Actor Liam Neeson (Schindler's List) has a particular set of skills…He can scowl with the best of them, he can expertly handle a firearm, and he can threaten a bad guy with a gravelly voice and sound menacing. He has made a career of, more often than not, portraying these types of characters and generally does a good job of it. So, when a movie titled The Marksman comes around, it should be no surprise that the film stars Neeson as a former Marine Corps soldier. With a budget over $23 million, it grossed less than that in theaters but perhaps it will recoup some money as it hits stores on Blu-ray this week.
Miguel (Jacob Perez; Willy Goes Way Back!) and his mom, Rosa (Teresa Ruiz; Narcos: Mexico) are desperate to cross the border after Rosa's brother calls her and tells her to leave so the drug cartel can't make an example out of them. However, while crawling through a hole in the fence, they are seen and stopped by Jim (Neeson) who lives on the Mexico/United States border in Arizona.
As Jim attempts to detain them until the Border Patrol arrives, the cartel shows up and demands Jim hand them over. When Jim refuses, the cartel begins shooting and Jim, Miquel, and Rosa escape in Jim's old pick-up truck. Soon after, Jim discovers that Rosa has been fatally shot, and just before she dies, Rosa begs Jim to take Miguel to her family in Chicago. Thus begins a game of cat and mouse as the Cartel follows Jim and Miguel through several states on their way to Illinois.
As mentioned, Neeson plays this type of character well and his portrayal of the quiet, former marine sniper, the lonely widower is pretty spot on. He is serious and down to earth and doesn't often show his anger. Despite being young, Perez does a very good job and has a promising acting career ahead of him. Juan Pablo Raba (The 33) who is cast as Mauricio, the head of the cartel group that comes after Rosa and Miguel, comes across as heartless and cruel.
Director Robert Lorenz (Trouble with The Curve) balances the close-up scenes with several massive landscape moments offering the audience the contrast between the small details and the (literally) larger picture. He keeps the flow of the movie-going at a good pace for the most part.
The 1080p video resolution is decent and helps the audience grasp the massiveness of the countryside in the Southern region of the United States. The DTS-HD Master audio 5.1 has clarity and crispness throughout regardless of if it is dialogue or ambient sounds/gunshots. The biggest disappointment in this combo pack is the single extra that is included. The eight-minute-long making-of feature has some decent cast interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
The biggest problem with The Marksman is that it is a paint by numbers film and is very formulaic/ordinary. Neeson breaks up some of the monotony with his strong performance but there isn't anything about the movie that hasn't been seen/done before. The best way to describe the film is probably as," mundane" which is most definitely not what you want from any film, let alone an Action/Drama/Thriller.
This is a movie you have probably seen before, and I can't even suggest buying the combo pack for the extras, since there is only one!
I wish I could recommend The Marksman but sadly, it ends up being way off the mark.