Time Out says
Tue Apr 10 2007It goes without saying that this is a difficult time to be a patriotic American with open eyes and a moral conscience, but few have it as bad as Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg). A former crack Marine sniper hung out to dry during an illegal mission in Ethiopia, he finds, three years on, that dark forces at the heart of government have got it in for him, personally. Lured from his sun-dappled Unabomber-style mountain retreat – where he bonds with his dog, bones up on 9/11 and services a colossal personal armoury – by a shady CIA colonel (Danny Glover) who insists he’s the only man able to foil a plot on the President’s life, Swagger soon finds himself the target of a massive manhunt, with only his late buddy’s girl (Kate Mara) and a discredited rookie Fed (Michael Peña) willing to give him the time of day.
‘In the Line of Fire’ meets ‘The Fugitive’, then, and for a while they get on rather well. Wahlberg is engaging, the script pacy and director Antoine Fuqua (‘Training Day’, ‘Tears of the Sun’) has a sure grasp of the best three angles from which to cover a high-speed car chase or slow-motion fireball, of which there’s no shortage. That the characters and dialogue are clichéd is no great surprise, but the film’s weird, thin politics become harder to swallow as it lurches from set-up to set-up: anti-establishment social righteousness marches in step with man-alone isolationism; self-serving militarism is lambasted while automatic weaponry is slobbered over; and limbs crack and heads pop all the while. It’s a funny kind of patriotism that so utterly disdains institutions.
Author: Ben Walters
Fri Apr 13, 2007