action, adventure, comedy, movie, movie review, superhero

January 29th, 2018 Movie – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

teenage mutant ninja turtles 3

Ok, I honestly don’t remember if this movie actually appeared in theaters or not. I mean, it obviously did, because it had a box office return, but I just don’t remember seeing it. Then again, after the debacle of the last movie, I doubt I would have gone to see this in theaters anyways. However, the fact that I never saw it in theater didn’t make a difference as I would wind up seeing bits and pieces of it on TV over the years before I wound up buying it on DVD. So let’s see how good of a movie it is in it’s entirety as I watch today’s movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.

The plot In 1603 Japan, 4 samurai are chasing after Prince Kenshin and when they corner him in the woods, the samurai demand he come back to the palace. Kenshin refuses and attempts to fight his way free but the samurai disarm him and take him back to the palace, unaware that a young woman was watching them. In the present day, the Turtles are practicing in their lair but after a while, Raphael throws a sai into the radio and questions why they are still training, as the Foot is defeated and nobody knows they are down there. As he storms off to sulk, April shows up with some presents for the guys before she heads off on her vacation. After handing the Turtles their gifts, April starts unwrapping her gift to Splinter, a strange antique Japanese scepter. Back in ancient Japan, Kenshin is scolded by his father, Lord Norinaga, and when Norinaga moves to kill Kenshin for insulting him, he is stopped by the appearance of Walker, a British merchant who has brought more men and weapons to aid Norinaga in his war. Kenshin is dismissed to the temple to reflect and after chasing out the scholars, he sees a scroll, depicting the Turtles, which he calls “Kappa”. He then sees the scepter and reads the inscription printed on it, “Open wide the gates of time”, and the scepter begins to light up. In the present, the scepter April is holding begins to light up and as the Turtles watch, she is enveloped in electricity and disappears, only to be replaced by Kenshin, wearing April’s clothes. Meanwhile, April finds herself in ancient Japan, where she is captured by Norinaga’s guards. April is brought before Norinaga, who believes that she is a witch that spirited Kenshin away. After they destroy April’s walkman, Walker approaches April to serve as a translator and April tries to bluff her way out but Walker sees through it and tells Norinaga she should be killed. Norinaga decides to imprison her instead and while there, another prisoner, Whit, is brought in, who April thinks looks like Casey Jones. In the present, Kenshin faints after seeing Splinter and the Turtles and when he revives, they are able to figure out what happened. The Turtles make plans to go back in time to rescue April, enlisting Casey to help Splinter watch over Kenshin and whoever shows up in their place. When the Turtles use the scepter to travel back in time, they are replaced by Norinaga’s honor guard, not the priests they expected, and Splinter is able to calm the guards and Kenshin down so they don’t start fighting. In the past, the Turtles find themselves in a battle, during which Michelangelo gets separated from the others and is knocked out by Mitsu, the woman who had watched Kenshin being captured, and she has her rebel forces carry him away. The other Turtles head back to Norinaga’s castle, and try to hide when Norinaga summons them. Meanwhile, Walker and Norinaga are discussing whether Norinaga needs Walker’s guns and after Norinaga leaves, Walker sends his assistant Niles to fetch April. Niles and two men head to the prison, encountering Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello along the way, and the Turtles follow after him and manage to free April. When Norinaga’s guards show up and begin attacking them, April frees Whit, who shows her a way out through a drainage tunnel and they make their escape. April and the Turtles go looking for Michelangelo when they are suddenly attacked by Mitsu and the rebel forces. Whit ends up saving April and when Mitsu attempts to shoot them with an arrow, Raphael throws a sai at her and breaks her bow. Mitsu calls off the attack and when Donatello and Leonardo take off their helmets, Mitsu says they look like the other one, and the Turtles realize she knows where Michelangelo is. Mitsu and her forces lead the Turtles, April, and Whit towards their village where Michelangelo is being kept but they find it under attack by Walker and his men, who are looking for the scepter. Michelangelo is set free and encounters Walker, who