Home HOUSE DESIGN ‘The Marksman’ Evaluate: In Want of a Mission

‘The Marksman’ Evaluate: In Want of a Mission

The plot of “The Marksman,” a melancholy road movie starring Liam Neeson, could fit on a bullet casing, but a list of its clichés would require substantially more space.

As would a tally of its improbabilities. Neeson plays Jim Hanson, a widowed Arizona rancher whose cattle are being eaten by coyotes and whose property is being devoured by the bank. All the usual good-guy signifiers are present: the U.S. Marines tattoo on his forearm, the Silver Star in his drawer, the American flag flapping on his porch. Gazing wistfully at the hill where his dead wife’s ashes have been scattered, Jim is a lonely warrior in need of nothing so much as a mission.

Along it comes in the diminutive form of Miguel (Jacob Perez), 11, and his dying mother (Teresa Ruiz), undocumented immigrants fleeing Mexico with money stolen from a drug cartel. One reluctant promise and several rounds of gunfire later, Jim and his rickety pickup truck are transporting Miguel to his Chicago relatives, a posse of deadeyed cartel goons on their tail. Luckily, Jim’s repeated use of a credit card — despite a bag full of cash under his dash — is making their pursuit much easier.

Slow and simple and minimally violent, “The Marksman,” directed by Robert Lorenz, cares more about bonding than brutality. Predictable to a fault, the movie coasts pleasurably on Neeson’s seasoned, sad-sweet charisma — an asset that’s been tragically imprisoned in mopey-loner roles and generic action thrillers. That melted-caramel brogue should be flirting with Diane Lane or Debra Winger, not teaching children how to use guns.

The Marksman
Rated PG-13 for the shooting of several bad men and one very good dog. Running time: 1 hour 47 minutes. In theaters. Please consult the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies inside theaters.

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