Director Robert Lorenz places Liam Nesson back in action in The Marksman from Open Road Entertainment. Hardened Arizona rancher and ex-Marine sharpshooter Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson) simply wants to be left alone and enjoy retirement. As he fends off, eviction notices and tries to make a living on an isolated stretch of a borderland. One day Hanson witnesses 11-year-old migrant Miguel (Jacob Perez) fleeing with his mother Rosa (Teresa Ruiz) from drug cartel assassins led by the ruthless Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba).
After being caught in a shoot-out, a dying Rosa begs Jim to safely take her son to her family in Chicago. Defying his cop stepdaughter Sarah (Katheryn Winnick), Jim sneaks Miguel out of the local U.S. Customs and Border Patrol station. And together, they hit the road with the group of killers in pursuit. Jim and Miguel slowly begin to overcome their differences and begin to forge an unlikely friendship. Simultaneously, Mauricio and his fellow assassins blaze a cold-blooded trail, hot on their heels. When they finally meet on a Midwestern farm, a fight to the death ensues as Jim uses his military skills and code of honor to defend the boy he’s come to love.
In 2008 Liam Nesson experienced a career resurgence as an action hero, beginning with the film Taken. The Irish actor had appearances in two big franchises (Star Wars & Batman) and voiceover work in another franchise (Chronicles of Narnia). However, Taken introduced the actor to a whole new generation of fans. Nesson has appeared in thirteen action films since then, possibly with the mindset if it’s isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Long known for producing Clint Eastwood movies, Robert Lorenz directs his second film. While also co-writing the script with Chris Charles & Danny Kravitz. Truth be told, if this were twenty years so, I could see Eastwood in the lead role, as the film would fit right in with Eastwood’s Gran Torino. The first thing that I want to point out is that if you are expecting a non-stop action film, you may be disappointed in The Marksman. On the one hand, Nesson is getting up in age, so he can’t always play a non-stop killing machine. However, when the action does occur, it’s okay. I do commend the directors and writers for showcasing Neeson’s age and why his character doesn’t want to get involved with Miguel.
The film’s strength is the budding relationship between Nesson and young actor Jacob Perez. They slowly begin to understand each other. The communication between the two allowed me to look past the mistakes that Nesson makes along the way, especially since he’s a retired Marine. I also found the supporting cast to be a bit underwritten, particularly Katheryn Winnick, who deserves better than what the script gives here. This sentiment also holds true for our antagonist Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba). He comes off as more of a stereotype than an actual villain.
Serving as Liam Neeson’s second action thriller in less than ninety days, The Marksmen a weaker entry in the actor’s catalog. While I did enjoy his chemistry with Jacob Perez in the end, The Marksman missed the action target for me personally.
Final Grade C-
The Marksmen opens on 1/15/2021