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Paramount DVD Review

Shooter DVD Review

Shooter (2007) movie poster Shooter

Theatrical Release: March 23, 2007 / Running Time: 126 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Cast: Mark Wahlberg (Bob Lee Swagger), Michael Peña (Nick Memphis), Danny Glover (Colonel Isaac Johnson), Kate Mara (Sarah Fenn), Elias Koteas (Jack Payne), Rhona Mitra (Alourdes Galindo), Rade Sherbedgia (Michael Sander), Levon Helm (Mr. Rate), Ned Beatty (Senator Charles F. Meachum), Tate Donovan (Russ Turner), Justin Louis (Howard Purnell), Jonathan Walker (Louis Dobbler)

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In Shooter, Mark Wahlberg plays protagonist Bob Lee Swagger and swagger he does. A renegade marksman who lost his partner during a special military operation gone awry, Swagger is living the recluse life with only a big dog as company.
When an enigmatic, presumed government-affiliated group led by Colonel Johnson (a lispy Danny Glover) pleas for his expertise in preventing an imminent presidential assassination attempt, Swagger is reluctant to help. It doesn't take too long, however, for his patriotism to overpower his distaste for present-day government. Soon, Swagger is using his sharpshooting prowess to predict which of the President's three upcoming public engagements will put him most at risk and from where.

It turns out that the assassin is Swagger, at least that's how it looks when the situation is twisted and he becomes an obvious suspect. Only narrowly escaping with his life, Swagger finds himself on the run from police, federal authorities, and the unknown group that set him up. To his benefit is a resourcefulness that rivals MacGyver's and firearm skills that can demolish a can of stew in a single shot from over a mile away. He also finds two allies in his partner's young widow (Kate Mara) and rookie FBI agent Nick Memphis (Michael Peña) whose future with the Bureau is jeopardized by the case.

Mark Wahlberg gets a patriotic slow-motion swagger as Bob Lee Swagger in "Shooter." This is the integral scene of the movie, which didn't raise the controversy of "Death of a President."

Shooter makes relatively good use of its innocent-man-on-the-run premise, even while making little effort to keep our sympathies with the hard-edged sniper lead. For every clever turn like the compelling premise, the movie also succumbs to a stupid one, such as making a veteran Montana senator played by Ned Beatty the corrupt mastermind. The film is at its weakest when it is invoking politics as if it can shed some unique light on today's issues within the confines of a double-digit-casualty conspiracy thriller. Still, Shooter effectively builds suspense and sustains interest without excessively resorting to convention. Perhaps that's giving the film too much credit, as it does provide the muscular lead shirtless and wounded, an attractive female who's conveniently found in a bra, and the obligatory sequence of Good Guy defying logic and overcoming opposition that so kindly follows the One-Bad-Guy-at-a-Time rules outlined in the Action Movie Convention. There are also a few explosions, a car chase, and many bloody gunshots. We, however, have been trained to accept such elements.

In spite of its faults, the movie can't be written off as a sheer mindless action flick. Though director Antoine Fuqua brings a Jerry Bruckheimer kind of sensibility to the proceedings -- stylized visuals, lots of cuts, a tinge of humor, and a cast of men's men -- he proves as competent as his King Arthur producer in staging this film and its set pieces. Regardless of its bandying about of political ideas and secretive agencies, the movie isn't easily mistaken for intelligent cinema and it would be about as out of place at an awards show was as Fuqua's ridiculously-decorated Training Day.

Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover) has a slight lisp and a deceptive warmth. Camouflaged and ready to go, Swagger is a military marksman-turned-vigilante.

Even so, outlandish conspiracy theories can convince and captivate if they're presented in an adequate fashion and for the entirety of the 125-minute runtime, that remains the case. Viewers' instincts deserve as much credit as the movie's design,
for audience members are able to relate to the story and its familiar characters just by living today and being able to take a series of paranoid leaps.

Shooter is adapted from Point of Impact (1993), the first in a series of novels penned by Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter. (A fourth book is due this September.) With Wahlberg in the fray, "Bob the Nailer" is made younger and in light of the contemporary setting, he obviously loses his three Vietnam tours backstory. Wahlberg only provides a minimal amount of charisma, yet he carries the film capably. Following closely on the heels of his Oscar-nominated foul-mouthed supporting role in Martin Scorsese's The Departed and his work in Disney's inspirational true NFL drama The Invincible, his performance here shows some range, if not enough to classify him as "versatile" then enough to make his past lives as hip-hop star, underwear model, and troubled teen long forgotten.

