The Marksman

Neeson misses the mark

It’s always sad to see actors, even B-list ones like Bruce Willis, just give up on their careers and start phoning in generic B-movie performances for the paycheck. More so if the actor can actually act, like Liam Neeson.

I recently panned The Ice Road for its manufactured suspense, transparent plotting and general mediocrity. But in a so-bad-its-good way, it wasn’t boring. This next one, though, is a real snoozer.

In it, the big Irishman plays a hardened Arizona rancher whose land abuts Mexico. He occasionally acts as a volunteer spotter for the INS, which employs his former daughter-in-law. One day, for reasons not really explained, he makes it his mission to deliver a young illegal immigrant whose mother died at the border to his relatives in Chicago.

The pair’s inevitable en-route bonding is frequently interrupted by some hugely stereotyped cartel assassins with near-NSA-level tracking capabilities. They’re pissed because the kid’s mom apparently stole a small bag of cash from them. Or something. Now, I’m no expert in narco strategies, but I doubt this trifling stack of Benjamins would be worth any self-respecting cartel’s murderous while.

Yes, as the title would suggest, Liam’s a former Marine sniper, but that aspect is never really brought into play. And the ending sucks. (108 min)