Audiences will likely roll their eyes at the poster or advertisement for “The Marksman,” as Liam Neeson’s brand has been tainted by his growing resume of formulated action films such as “The Commuter,” “Non-Stop,” and “Cold Pursuit.”
Neeson stars as Jim Hanson, an Arizona rancher, mourning the loss of his wife to cancer, trying to climb out of debt as illegal aliens race across his land from Mexico and coyotes attack his cattle.
The Mexican cartel murders Carlos, a man who stole from the thugs, and threaten his sister and nephew. Carlos manages a phone call to warn them to escape and the boy, Miguel (Jacob Perez) races in front of Jim at the border, stalling their cross into America, allowing the cartel gang members to attack, killing Miguel’s mom. Jim killed one of the men, whose brother vows vengeance.
Jim attempts to protect Miguel from the cartel assassins, led by Maurico (Juan Pablo Raba), taking no prisoners.
Neeson’s Jim is a patriotic Marine, frustrated at immigration laws and happy to teach Miguel how to shoot properly. That said, “The Marksman” never gets preachy or really political, but outrage from activists would be understandable.
The father-son relationship is never forced as Jim feels taking Miguel safely to his family would be a form of redemption and meaning. Jim doesn’t kick his alcoholism with some weepy, dramatic crying scene, but just doesn’t buy the bottle and purchases a snack for the kid.
Sometimes simplistic is more genuine than the typical Hollywood tropes.
“The Marksman” is cliché and predictable, but the journey is entertaining and enjoyable. The audience will be quick to see this as a “Cowboy film,” but this is more stoic Clint Eastwood in front of the camera.
“The Marksman” gets 5 out of 10 stars