Mark Whalberg plays the role of Bob Lee Swagger, a former military sniper who quit the army following a disastrous mission where his best friend and spotter is killed when they are left behind. Three years later he is hired by a Colonel (played with gusto by Danny Glover) to figure out how a suspected assassin is going to attempt to kill the President from over a mile away, a shot that few could make. Swagger figures out how it is going to be done and is asked to supervise locating the sniper on site. But on the day of the supposed assassination, Swagger is set up with the assassination attempt that kills a visiting diplomat. Swagger is then left on the hunt while trying to prove his innocence.
Shooter twists and turns with an elaborate conspiracy that is very convincing, though of course the writers wimp out and take the cheap road of drawing international oil into the plot (can't writers think of an original plot device?). However, this is hardly a drawback since the rest of the film is solid as a rock. The film really puts you into the shoes of a sniper and gives an impressive overview of the mindset that it takes to be as accurate as someone of the character of Swagger.
The only real distractions in the film would be Elias Koteas, whose psycho performance is heavy-handed and does not fit the film, and Kate Mara who has little to do throughout the film but appear upset or in distress. The film could have done without either characters or their respective actors. As well, some of the character relations seem forced at time, particularly in the relationship between Michael Peña's character of Nick Memphis and his FBI confidante Lourdes, played by Rhona Mitra. Their almost effortless camaraderie comes off as less than convincing.
Overall, Shooter certainly delivers as an entertaining thrill-ride that is certainly not dumbed down in the least. If you want an intelligent action film with lots of impressive gun play and several elaborate, thrilling action sequences to boot, Shooter is right up your alley and will not disappoint. 7.6 out of 10