The Marksman (2021) is Liam Neeson’s latest action film. I thought he said was not going to make these kind of films anymore. If this is his coda on action films, it’s a sour note.
Neeson is the new Clint Eastwood, the craggy, soft-talking, hero from left field. This field has been plowed to a dust bowl. Others have followed in Clint’s footsteps: Bronson, Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Seagal, Gibson, The Rock and Statham. Neeson has specialized in the Cialis crowd.
For more on the formulaic, but normally effective Neeson film model, visit my other Liam Neeson blog.
The Marksman is filming by the numbers. Technically, Robert Lorentz directs a fine film, this no B film, but it is an F screenplay. If you are looking for something original or even exciting, keep looking. The screenplay is so generic that it telegraphs every plot point. Lorentz has an Eastwood connection, working on several of his more recent films.
Neeson’s character is a different shade of any character from his last dozen man-in-danger films. He’s a man living on the outskirts of the world, down on his luck, someone close to him has died, and a vulnerable person walks into his life, pursued by criminal and he is caught in saving that person and himself.
This time he is a rancher in Arizona trying to hold onto his land. Two Mexicans, fleeing the cartel cross the border onto his land. In defending himself he kills the brother of the cartel soldier. Neeson tries to help a young boy get to relatives in Chicago while the cartel is chasing them.
The title refers to his military training, which of course, comes in handy battling the cartel.
If you like Neeson and watch everything he does, see it. If you want some mindless entertainment to watch with a group so you aren’t pinning the entire evening on the strength of this film, watch it. Or, you can’t sleep and need a sleep aid, go for it.
I like Neeson, even in bad films he adds something to it. Here, he is not given much to work with. I wondered if he forgot what character he was playing and started reciting lines from one of his other films.