The movie's box office performance -- $47 million domestically and another $47 million abroad -- didn't rank among Wahlberg's career highs, but its middling intake still exceeded a majority of 2007's films including concurrently-released star-driven thrillers. Reflecting its weak theatrical legs, Shooter makes a quick jump to DVD, arriving on disc just three months after opening in theaters.

Buy Shooter on DVD from Amazon.com DVD Details

2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish, French)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
Release Date: June 26, 2007
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Black Keepcase with Side Snaps
Also Available in Reformatted Fullscreen DVD
and on Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD


As far as the transfer is concerned, the DVD exhibits no apparent visual shortcomings. However, the 2.35:1 widescreen presentation is, like Fuqua's other works, highly stylized in appearance, with a muted palette that's heavy on darkness and shadows. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is surprisingly subdued for the most part, only coming to life for the rare shootout. A substantial amount of the dialogue, delivered in mutters or whispers, does leave one turning to subtitles, which are supplied exclusively in English.

Mark Wahlberg gets sniping lessons in "Survival of the Fittest: The Making of Shooter." If you want to learn more about the Liberty Bell cracks, then watch "Independence Hall." Bob Lee and Sarah watch the news in this deleted scene.


In the first of four bonuses, director Antoine Fuqua provides a feature-length audio commentary.
His production anecdotes and dramatic observations qualify as mildly interesting, but they're not enough to recommend a listen to anyone who doesn't already want to. It doesn't help that the track's somewhat regular blank spaces are filled with the movie's audio, often yielding a jarring volume change from Fuqua's soft solo speaking.

"Survival of the Fittest: The Making of Shooter" (21:48) serves as the requisite all-purpose documentary. With the standard blend of cast/crew interview comments, B-roll footage, and film clips, it provides an overview of production with an emphasis on technical accuracy, Wahlberg's sniper training, and the challenging glacier shoot. While little allows this to stand out from other compact EPK-type supplements, a few nuggets of insight do emerge.

The short featurette "Independence Hall" (7:15) deals with the historic Philadelphia site that serves as the location for the film's most consequential scene. With its discussion of the Liberty Bell and an important reading of the Declaration of Independence, it's a piece that feels better suited for National Treasure's DVD.

Seven deleted scenes are presented in a completed fashion, running 11 minutes and 50 seconds altogether. They offer more character development for Swagger and Memphis, the latter getting a proper introduction at the FBI. There is an alternate dispatch of exposition, a longer version of one character's demise, and an extended cut of Swagger and Memphis shopping that probably finds the movie at its most comedic. The remaining brief exchanges make clear Swagger's thoughts, which range from historical citations to somewhat far-fetched theories.

The disc opens with trailers for Zodiac and Black Snake Moan, which are also accessible as a group from the special features menu's "Previews" listing. Shooter's trailer, which showed glimpses of a few sequences not in the film (and not among the deleted scenes), is disappointingly not included. The animated menu showcases the film's abundant action with a fast-paced montage of imagery set to upbeat score. Sub-menus are static and silent. As usual for today's Paramount DVDs, no chapter insert (or chapter names) is provided.

Memphis (Michael Pena) and Swagger consult a veteran shooting expert for guidance. Marky Mark strikes the pose you'd expect in a movie called "Shooter."


Fans of action movies will probably take to Shooter, a fairly standard but involving entry to the genre. It's not as good as the '70s thrillers it aspires to, but it's also not as bad as most of today's uninspired efforts. With an ordinary slate of supplements and sufficient picture and sound, the movie's swift DVD release meets one's expectations squarely. A rental should suffice those with no particular persuasion to the class, as they're not likely to clamor for frequent repeat viewings. But for those who value adrenaline rushes in their cinema and are apt to return to flicks that deliver thrills, Shooter likely fits the bill as one to buy.

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Also available on Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD

Related Reviews:
Deja Vu (2006) | Primeval (2007) | Apocalypto (2006) | National Treasure (2004)
Enemy of the State: Special Edition (1998) | The Guardian (2006) | Flightplan (2005)

The Cast and Crew of Shooter:
Mark Wahlberg: Invincible (2006) | Director Antoine Fuqua: King Arthur: Director's Cut (2004)
Danny Glover: Dreamgirls (2006) • Angels in the Outfield (1994) | Ned Beatty: Where the Red Fern Grows (2004)
Elias Koteas: The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005) | Tate Donovan: The Pacifier (2005) • Hercules (1997)

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Reviewed June 25, 2007.

Text copyright 2007 UltimateDisney.com. Images copyright 2007 Paramount Pictures and Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.