Skip to content

Review: The Marksman

April 2, 2021

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

In terms of Liam Neeson action movies, which have basically become a genre unto themselves, The Marksman is a pretty good one. I didn’t really expect to be saying that given the tepid reviews this one has been getting, but I’m glad I gave it a chance, because this mix of border crossing drama and suspense thriller is actually pretty engaging to watch.

Neeson stars as Jim Hanson, a rancher and Marine Corps veteran living in the border town of Naco, Arizona, who helps patrol the Mexican border fence along the edge of his property. When a young mother (Teresa Ruiz) and her son Miguel (Jacob Perez) cross the border into the United States, a violent shootout ensues between Jim and the cartel members they are fleeing.

The boy’s mother is killed, and he is put into custody at a migrant detention centre. With Miguel at risk of being deported back to Mexico, Jim takes it upon himself to fulfill his mother’s dying request and transport the boy to his family in Chicago. The two set out on a cross-country road trip together, all the while being pursued by a vicious gang of cartel members led by Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba), who is seeking vengeance against Miguel’s family.

Once the action kicks in, which isn’t long into the 107 minute running time, The Marksman never really lets up in terms of suspense. Yes, elements of the film are clichéd, and some will undoubtedly question the choice to make an action movie inspired by the very real, ongoing crisis at the Mexican border. But the film is also somewhat more restrained and grounded in its approach than I was expecting it to be.

This is a surprisingly lean and driven film that proves consistently engaging to watch as it goes along, with director Robert Lorenz, who also co-wrote the screenplay, doing a pretty good job of balancing elements of action movie and character drama. The result is a fairly straight-forward chase movie that also plays out with heightened emotional stakes, as a genuine sort of father-son bond starts to form between Jim and Miguel.

Neeson does a fine job of playing an older, more tired version of his usual action hero character, and his grizzled performance recalls one that Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford or Kevin Costner could have given at different stages of their careers. The young Perez is very good as well, holding his own in the quieter scenes alongside Neeson. Their performances keep us engaged, right through to the film’s bittersweet and surprisingly touching ending.

The Marksman is now playing in select Canadian theatres, where they are open. It’s being distributed in Canada by Elevation Pictures.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: