“The Marksman:” Both a thriller and a charming tale | Culture & Leisure
We’re used to seeing Liam Neeson in violent shoot’em ups, so “The Marksman” won’t surprise or disappoint us. Neeson plays a tough and believable man, even at his age. The Irish actor is 70 this year, so savvy filmmakers haven’t made him physically beat the bad guys. He thinks about it and shoots them. Neeson’s films have recently received mixed reviews from audiences. His three “Taken” films grossed nearly $ 1 billion, but other recent films have struggled to make a profit.
Here he plays a widowed rancher from Arizona along the border. He gets involved with a little boy who is the target of drug trafficking. The following is a lower level of the usual Neeson-style violence.
Fans will be delighted to see Katheryn Winnick. We remember her best as Lagertha, a shielded maiden and queen of the great TV series “Vikings”. She plays a border agent, the daughter of Neeson’s now deceased wife. It’s nice to see her.
Director Robert Lorenz also directed “Trouble With the Curve”, a Clint Eastwood / Amy Adams film. His three Oscar nominations all stem from his efforts as a producer, also with films related to Eastwood.
“The Marksman” almost makes it a thriller. It also almost makes it a charming film about the old man and the boy, each teaching the other one or the other of life’s great lessons. It almost makes it a movie about men with blood on their hands seeking redemption and finding it. It’s almost the word we need to focus on. Maybe the writers and director tried to put too much in the same movie and ended up with little in particular to satisfy us in the seats.
We end with a predictable movie with some surprises and some big noise. I’ll mention one clunk and let viewers discover the other. In a totally superfluous scene, the penniless and indebted old man and penniless orphan burn a huge cache of cartel money. No one other than no one would do that.
I mentioned the long association that director Lorenz has with Clint Eastwood. You can see echoes of “Gran Torino” and “The Mule” in this decidedly less interesting film.
“The Marksman” lasts just under two hours and gets a slight PG-13 rating for many shots, some swearing, and misuse of alcohol. This average thriller gets a below average two-and-a-half sawblade.
Not so fun fact: The setting for “The Marksman” is Arizona, but the filming locations are in New Mexico.