The Marksman         review by Bobby Blakey

Ever since Liam Neeson transitioned into the action role with his 2008 Taken film he has for the most part kept that train moving with numerous other entries into the genre. While not all have live up to the greatness of Taken, I admit I still enjoyed most of them. His latest film, The Marksman looks to continue that trend co-starring Jacob Perez, Teresa Ruiz, Juan Pablo Raba, and Katheryn Winnick with Trouble With The Curve director Robert Lorenz at the helm. Could this bring more action fun to Neeson’s filmography or will it not be worth crossing the border for?

 

The Marksman follows hardened Arizona rancher Jim Hanson simply wants to be left alone as he fends off eviction notices and tries to make a living on an isolated stretch of borderland. But everything changes when Hanson, an ex-Marine, witnesses 11-year-old migrant Miguel fleeing with his mother Rosa from drug cartel assassins led by the ruthless Mauricio.  After being caught in a shoot-out, an injured Rosa begs Jim to take her son to safety to her family in Chicago. Defying his step-daughter Sarah, Jim sneaks Miguel out of the local U.S. Customs and Border Patrol station and together, they hit the road with the group of killers in pursuit. Jim and Miguel slowly begin to overcome their differences and begin to forge an unlikely friendship, while Mauricio and his fellow assassins blaze a cold-blooded trail, hot on their heels.

 

I always love seeing Neeson do his thing, but the more he does the action films I keep waiting for them to start to wear out. Thankfully this is yet another one that works, but there is more to it than just the action. Sure it’s a pretty straight forward film structured in a way we have seen numerous times, but it’s the road trip aspect showcasing the relationship between Hanson and Miguel where this film shines. It’s an interesting dynamic that works and they have great chemistry which is the heart of this film. Both have a stoic personalities from their situations and refuse to open up but it’s essential for them to be successful in their circumstance. This offers up some more emotional moments than I had expected sprinkled in with the expected action.

 

Of course there was the action element which Neeson has shown he is more than capable of pulling off. This time around is no different, but instead of trying to make him like an unstoppable force in Taken he is more grounded, but still has training in his past. This sets up numerous scuffles and shoot outs that succeed in their execution. There is plenty of action but it felt balanced and less forced than in some films like this leading up to a decent action heavy finale that works.

 

To my biggest surprise was the way they ended the film which I thought was the perfect way of wrapping it up, but other might now. It gave it more of an emotional and realistic closure to the journey we just went on. As a whole I really enjoyed the film despite it being a pretty by the numbers action film. Once again Neeson delivers and I am all for him continuing his special set of skills.   

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