The Marksman (2021) Review
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
THE 2010s were not the best for Liam Neeson. The Academy Award nominated actor hasn't been the leading man in critically-acclaimed films since 2011's The Grey as he continues to land typecast roles playing a disgruntled old man like Kevin Costner and Harrison Ford before him.
But 2021 is a new year, which means more opportunities for Neeson to branch out into wildly different roles. So does his latest feature film bring back the Neeson of old, or does it maintain his painstakingly boring status quo?
Recent widower Jim (Liam Neeson) spends most of his days tending to his farm located near the Mexico border in Arizona.
But when he encounters a mother and son attempting to flee the adjacent country, Jim finds himself protecting the young boy, Miguel (Jacob Perez), when he learns Mexican cartel assassins are chasing the child.
Philosophical storytelling can often be attributed to Occam's Razor, which states that "the simplest method is almost always the best."
This theory has been used in film time and time again, and while this simple story of an elderly man aiding a foreign child has worked in other movies such as 2017's Logan, The Marksman failed to infuse life into majority of the leading characters, especially Miguel, whom the entire plot revolves around.
Films such as Logan nailed the silent child protagonist cliché through subtle mannerisms and movements, giving the audience an opportunity to notice when they begin to like/dislike certain decisions made by their protector.
The Marksman attempted to shroud Miguel with mystery, but unfortunately jumped the gun by having him speak fluent English with little to no build-up after spending the hasty first act silent.
Prior to seeing The Marksman, I noticed the film was directed by Robert Lorenz, assistant director to the legendary Clint Eastwood, who in tern was responsible for critically-acclaimed films such as 2004's Million Dollar Baby and 2014's American Sniper.
Lorenz's directing style is incredibly similar to that of Eastwood's as he focuses on the flaws of the film's imperfect protagonist through faint drinking scenes which never felt forced, as well as showcasing lingering, beautiful shots of the American Outback.
The Marksman could have been a coming out party for the assistant director, but Robert Lorenz's solo feature is unfortunately brought down by predictable writing and sub-par acting - even by Liam Neeson - and while it isn't terrible, this Eastwood-inspired thriller missed the mark in all the ways that mattered.