Film Review – THE MARKSMAN (2021)

THE MARKSMAN (2021, USA) ***
Action, Thriller
dist. Open Road Entertainment (USA), Shear Entertainment (UK); pr co. Cutting Edge Group / Raven Capital Management / Sculptor Media / Stonehouse Motion Pictures / UTA Independent Film Group / Voltage Pictures / Zero Gravity Management; d. Robert Lorenz; w. Chris Charles, Danny Kravitz, Robert Lorenz; pr. Tai Duncan, Eric Gold, Warren Goz, Robert Lorenz, Mark Williams; ph. Mark Patten (Colour. 2.39:1); m. Sean Callery; addl m. Jonas Friedman; ed. Luis Carballar; pd. Charisse Cardenas; ad. Gregory G. Sandoval; rel. 15 January 2021 (USA), 26 February 2021 (UK – internet); BBFC cert: 12; r/t. 108m.
cast: Liam Neeson (Jim), Katheryn Winnick (Sarah), Juan Pablo Raba (Mauricio), Teresa Ruiz (Rosa), Jacob Perez (Miguel), Dylan Kenin (Randall), Luce Rains (Everett), Sean A. Rosales (Hernando), Alfredo Quiroz (Carlos), Jose Vasquez (Isidro), Antonio Leyba (Rigo), Yediel Quiles (Jorge), Christian Hicks (Danny), Jose Mijangos (Emilio), Roger Jerome (Otto), Kellen Boyle (Dalton), Ann Barrett Richards (Bartender Clara), David DeLao (Coyote), Elias Gallegos (Agent), Rose Leininger (Waitress).
In this efficient but flawed action thriller, Neeson delivers a fine crusty performance as a rancher on the Arizona border who becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy desperately fleeing the cartel assassins who’ve pursued him into the U.S. Whilst the film has echoes of other, stronger movies and ultimately fails to fulfil its promise, it is still a serviceable vehicle for Neeson’s grizzled action hero persona. Here his character carries more baggage and has stronger motivation for his actions than in other recent similar vehicles. The script, however, fails to fully mature his character’s relationship with the boy and slips too often into conventional action set-pieces.