Sunday, July 15, 2007

REVIEW: Shooter (movie) Point of Impact (book)

First off the book is a genuine 5 star effort by Stephen Hunter. Everyone I have talked to who read the book just loves Bob the Nailer. Bobby Lee Swagger is an ex-military sniper who was the best in the game. Wounded and destined for a life in pain he retreats to the hills to live quietly and alone but for a loyal dog and his arsenal of guns. When a secret quasi-government agency employs a profiler to find the right man for a set-up of epic proportion Swagger unwittingly takes the bait.

"Point of Impact" is a gripping page turner with a great sense of pacing and just enough (relevant) plot lines to keep it interesting without burdening the reader with fluff and filler.

I didn't get the sense that the author was trying to make any deep personal political statements via the hero, Bobby Lee Swagger. Using a tried and true plot point of the secret out of control entity tied to the shadow government as the primary villain was just good fun. In fact, it is one of the rare novels with which I haven't any quibbles - at all. It comes highly recommended by yours truly and hundreds of reviewers at where it received a unequivocal 5 star rating!

The movie version, which was renamed "Shooter" (probably as not to confuse audiences with a title that could be construed as a Steven Segal flick) gets an A for effort and a D for execution. The screenplay tried valiantly to touch on the most important plot points. Unfortunately the movie failed more often than not to convey the true nature of Bob the Nailer, and frankly, all the other characters too. Wahlberg is a decent enough actor but was badly miscast - or simply failed to capture the calm and grace of Swagger as written in the book. Danny Glover, who stinks in anything without Mel Gibson, was just terrible as the principal antagonist.

This movie deserved to be a long 3 hour epic instead of the typical bang, bang action thriller. This is not to say the novel wasn't an action thriller, it was. But it was anything but typical.

If you don't read the book and see this movie please don't let that convince you that Bob the Nailer is just another action hero. Swagger is a complex character who could have been a bitter man, but never lost the sense of his place in the big picture when he chose to simply fade away. The one thing you should take away from the movie and the book is that you don't want to mess with a man like Bob the Nailer!