approaches him and prepares to shoot him but the Turtles manage to save him and Walker is driven out of the village. When a young boy named Yoshi is trapped in a burning house, Michelangelo risks his life to grab him and Leonardo performs CPR to save his life, causing the villagers to befriend the Turtles. With the scepter missing, the Turtles try to figure out another way to get home, with Donatello having a blacksmith fashion a new scepter. Meanwhile, Raphael starts to bond with Yoshi while Michelangelo develops feelings for Mitsu. At the palace, Walker describes the Turtles to Norinaga, who shows him the scroll with 4 Kappa that resemble the Turtles, and he decides to purchase Walker’s guns and cannons. A spy for Mitsu informs her of this and she tells the Turtles that they will attack the village in the morning. Raphael goes to comfort Yoshi, who doesn’t want Raphael to die so he gives him the scepter, which was hidden under the house. Raphael calls out for the others and when they see the scepter, Raphael realizes that Mitsu made sure to hide it so they would be forced to stay and fight, and Michelangelo questions if it is true but Mitsu leaves without answering. As the Turtles and April prepare to use the scepter to leave, they hear a commotion outside and see that Whit has grabbed Mitsu and is holding a knife to her throat. Whit demands they hand over the scepter, which the Turtles reluctantly do, and then rides off with Mitsu, telling them to being Kenshin to the temple. At the palace, Walker brings Mitsu to face Norinaga, who demands she tell him where Kenshin is but she tells him that he is on a magic journey and only the scepter can bring him back, which Walker now has. Walker has Mitsu placed in the prison as April shows up at the palace and heads towards Walker and Whit, yelling at Whit for betraying them. However, April was meant as a distraction, as the Turtles head up the drainage ditch into the prison and free Mitsu and the other rebels. They then begin fighting with Norinaga’s guards and, after being joined by the rest of the rebels, they are able to capture Norinaga. Suddenly, Walker appears with April as his hostage while his men show up with their guns and the order the rebels to surrender. Walker then tells his men to shoot the Turtles but Leonardo dares him to do it himself so Walker decides to use a cannon but misses when Leonardo ducks into his shell. Walker runs away and the rest of his men are quickly chased off by the rebels. Walker grabs the scepter, and his pet bird, and tries to escape from the Turtles, throwing the scepter away to aid in his escape. Michelangelo manages to catch the scepter while Whit fires a catapult at Walker, knocking him off the castle wall where he falls to his death in the water’s below. Later, April and Donatello are ready to use the scepter to leave but Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo are hesitant to leave ancient Japan. April manages to convince Raphael and Leonardo, while Mitsu says that Michelangelo promised to bring Kenshin back. In the present, Kenshin grows impatient and decides to use the scepter to head back to the past, with Splinter managing to convince him to take the honor guard with him. In the past, Michelangelo is saying goodbye to Mitsu and races to join the others but they disappear before he can reach them. In the present, April, Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello arrive back in the lair and realize that Michelangelo did not make it, while the honor guard that is still there has the scepter and runs off. April and the others give chase but as the guard exits the lair, lightning envelopes him and Michelangelo appears, climbing back down the ladder to the lair. In the past, Kenshin approaches Mitsu just as Norinaga is escorted towards them. Kenshin hands Mitsu the scepter, who gives it to Norinaga, and after he heads into the temple with it, Kenshin approaches Mitsu and kisses her. In the present, Michelangelo is depressed over leaving Mitsu and the past but Splinter and the other Turtles cheer him up.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III met with poor results from the critics, holding a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, ” It’s a case of one sequel too many for the heroes in a half shell, with a tired time-travel plot gimmick failing to save the franchise from rapidly diminishing returns.” A fourth movie was planned called The Next Mutation where the Turtles would undergo a secondary mutation, as well as a 5th Turtle being introduced, but the movie ended up being scrapped but the idea was used in a live action TV series produced by Saban. The movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $42.2 million off of a $21 million budget.

