Shooter (2007 film)
|Directed by||Antoine Fuqua|
|Screenplay by||Jonathan Lemkin|
|Based on||Point of Impact|
by Stephen Hunter
|Produced by||Lorenzo di Bonaventura|
|Cinematography||Peter Menzies Jr.|
|Music by||Mark Mancina|
|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.
U.S. Marine Force Recon sniper, Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger, is on a mission in Ethiopia with his spotter and friend Corporal Donnie Fenn. They help an allied convoy evade the enemy, but are abandoned inside hostile territory and Fenn is subsequently killed in a firefight against the enemy militia forces.
Three years later, Swagger, now a disillusioned retiree, is living in self-imposed exile at a secluded log cabin. At the office of an unnamed private military company in Langley, Virginia, retired U.S. Army Colonel Isaac Johnson and his employees review Swagger's combat operation report and DD Form 214. Johnson visits Swagger and requests his expertise to thwart a pending assassination of the U.S. president. Johnson gives him a list of possible assassination sites, and after reconnoitering all three Swagger concludes that Independence Hall in Philadelphia is most likely.
On the day of the President's speech, Swagger is working with Johnson's men to foil the assassin, when another speaker, an Ethiopian archbishop, is killed while standing near the president. Swagger is betrayed when he himself is shot twice 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, Nick Memphis, and steals his service pistol and his car, crashing it into the Delaware River. He then clings to the side of a barge going upstream to evade pursuers.
Swagger treats his injuries enough to allow him to steal a truck and drive to Kentucky, where he takes refuge with Sarah, Donnie's widow. He persuades her to help him contact Agent Memphis with information about the conspiracy. Memphis is scapegoated for Swagger's escape and is awaiting punishment, but argues to his superiors 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' unusually successful research was about to expose their operation, they send mercenaries to kidnap him and attempt to stage his suicide. However, Swagger arrives and kills the men who abducted Memphis, who then becomes his ally. Swagger and Memphis visit a retired firearms expert who sheds light on the FBI's faked ballistics report and names people capable of taking a shot akin to the assassin's. They learn from another FBI agent that the real assassin has been placed in a country house in Virginia, which they infiltrate. The assassin kills himself after revealing that the archbishop was the intended target and was murdered to prevent him from revealing U.S. 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, and immediately after, he and Memphis engage and defeat Johnson's approaching mercenary group -- the same men that Swagger and Donnie were covering in Eritrea -- in a fierce firefight.
Meanwhile, some of Johnson's henchmen have captured Sarah to lure Swagger out of hiding. Swagger and Memphis escape to Bozeman, Montana and call Johnson to arrange a meeting to exchange Sarah for the recording of the assassin's confession. They agree to meet, along with Meachum, on a glacier in the Rocky Mountains. Swagger eliminates all three mercenary snipers stationed around the location after Johnson and Meachum arrive. Meanwhile, FBI agents borrow some helicopters from Malmstrom AFB outside of Great Falls. Swagger and Memphis rescue Sarah but Swagger destroys the recording instead of turning it over, saying that it will cause more deaths if left in Johnson's hands. Meachum leaves as helicopters approach carrying the FBI agents (tipped off earlier by Memphis), to whom Swagger and Memphis surrender.
Swagger, in custody, requests a meeting with the U.S. attorney general and the FBI director. In a Department of Justice conference room, with Colonel Johnson, Memphis, and Sarah also present, Swagger quickly clears his name by demonstrating that his personal sniper rifle, which Johnson had staged at the assassination scene and was seized by the FBI as evidence, was incapable of firing. Swagger explains that whenever he leaves his house, he renders all of his firearms inoperable until he returns. Although Swagger and Memphis reveal Johnson's culpability for the Eritrean massacre, the Attorney General states that Johnson cannot be prosecuted as crimes committed in Africa are outside U.S. jurisdiction. The charges against Swagger are dropped and he is released.
Later that night, Johnson and Meachum celebrate in a secluded hunting lodge, guarded by mercenaries, while discussing their next venture. Swagger kills the guards and breaks in, and shoots both Johnson and Meachum's assistant before executing Meachum. He then sabotages the gas line so that the house will blow up and makes his way through woods to the road, where Sarah is waiting for him in her car, and the pair leave the scene.
- Mark Wahlberg as Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger
- Michael Peña as FBI Special Agent Nick Memphis
- Danny Glover as Colonel Isaac Johnson
- Kate Mara as Sarah Fenn
- Elias Koteas as Jack Payne
- Rhona Mitra as FBI Special Agent Alourdes Galindo
- Jonathan Walker as Louis Dobbler
- Justin Louis as FBI Assistant Special Agent-In-Charge Howard Purnell
- Tate Donovan as FBI Special Agent Russ Turner
- Rade Sherbedgia as Mikhayo Sczerbiak / 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 to 40 feet (9.1 to 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 an approval rating of 47% based on 147 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The site's critics 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". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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".
Adapted TV series
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