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Review: Neeson's 'The Marksman' features an interesting protagonist in a familiar story

The Marksman Briarcliff Entertainment 6.JPG
Liam Neeson stars in The Marksman (Photo: Briarcliff Entertainment)

The Marksman
3 out of 5 Stars
Robert Lorenz
Writer: Chris Charles, Danny Kravitz, Robert Lorenz
Starring: Liam Neeson, Katheryn Winnick, Jacob Perez
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: PG-13 for violence, some bloody images and brief strong language

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: An Arizona rancher attempts to shepherd a young Mexican boy fleeing the cartel to his family in Illinois.

Review: Liam Neeson stars as Jim, a rancher, who lives on along the Mexico-Arizona border, Jim recently lost his wife to cancer and is on the verge of defaulting on his loans and losing his land. Jim spends most of his time protecting his diminishing herd of cattle and calling US Customs and Border Protection when he sees groups illegally crossing into America. He’s not indifferent to their plights; he’s a military man with a sense of duty.

One dusty afternoon Jim comes across a woman and her young son crossing through a hole in a wired barrier. The cartel is not far behind. Jim steps in to protect the woman and child. A shootout ensues. The woman is shot, before she dies, she begs Jim to take her son to her family in Chicago.

Jim’s motivations aren’t always as pure as a standard protagonist’s would be and his willingness to admit and while his flaws doesn’t exactly make him a sympathetic character, it does help Neeson elevate “The Marksman” above its standard western and action tropes. It also makes for a better film than Neeson’s last effort, “Honest Thief.”

Neeson and Jacob Perez, who plays the young boy, have some nice moments. The script is a bit thin. I would have liked more with Katheryn Winnick’s border agent character and the main cartel footman Maurico, played by Juan Pablo Raba, is far too cartoonish to take seriously. Sadly, this undercuts what is supposed to be a poignant moment between Jim and Maurico at the end of the film. I know what I’m supposed to feel. I also know that I didn’t feel it.

“The Marksman” is mostly a standard Neeson action film. Only this time you get what you are expecting with a little bit of more purpose and introspection to go along with its gun fights and punch ups.