When it comes to action-packed thrillers Liam Neeson is always the hero and he never disappoints. Just as expected Neeson delivers a superb performance in The Marksman but twenty minutes into the film it’s obvious that his acting is too much for this mediocre and predictable script. If you’re looking for a decent thriller to halfway entertain you on a Saturday night it won’t hurt to give this film a watch. But beware The Marksman doesn’t come close to Taken or The Ballad of Buster Scruggs some of Liam Neeson’s best work. There are not many dramas that do a great job at showcasing the unique relationship between an adult and a spunky child as the main characters with the exception of a couple of old faithfuls like Paper Moon and True Grit. Unfortunately, The Marksman doesn’t put an end to the dry spell. The dynamic between Neeson and his co-star Jacob Perez who made his acting debut in this film is quite painful in the beginning. However, their chemistry between the two becomes slightly heartwarming, to say the least at the end of the film.
So, what’s the movie about?
From the title alone you could tell that the film has to be about a sniper. In this film, Neeson plays Jim Hanson a former sniper for the marines. Now Jim is a drunk Arizona rancher that lives on the Arizona and Mexican border. right on the border of Mexico. Neeson’s character has recently fallen on hard times after losing his wife to cancer. Now he works reporting immigrants that try to illegally cross the border to border patrol. Jim is a lone wolf and he only enjoys spending time with his trusted companion; Jackson his loyal dog. Jim’s life of solitude comes to a screeching halt when he spots Rosa a single mother getting into a scuffle with cartel members. The cartel members shoot her and Jim ends up in a shootout with them killing one of their men. The mother suffers a fatal shot and she makes Jim promise to get her son safely to Chicago where she has relatives waiting.
This is all too much for Jim and once border control comes to the scene he hands Rosa’s young son Miguel over to them. When Jim spots cartel members pretending to be Miguel’s relatives so that they can take him back over the border he realizes that he can’t just walk away. He sneaks Miguel out of the border patrol office because he knows that will just hand him over to the cartel. Throughout the film, Jim Hanson is determined to do the right thing and safely get Miguel to Chicago and at times he has to remind himself that it’s the right thing to do especially since Miguel is standoffish in the beginning. Most of the movie is spent on the road. Just an old grumpy man with a baseball cap and a doleful young boy whose life has significantly changed in the last few hours. There are moments where we get glimpses of the kind of boy Miguel is but the movie would have been a little more interesting if the kid had some spunk.
How Does The Marksman End?
You’ll be happy to know that The Marksman has a happy ending. Well, that depends on what you consider a “happy ending”. But before that happens it wouldn’t be a Liam Neeson movie if there wasn’t a standoff with the bad guys. Jim and Miguel end up in an intense standoff with the cartel members on foot. Jim used his elite skills as a former sniper to take out each of the guys one by one until it’s just Maurice left, the head bad guy who wants blood because Jim shot his brother during the scuffle with Rosa. “I never had a choice,” Maurice tells Jim as he holds Miguel hostage. Maurice is a tortured character. Like many young boys in Mexico, Maurice was forced to become a killing a machine and he tells Miguel that someday he will make a fine soldier.
Old man Jim and Maurice end up in an intense fight. As expected with a few assists from Miguel Jim disables Maurice by shooting him in the stomach. Jim senses that Maurice is different when he hands him some type of sentimental object just as Jim is about to put a bullet in his head. Jim decides to give Maurice a choice this time, he throws him the loaded pistol and Maurice ends up shooting himself in the head. Jim gets Miguel to Chicago unharmed just as he promised his mother. In the last scene, Jim hops on a bus and goes unconscious from the stab wounds he suffered during his duel with Maurice. The movie ends with this scene. I guess we’ll never know if Jim lives. The Marksman is currently streaming on Hulu. If you’re interested in watching this film you can check it out on the platform.True Grit
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