The sequels just keep deteriorating in quality every time. This movie was definitely not good and probably would have been better suited as a direct-to-video rather than a theatrical release, regardless on if it did earn a profit. The acting was honestly weak, and even the voice actors just didn’t seem really enthusiastic over being in this movie. The story was boring, trying to revitalize the series some by adding a time travel twist but it just felt lame and kind of fell flat on it’s face. The fight scenes were not that impressive while the suits themselves, due to being created by a different company, looked different, and not necessarily in a good way. They honestly should have quit while they were behind and skipped this movie cause it really isn’t worth watching.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, comedy, movie, movie review, superhero

January 27th, 2018 Movie – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

teenage mutant ninja turtles

Cowabunga dudes. Honestly, was there a more popular cartoon in the late 80’s than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I know that my younger brothers certainly loved it, and they had the toys to prove it. However, everyone’s favorite quartet of reptilian ninjas got there start in comics before they ever hit the small screen. I honestly never read the comics and only got my introduction through the cartoon but when I heard that a movie was being made, I was excited to see it. So let’s get a dose of Turtle Power with today’s movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990).

The plot: In New York City, Channel 3 reporter April O’Neil is doing a news story about the recent rise in criminal activity, and how they seem to be organized into one single gang. As she walks home that night, April is assaulted by a group of punks who try to rob her. Suddenly, a sai goes flying into the street light, plunging the alley into darkness and when the police show up, they find April is unharmed while the punks are tied up. As the cops cut the punks free and take them into custody, April notices the sai on the ground and quickly grabs it, unaware that someone is watching her from the sewers. In the sewers, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello, three humanoid turtles, are celebrating their victory over the punks but the 4th turtle, Raphael, is upset over losing his sai. When they return to their lair, they tell their master, a humanoid rat named Splinter, about their victory and he congratulates them on remaining unseen, as he has been teaching them the art of ninjitsu. Feeling down over the lost sai, Raphael decides to go see a movie and as he leaves the theater, he stops two kids from stealing a purse. The would-be purse snatchers run into the park, where they are confronted by a vigilante named Casey Jones, who begins to attack them with a hockey stick. Raphael stops Casey from seriously injuring them and the two begin fighting briefly before Casey knocks Rapahel into a trash can and runs off. The next day, April’s boss, Charles Pennington, shows up to check on her and as they are talking, he comments about his son Danny’s recent behavior, unaware that Danny is part of the criminal gang and swipes some money from April’s billfold when they aren’t looking. April goes to interview police chief Sterns about the gang and asks about the involvement of a criminal organization known as the Foot Clan, which angers Stern. As April is conducting her interview, a shadowed figure is watching her report and tells his men to go silence her. After leaving the interview, April heads down to the subway, where she is confronted by members of the Foot Clan. April tries to defend herself with the sai but the knock it away and knock her unconscious. Raphael, who was following April, grabs his sai and attacks the Foot Clan, then grabs the unconscious April and carries her down the subway tunnel, unaware that a member of the Foot Clan is following him and learns where their lair is. Inside the lair, Raphael explains to Splinter and the others why he brought April there and when April regains consciousness, she screams out at the sight of Splinter and the Turtles. Splinter tries to calm April down and after she sits down, he explains how they came to be. Splinter tells April how he was the pet rat of a ninja master named Hamato Yoshi and shortly after coming to America, Splinter found himself living in the sewers scavenging for food. One day, he found 4 baby turtles crawling around in a strange, glowing ooze and he scooped them up into a coffee can but the next day, the turtles started growing and becoming more human, as did Splinter. Splinter then decided to train them in ninjitsu, as he had mimicked Yoshi’s movements from his cage over the years, and decided to give them names. Later, the Turtles escort April back to her apartment, where she offers them some frozen pizza for dinner. When the Turtles return to the lair, they find the door broken open and quickly head inside to find that the lair is trashed and Splinter is missing. The Turtles return to April’s apartment and after telling her what happened, she lets them crash there for the night. The next morning, the Turtles are forced to hise when Charles stops by April’s apartment with Danny, having picked him up from the police station for stealing. Charles tries to talk April out of continuing with the story and while they argue, Danny sees Michelangelo in a mirror but when he turns around, Michelangelo is gone. After Charles and Danny leave, Charles starts to lecture Danny about stealing but when they are stopped in traffic, Danny quickly gets out of the car and runs away. That night, at the warehouse that serves as the hangout for the teenage criminal gang, as well as the training center for the Foot Clan, the leader of the Foot Clan, a man known as Shredder, addresses the assembled ninjas and teenagers. After promoting one of the teenagers into the Foot Clan, he tells them to let him know if they see or hear anything about the Turtles and Danny comes forward with information. The next day, April does an interview talking about the Foot Clan, which causes Sterns to call and yell at Charles. The Turtles are watching the interview and afterwards, Leonardo and Raphael argue over what there next move should be. Raphael goes onto the roof to blow off some steam, where he is seen by Casey from a nearby rooftop, when some Foot ninjas appear and begin to attack him. Meanwhile, April returns to the apartment and gives the other Turtles a tour of the antique store that she lives over. When they get back to the apartment, they are shocked to see Raphael come crashing down through the skylight, with several Foot ninjas following after him. The Turtles begin fighting with the Foot, with the floor giving way underneath them and they end up in the antique store. When Tatsu, Shredder’s lieutenant, arrives with more Foot ninjas, the Turtles find themselves becoming overwhelmed but are saved when Casey shows up and begins helping them. During the fight, a fire breaks out and April has Leonardo help her uncover a trap door to the basement garage and the Turtles start making their way out of the store. Casey covers their escape just as the April’s answering machine picks up and he hears Charles calling to tell April that she is fired. The group escape in April’s van and make their way to her family’s old farm. Meanwhile, Shredder questions a captive Splinter about where he and the Turtles came from. After he leaves, Danny approaches Splinter and Splinter starts talking to him, sensing the boys’ uneasiness over what he had caused. At the farm house, Donatello and Casey work on getting an old truck running, as April’s van is no longer working. Leonardo keeps a vigil over Raphael and when he finally regains consciousness, the two make up for the fight they had. With Raphael now awake, the Turtles begin training again so they can fight the Foot and find Splinter and while he is meditating, Leonardo is able to make contact with Splinter. Rushing back to the farm house to tell the others, Leonardo has them head out into the woods and as the meditate around a campfire, they are able to summon an astral projection of Splinter, who congratulates them on achieving this final lesson and tells them that if they work together as a family, then nobody can defeat them. The next morning, the Turtles tell April and Casey that it is time to head back and they make their way back to the city. Heading down to their lair, they find Danny hiding down there, and he tells April that he ran away and not to tell his father. That night, Danny sneaks out of the lair and returns to the Foot hideout but Casey, who was sleeping in the truck due to his claustrophobia, sees him and follows him there. Inside the hideout, Danny approaches Splinter, who comments about Danny’s hiding from his surrogate family and begins telling him about his family. In Japan, Splinter was the pet of Hamato Yoshi, whose only rival in ninjitsu was Oroku Saki. The two competed against each other in everything, especially for the love of a woman named Tang Shen. Not wanting to see them fight over her, Tang Shen decided to run away to America with Yoshi but Oroku Saki followed them and killed both Tang Shen and Yoshi. During the fight, Splinter’s cage was broken and he leapt onto Saki and begin bighting and scratching his face but Saki threw him to the ground and sliced off part of his ear before leaving. Danny asks what happened to Saki and Splinter says he doesn’t know but his mark is on the headband that Danny wears. Danny is confronted by Shredder, who finds a picture that April drew of Leonardo in Danny’s back pocket and realizes that the Turtles are back. Shredder sends the Foot to deal with the Turtles and then tells Tatsu to kill Splinter. Danny hears this and tries to go free Splinter when he is grabbed by Casey, who is disguised as one of the Foot ninjas, and Danny tells him about Splinter and they rush to free him. The unchain Splinter but are confronted by Tatsu, who proceeds to beat up Casey but Casey manages to grab a golf club and uses it to beat Tatsu. Afterwards, the gang of kids want to attack Casey, saying that they are loyal to Shredder, but Splinter says that the Shredder is simply using them and doesn’t really care about them as Casey and Danny help him leave. Meanwhile, the Foot head down to the Turtles lair but the Turtles set a trap and easily defeat the first wave of ninjas. As more ninjas start to show up, the Turtles continue fighting them and eventually manage to beat them all, with the fight making it’s way out of the sewer and onto a rooftop. On the roof, the Turtles are confronted by Shredder, who easily outmatches them, though Leonardo is able to slice his arm during the fight. As the Turtles fight shredder, Casey, Danny, and Splinter show up on the street below, with the gang following behind him, and Casey takes out some of the straggler Foot ninjas. On the roof, the Turtles ask Shredder where Splinter is and he mocks them by saying he is dead, causing Leonardo to rush at him in anger. Shredder easily disarms Leonardo and holds his spear at his throat, telling the others to drop their weapons or else he will kill Leonardo. When they do so, Shredder calls them fools and goes to kill Leonardo but stops when Splinter appears. Splinter calls out Shredder by his real name, Oroku Saki, and Saki takes off his face mask to reveal the scars that Splinter gave him. Saki charges at Splinter, who uses one of Michelangelo’s nunchucks to snare the spear and flip him over the roof. As Shredder is dangling over the roof, he attempts to throw a knife at Splinter but Splinter catches it, causing him to let go of part of the nunchucks. Shredder falls into the dump truck that Casey had moved earlier and Casey pulls the lever activating the compactor, crushing Shredder inside. The police show up and question the gang about what is going on and the leader tells him to check out the warehouse, saying that he will get all his answers there. Meanwhile, Charles shows up with a news crew and Danny races up to him and apologizes for his actions. After making up with Danny, Charles approaches April and convinces her to come back to work, with the offer of a raise and a corner office as incentive. As April gets ready to go on the air, Casey approaches her and they two end up kissing, with the Turtles cheering them on from the rooftop before they start cheering their victory over the Foot.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) met with mixed to negative results from the critics, holding a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is exactly as advertised: one-liners, brawls, and general silliness. Good for the young at heart, irritating for everyone else.” Robin Williams is a fan of the franchise and gave Judith Hoag information on her character through his comic book collection, as the movie went into production while they were finishing working on Cadillac Man. The movie was a box office smash, earning $202 million off of a $13.5 million budget, making it the highest grossing independent film at the time and spawning 2 sequels.

