Shooter (2007 film)
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|
Shooter is a 2007 American action thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Jonathan Lemkin, 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 unit of personnel operating for a private military firm. The film also stars Michael Peña, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, Levon Helm, and Ned Beatty. It was produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura through Di Bonaventura Pictures, and released by Paramount Pictures in the United States on March 23, 2007.
USMC Force Recon Gunnery Sergeant sniper Bob Lee Swagger is participating in a mission in Eritrea with his spotter and close 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. Three years later, Swagger, now a disillusioned civilian, is living in a self-imposed exile at a secluded log cabin. At the office of an unnamed Private Military Company in Langley, Virginia, a retired US Army Colonel named Isaac Johnson and his associates review Swagger's combat operation report and his Certificate of Discharge. They visit him and request him to provide his expertise in preventing a possible assassination of the US president during his upcoming speech tour. Swagger agrees. Johnson gives him a list of possible assassination sites, and Swagger concludes that Independence Hall in Philadelphia is the confirmed place where the assassination will happen, with the assassin having to fire a 2000-yard shot. On the day of the Philadelphia speech, Swagger is working with Johnson's men and Timmons, a Philadelphia police officer, to find the assassin. However, the shot is fired. Swagger is suddenly betrayed and shot by Timmons, but he manages to escape. The conspirators frame Swagger for the assassination, 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 forces.
Continuing to evade forces, Swagger treats his injuries and takes refuge with Sarah, Donnie's widow. She reveals that the Ethiopian archbishop was killed instead of the President. She further treats his injuries. Upon recovering, Swagger persuades her to help him tip off Memphis. Memphis, who was scapegoated for Swagger's escape and is due for professional review, argues that given Swagger's training and expertise, it is suspicious that he "missed" the president by several feet and hit the archbishop instead. 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 afterward. Upon getting further hints about Swagger from a disguised Sarah, he attempts to access Delta-level classified information at the FBI office. Johnson and his men are tipped off by the Delta-level request, and realize that Memphis is about to expose them. They order him abducted and try to stage his suicide. They also abduct Sarah at her residence.
However, Swagger arrives at Memphis' kidnappers' hideout and kills them all. He and Memphis begin working together, starting by visiting a firearms expert who demonstrates to them a technique for fudging ballistics data, and gives them a list of people capable of firing a 2000-yard shot. They confront the actual assassin, who reveals that the archbishop was the intended target. He was murdered to stop him from informing the world that a consortium of corporate oil interests led by corrupt US senator Charles Meachum ordered an Eritrean village massacred to build an oil pipeline. Swagger records this statement. The assassin tells Swagger that Sarah has been abducted, then commits suicide. Swagger and Memphis are ambushed by a mercenary group deployed because of Meachum's authorization but because of Johnson's orders, but manage to kill their attackers and escape. They contact Meachum and agree to exchange Sarah for the recording of the assassin's confession.
Johnson, Meachum, Sarah, and a few mercenaries meet Swagger and Memphis on a mountaintop. Swagger kills three of their mercenary snipers. They exchange Sarah for the tape, and then surrender to the FBI.
Swagger is brought before the US attorney general and the FBI director in a private meeting with Colonel Johnson, Memphis, and Sarah. 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; it fails to fire. Swagger explains that every time he leaves his house, he switches out the firing pins of his guns: this renders them inoperable. Although Swagger is exonerated, Johnson cannot be prosecuted as Africa is outside US 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.
A while later, Johnson and Meachum are sitting in a secluded cabin plotting their next move. Swagger breaks in and kills both men and their associates. He causes for the cabin to blow up as though by accident and 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
- Elias Koteas as Jack Payne
- Rhona Mitra as Special Agent Alourdes Galindo
- Jonathan Walker as Louis Dobbler
- Justin Louis as Assistant Special Agent in Charge Howard Purnell
- Tate Donovan as Special Agent Russ Turner
- Rade Sherbedgia as Michael Sandor
- Alan C. Peterson as Philadelphia Police Department officer Stanley Timmons
- Ned Beatty as Senator Charles F. Meachum
- Lane Garrison as Lance Corporal Donnie Fenn
- Brian Markinson as Attorney General Russert
- Levon Helm as Mr. Rate
- Mike Dopud as Lead Mercenary
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 green light 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 in Mammoth Lakes, California, in the lakes basin.
Weapons and tactics
Shooter depicts a number of sniper tactics, thanks to the guidance of former US 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 US 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 Peña 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".
Reboot TV show
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