The Marksman (2021) movie review
The Marksman stars Liam Neeson as an Arizona rancher who ends up helping a young boy on the run from a Mexican cartel. While the film is yet to hit its wide release (according to IMDb that is), critics have called it a callback to slow-burn Clint Eastwood Westerns, for better or worse. Which I find ironic as director Robert Lorenz’s only directorial credit prior to this film is Trouble with the Curve (2012) starring Clint Eastwood.
To call The Marksman one of the ‘Old Man Liam Neeson action Movies’ would be unfair, but not the first time; 2014’s A Walk Among the Tombstones for example. However while the slower pacing and focus on characters over mindless action is welcome, The Marksman still suffers several key flaws that keep it from being as engaging as it could be. Most notably that this film has been made with cowboys, superheroes, samurai, bounty hunters, monster hunters, sicarios, soldiers, and many more.
Now the question becomes, could The Marksman succeed even with the formulaic story? I think so! For a while this film had a good thing going! The setup for both Liam Neeson’s worn out ex-Marine Jim is strong, as is the setup for Miguel, the boy Jim ends up protecting. On top of that, the relationship between the two characters, not to mention the chemistry that Liam Neeson and Jacob Perez have, is really good! So the narrative does end up as compelling as it needs to be to keep audience interest and then some!
Unfortunately the slow pacing doesn’t always work. While there is rarely a dull moment between Neeson and Perez, over a fourth of this film’s runtime is dedicated to the cartel pursuers, who simply aren’t interesting. Another fraction of the story goes to Jim’s daughter-in-law who works for Border Patrol, which honestly doesn’t go anywhere by the end of the film. And lastly, while I really loved the steady approach to the action sequences, there are some really poor choices when it comes to the execution of logic.
That said I don’t want to give anything away, as I was still pretty entertained throughout! The pacing hurts the film when it cuts to the boring cartel bad guys, but its still super interesting when its with Jim and Miguel. And the action, while minimal, took the high road and was almost consistently smart. Aside from that, there isn’t much else to dig in to. The score was really good, the film looked fine, and the editing, while a bit too conservative to fit the PG-13 rating, worked well enough. I for one had an okay time despite this film’s shortcomings. The Marksman is probably above par for Liam Neeson’s most recent action films thanks to the choice to emulate Eastwood Westerns, and if that sounds interesting to you, I’d suggest going to check it out! That said I could also see this as a solid Redbox rental night. 6/10.
So The Marksman? Did you see it? What did you think? And what is your favorite Liam Neeson action film from the last few years? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, be sure to let us know below what you’d like us to talk about next!
-review by Ryan Prince