Sound basic values and obvious good intentions underlie The Marksman, but there’s a sketchy feel to director and co-writer Robert Lorenz’s action drama and it ultimately fails to make much of an impression. Source: CNS.
Liam Neeson plays Jim Hanson, the gruff sharpshooter of the title. An ex-Marine who served in Vietnam, Jim has fallen on hard times. Having lost his wife to cancer, he’s now facing eviction from his cattle ranch on the Arizona-Mexico border primarily because of her ruinously expensive medical bills.
Jim takes a tough but humane stance in interacting with those who attempt to enter the United States without legal papers. In this, he cooperates with his closest remaining relative, his stepdaughter Sarah (Katheryn Winnick), an immigration officer.
So when Jim comes across mother and son Rosa (Teresa Ruiz) and Miguel (Jacob Perez) who have crossed onto his property, he’s inclined to turn them in to the authorities. As viewers already know, however, the duo is being chased by the minions of a drug cartel led by a heavy called Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba). Miguel’s uncle betrayed the gang, and they’re out for vengeance.
Rosa soon perishes in a confrontation with the baddies and, as she is dying, begs Jim to transport preteen Miguel to safety with relatives in Chicago, offering him a cache of money purloined from the narcotics dealers as a reward. Recognising that Miguel will be doomed if left in the custody of the government bureaucracy, Jim reluctantly takes the lad under his wing and sets out for the Windy City.
There’s an unspoken appeal for reconciliation in the script, as semi-deplorable Jim, the embodiment of a downtrodden white guy, finds the better angels of his nature summoned forth by the plight in which Miguel finds himself. And there’s a generally pacific, specifically anti-revenge message to offset the vague vigilantism of Jim’s mission.
Review by John Mulderig, CNS
The Marksman: Starring Liam Neeson, Katheryn Winnick, Juan Pablo Raba, Teresa Ruiz. Directed by Robert Lorenz. Rated M (Mature themes, violence and coarse language). CNS advises the film contains considerable stylized violence, some gory sights, a suicide, a few uses of profanity, a couple of milder oaths, at least one rough term and several crude and crass expressions. Running time: 108 minutes. In cinemas now.
The Marksman (CNS)