A friend invited me to see Shooter yesterday. It earned some very mixed feelings from me.
On the good side, the shooting was interesting. There was a lot of talk about shooting from a mile away, and the difficulties with accuracy at that range. I found it fascinating.
Also good were the multiple preparation scenes. By that I mean, when the main character (Bob Lee Swagger – played by Mark Wahlberg) needed to do something extraordinary, the movie went out of its way to show you how he did it. We had multiple shopping scenes, where he'd buy everyday products and combine them to make a medical kit, a pipe bomb, or other goodies. And we had multiple scenes of him scoping out an area – researching to see what he was getting into. This helped me immensely, so that when the movie ended, I found myself thinking, "maybe he really could beat 25 soldiers, he sure planned it out carefully enough."
It was a different vibe from movies like the James Bond films. In those movies, Bond can spontaneously win any attack, getting out of every bad situation through sheer luck. But in Shooter, Bob Lee Swagger survives by having friends who snipe bad guys, by planting land mines, and by holding off combat until he's assessed the situation. Nice.
But now, let's look at the bad side of the movie.