Film Review – The Marksman

While 2020 may have been a quiet year for most workers, actor Liam Neeson seems to have done quite a lot. It only seems a few weeks ago that I reviewed Honest Thief starring Neeson. Oh; that’s because it was – just over three months ago to be exact.

Neeson stars as Jim Hanson, an ex Marine who now runs a ranch on the Arizona-Mexico border. Not just near the border mind. Oh no. His property runs right along part of the large fence where drug cartels regularly break through to smuggle people, drugs and weapons.

Plot (as much as there is one)

One day while out driving the fence line he finds Rosa and her son Miguel who have just climbed through a hole in the fence. (If only there was a big wall I hear you cry!) It turns out that Rosa’s brother had stolen money from one of the drug cartels and so to really punish him (even after already killing him) they intend to make examples out of members of his family. Before they catch up to him he phones Rosa and basically tells her to run for it.

Back to the border fence. Cartel members headed by Maurico (well played by Juan Pablo Raba) are close behind and approach the fence. Jim Hanson fends them off but in the shootout Rosa is killed. Her dying words are basically you can take everything I have (handing a bag full of money to Hanson) but please take my son to my family in Chicago.

Jim then reluctantly tries to do just that. However, the drug gang enter the USA and are in hot pursuit. One of the gang’s properties in the USA is equipped with high tech monitoring equipment and they manage to track Hanson by following his credit card payments. Meanwhile Maurico and his henchmen follow the leads across the highways.

The rest of the movie is basically a game of cat and mouse where Hanson and Miguel keep just one step ahead. The film’s ending is fairly predictable – so no spoiler alert needed and none given.

Critique

OK there is not much different or great about this movie. In fact nothing. That said it is a typical Liam Neeson easy watch action thriller. Nothing complex going on just basic baddies after some innocent child. While I always prefer more thought provoking movies I also like this genre at times and on that note I give the film two and a half out of five (stars?)

But what about the cartel’s super computer that can seemingly track someone just like the FBI can? And why didn’t they know that Rosa and Miguel had family in Chicago? Come on!!! Please! That’s weak story writing to say the least.

Even worse than that, near the climax to the film, the gang calls what must be their affiliate members in Chicago to look out for Hanson and the kid. These guys then set up lookouts over the main highways into Chicago and when they spot Hanson’s pick-up truck they call Maurico telling him which exit Hanson left the highway. Then they are done? Then they play no more part in the film? Oh nooooo…..

You have to be kidding me. In real life I would like to think that the drug cartels cannot track people’s credit card transactions – although I suspect they may have enough power to access such information. But I also think they would know that Rosa had family in Chicago and would have had their local people camped outside that house waiting.

Not to worry. These type of movies do not really require you to think that deeply. Just sit back and enjoy the ride (so to speak). And on that basis it was an acceptable, and now fast becoming typical, Liam Neeson action movie.

Neeson Update…

I just found out that Neeson has been filming a new movie here in Australia. It’s called Blacklight and also stars Aussie actor – and one of my favourites – Guy Pearce. I look forward to it; but there is another point to all this. While people like us can’t go back to Europe to visit family (or they come here to visit us) it seems that movie stars, cricket players and tennis players can come and go. Anyone not think there are double standards at play here?

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