To be honest, this movie didn’t age that well but it is still an entertaining movie to watch. The acting was pretty decent, with Judith Hoag and Elias Koteas doing good jobs as April and Casey. The story was pretty good, following more along the lines with the version of the Turtles from the comics, which had a darker tone than the cartoon, but the studio added some humor into the movie to make it fit more with how the kids viewed the cartoon. The suits the Turtles actually looked pretty good (which isn’t too surprising since they were done by Jim Henson’s workshop) and I also liked the look of Splinter, which made the fact that this was a low budget movie that much more impressive. I also liked the fight choreography, which was pretty good during the scenes with the Foot ninjas, but not as impressive during the fight with Shredder. All told, this is still a fun movie and does bring back some nostalgia when you watch it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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August 30th, 2017 Movie – Shooter

shooter

Once again, I find myself watching a movie that is based off of a book that I never read. I remember seeing the trailers for this movie and thinking it was just another generic action movie. At some point I got bored and ended up getting a used copy of it as a spur of the moment purchase. So I ended up watching it and almost immediately afterwards, decided to buy the book that the movie was based on just to compare the two. As is usually the case, I liked the book better than the movie but you can judge for yourself as I watch today’s movie, Shooter.

The plot: On a mission in Africa in a country they are not supposed to be in, Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger and his spotter Donnie Fenn are keeping watch over a US team as they head back to Ethiopia, taking out a military patrol vehicle when as it approaches them. When a second, larger force is spotted chasing after the US team, Swagger begins shooting at them, taking out several of the men/drivers and forcing the enemy force to focus on trying to attack them, rather than chasing after the other soldiers. They call in what is happening but the base in Ethiopia shuts down the channel, as the base commander deems them expendable. When a helicopter shows up to help the opposing forces, Donnie is killed but Swagger uses a CheyTac Intervention to take out the helicopter. 3 years later, Swagger is living in a self-imposed exile in the Wind River Range portion of the Rockies in Wyoming with only his dog as company when he is approached by Colonel Isaac Johnson. Swagger is dismissive and tells them to leave but after Johnson shows him his Congressional Medal of Honor, he convinces Swagger to give him 5 minutes to talk. Inside Swagger’s home, Johnson tells him that he needs Swagger to plan a presidential assassination, explaining that the received intel on a possible assassination attempt that will occur in one of three cities and they want Swagger’s help in preventing it. Bob tells them he won’t do it and takes a picture of their vehicle’s license plate to check their identity. After the seeing if the shot that Johnson talked about was possible, Swagger decides to help out and after going to the three cities given to him, tells Johnson that Philadelphia is the likely location. Johnson convinces Swagger to help him in spotting the possible sniper’s location and they head to Philadelphia, where the arch bishop of Ethiopia is giving the President a medal. As the President arrives, local police officer Stanley Timmons arrives at Johnson’s command post and introduces himself to Swagger, who comments about Timmons’ holster being unsnapped. When the President gets up to the podium to speak, Swagger tells them the sniper is loaded and about to fire so they should take him out now but as he turns to face Johnson, Timmons shoots Swagger. At the same time, the sniper fires but hits the arch bishop, not the President, causing a panic at the scene. Swagger falls out of the window and manages to escape, while Jack Payne, one of Johnson’s men, berates Timmons for missing him. The injured Swagger makes his way to the street, where he encounters FBI Agent Nick Memphis. Memphis draws his gun on Swagger but Swagger manages to disarm him and after telling Memphis he didn’t shoot the President, he restrains Memphis then takes his gun and car. As Timmons calls in a manhunt on Swagger, Swagger ducks into a car wash to try and stall being detected while he works on stopping the bleeding from his injuries. When the reports come in on his location, Swagger attempts to escape and after a collision with a truck, crashes into the river. Divers are called in and find the car but there is no sign of Swagger, who holds onto a rope on the side of a barge to get out of the manhunt zone and get ashore on the other side of the river, where he steals a truck and drives out of the city. After stopping in a small town, Swagger knocks out the power to a local shop so that he can buy some supplies and not get caught. After buying the supplies, he sneaks into a auto garage and uses the supplies as a makeshift field medical kit, then does his best to patch himself up in order to stay alive. Meanwhile, Agent Memphis is demoted by his superior for “embarrassing the agency” and placed in the tipline call center. When he receives a call from the clerk about what Swagger