Directed by: Robert Lorenz
Starring: Liam Neeson, Joe Perez, Juan Pablo Raba, Katheryn Winnick, Teresa Ruiz
Runtime: 108 Minutes
Rating: R (for violence, some bloody images and brief strong language.)
As I mentioned The Marksman the last few weeks and considering our options are low again, I decided to check it out. I’m sure most of you know Liam Neeson from the Taken series. As those films were rolling out, it began a renaissance of sorts for the actor. In The Grey he fought wolves (GREAT MOVIE.) He’s also fought on airplanes, in other countries, in different eras. You get the picture. Liam Neeson shows up, people get taken out. However other the years, my excitement for the next picture waned. Some were average, some were good, but most seemed cookie-cutter. Maybe this film will be better than them all?
Onto the film.
We open in Mexico and meet our young protagonist named Miguel (Joe Perez.) Immediately you take a liking to him, and his personality is shown in the first 5 minutes. We then meet Miguel’s mother Rosa (Ruiz) and her brother Carlos is on the run from the cartel. He tells them to leave, and we see him for a few minutes more captured. Then no more.
On the other side in Arizona we meet our much older protagonist Jim Hanson (Neeson) is a retired marine. He spends his days tracking and reporting illegal immigrants crossing the border. This situation sparked my interest because we don’t really see Neeson’s typical movies in which he’s torn with his decisions. We have a man who believes in not letting illegal immigration into our country, yet soon after we meet him he will be entrusted with helping Miguel to his extended family.
This one motive (what’s right and wrong) was one of the highlights of this film. You see throughout the journey has Miguel learns from Hanson, and vice versa. The child actor who plays Miguel (Perez) may be the best one on screen. Neeson holds his own, but Miguel truly steals scenes.
So getting back to the idea of a cookie-cutter plot. We have the Cartel ran by Maurico (Raba) hunting down the duo. Of course a chase ensues, and regardless of the great casting the plot falls flat. If you could guess various things to happen that you’ve seen in countless movies, they probably do in this one as well. We get the classic Liam Neeson shootouts, and a few scenes of humor between Hanson and Miguel.
I’ll admit I enjoyed this film, but I didn’t love it. In the beginning the thought of a man going against what he believes to project another intrigued me, but it seems to disappear soon after. That’s a shame. The shootouts and chase scenes looked good on screen, and I expected such, however the last act of the film felt lazy. Over-the-top to be over-the-top. If you’re a big Liam Neeson fan give it a watch, but go in expecting a touch better than his other films. This is one you will watch once, and never again. 2 ½ Stars out of 5
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper