of his involvement in the African massacre and then, with Memphis' assistance, escapes from an ambush by mercenaries.
Meanwhile, other rogue mercenaries have kidnapped Sarah to lure Swagger out of hiding. 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. The Senator is allowed to escape, while Swagger and Memphis surrender to the FBI.
Later, Swagger is brought before the attorney general and the FBI director in a closed-door meeting with Colonel Johnson, Memphis, and Sarah also present. Swagger quickly clears his name by loading a round into his rifle (which is there as evidence since it was supposedly used in the killing), aims it at the Colonel and pulls the trigger — which fails to fire. 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 inoperable until he returns. Although Swagger is exonerated, Colonel Johnson cannot be charged with his crime as the Eritrean massacre was outside American legal jurisdiction. The attorney general tells Swagger that he himself must abide by the law. "It's not the Wild West where you can clean up the streets with a gun, even though sometimes that's exactly what's needed."
Afterwards, as Johnson and Senator Meachum plan their next move, Swagger breaks in and kills both conspirators, arranging for the house to blow up as if by accident. In a final scene, he is driven away by Sarah.
- 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 the 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.
Shooter was met with mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 48% approval rating, based on 147 reviews, with an average rating of 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 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The DVD was released on June 26, 2007, reaching the top of the sales charts.
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