bought, he tries to tell another agent but the are dismissive of his theory. Swagger makes his way to Kentucky and pays a visit to Donnie’s widow, Sarah, to ask for her help. Though she is reluctant at first, Sarah agrees to help Swagger, who had gone there thinking she was a nurse but learns she had given up on that idea after Donnie died. Back in Philadelphia, Memphis is talking with fellow agent Alourdes Galindo and telling her his suspicions about Swagger’s guilt and says he wants to speak with Timmons, as he doesn’t believe his story, but Galindo tells him that Timmons was killed by a mugger. As Memphis continues to investigate, he checks out the church and notices some holes in the floor, which he learns were from a tripod mounted remote controlled sniper weapons system. Back in Kentucky, Sarah performs the necessary surgery on Swagger to remove the bullets and then agrees to help him in his plan to flush out Johnson. Sarah goes to Philadelphia with Swagger and he tells her to meet with Memphis and hand him the photos of the plate and VIN number for Johnson’s car. Swagger is watching their meeting but as Memphis leaves, Swagger is approached by two cops and forced to incapacitate them and escape. Memphis begins looking into the information that Sarah gave him and, with Galindo’s help, learns that they are connected to some high end military contractors but as Galindo is telling Memphis this, he ends up being kidnapped by a team of contractors. They torture him for information, then attach a device to his arm to make him shoot himself but Swagger rescues Memphis and after the two talk, Memphis agrees to help Swagger. They travel to Athens, TN to speak with a gun expert and ask him how to fire a bullet from one rifle and make it match the grooves from a different one. He then asks if anyone else could have taken the shot and the expert tells him of one other man, Michael Sandor, and Swagger realizes that he met the man. Memphis calls Galindo to ask for her help in tracking down Sander, just as Johnson decides to draw Swagger and Memphis out by offering him up. Johnson then meets with Senator Charles F. Meachum, who is in on Johnson’s operation, and Meachum tells him to make sure Swagger is killed so Johnson has Payne go and grab Sarah as insurance. When Galindo gives Memphis Sandor’s location, Swagger and Memphis go buy some supplies to make some homemade explosives, then Swagger gives Memphis a crash course in being a sniper/spotter. They head to Sandor’s house, and Swagger makes his way inside, taking out the guards along the way. When he finds Sandor and questions him, Sandor tells him about how military contractors had killed a village in Africa for the purpose of allowing an oil pipeline to go through it, then buried the bodies under a pumping station. He then informs Swagger that he was assigned to cover their escape but he wasn’t supposed to survive. Outside, a team arrives to kill Swagger and Memphis warns him while inside, Sandor tells Swagger that Johnson has Sarah before he kills himself. Swagger tells Memphis to get to a pre-arranged position and start detonating the explosives as Swagger shoots his way out of the house and the two manage to kill the team sent after them. Memphis calls the FBI to tell them he has Swagger in custody but that he can’t bring him in just yet. As soon as he hangs up, Swagger receives a call from Johnson, who had been listening in on the phone call and they arrange to meet, with Johnson agreeing to bring Meachum to the meeting and Swagger will give him the recording of Sandor’s confession in exchange for Sarah. Johnson, Payne, Sarah, and Meachum arrive on the mountain and they see a figure approaching when the figure is shot. Suddenly, a second shot rings out as Swagger kills the sniper, then kills two more counter snipers, while the figure, revealed to be Memphis, continues up to the mountain and removes the metal plate that protected him from being killed. As Payne yells out that Swagger can’t shoot him without risking his shooting Sarah, Swagger shoots the shotgun from his hand, then shoots his arm off. Swagger then approaches the group and after having Memphis disarm Meachum and Johnson, Sarah grabs Meachum’s gun and kills Payne. Swagger and Meachum then talk and as the FBI approaches, due to Memphis telling them where they would be, Swagger burns the recording, as if it was still out there then he, Sarah, and Memphis would be killed over it. Swagger is taken into custody and brought before a meeting with the Attorney General, Memphis, Memphis’ superior, and Johnson. Swagger admits that the gun the FBI found was his but after he places a bullet in it and shows that it won’t fire, he explains that he swapped the firing pin in all of his guns before he left, making it so that none of them would fire if stolen. Memphis then shows the Attorney General images from the file of the mass grave, but the Attorney General says that since the crimes occurred in another country, he had no jurisdiction over the matter and Johnson walks out of the room. The Attorney General approaches Swagger and speaks with him briefly before telling him he is free to go and orders him released. Some time later, Meachum and Johnson are talking in Meachum’s hunting cabin when Swagger kills them and causes the cabin to explode. Swagger then makes his way down the mountain, where Sarah is waiting in a car, and they drive off together.

Shooter received mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With an implausible story and numerous plot holes, Shooter fails to distinguish itself from other mindless action-thrillers.” The scene where Swagger shoots a counter-sniper through the rifle scope and hits him in the head is based on an infamous kill by U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, who killed a counter-sniper in Vietnam by shooting him through the scope and hitting him in the eye. Shooter was a modest hit at the box office, earning $95.7 million off of a $61 million budget and years later, would spawn a TV show based off of the movie.

I still think the book was better than the movie, but this was a decent movie in itself, despite the general feeling of being a generic action flick. The acting was good, with Mark Wahlberg (Swagger) and Michael Pena (Memphis) doing great in their roles and showed great chemistry acting off of each other. I also thought that Danny Glover (Johnson), Ned Beatty (Meachum), and Elias Koteas (Payne) did a great job in their roles. The plot was a pretty good thriller, feeling a little bit like The Fugitive in the whole innocent man trying to prove his innocence, just with more guns involved. The aspect of Swagger finding out that he unknowingly helped cover for black ops contractors doing something illegal added more motivation to his actions and helped give a better sense of purpose to his wanting to prove his innocence. The special effects in the gun fights were good for the most part, though in some cases they were toned down according to the sniper expert involved in the film. It is fairly generic movie but good enough to keep you entertained if you want to give it a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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