Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The movie's politics may miss their mark, but its thrills are dead-on.
For years Wahlberg has been turning into a real actor, and if he ever gets the action hero role he deserves, we'll let you know.
New York Times:
Muscles bulge and heads explode in this thoroughly reprehensible, satisfyingly violent entertainment about men and guns and things that go boom.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
This is the first big-studio action picture (the director is Antoine Fuqua) with some of the disgusted, bloody nihilism of the post-Vietnam era.
J. R. Jones,
The story is often ridiculous, but director Antoine Fuqua provides plenty of fun distractions, including an evil Russian in a wheelchair, a conniving U.S. senator, and a heroine who favors tank tops.
Wall Street Journal:
Shooter's covert intent could have been satire. Overtly, though, it's definitely about shooting, betrayal and shooting. In that order.
Mark Wahlberg will only get props for balancing out the utter implausibility of [Antoine] Fuqua's new crash-boom conspiracy melodrama Shooter.
As the body count increases, the kills become so gratuitous that the effect is numbing, like watching a line of metal ducks get pinged at the state fair.
Begins with a semblance of rationality, then flies off the rails, plunging into a series of bloody shootouts and pointless explosions.
Los Angeles Times:
Shooter is executed with such efficiency and energy by action maestro Antoine Fuqua that ignoring flaws and becoming involved in the proceedings isn't a matter of choice.
A sleek, scattershot and vigorously incoherent vigilante flick that assumes the high ground just long enough to slay every corrupt dirt-ball in its path.
Shooter boasts a likable hero and the possibility of a sequel, and Hollywood rarely asks for a more storybook ending than that.
The ultimate crime of this paranoid enemy-of-the-state pulp, directed with more style than brains by Antoine Fuqua, is how dull it is.
Detroit Free Press:
Director Antoine Fuqua and screenwriter Jonathan Lemkin have let a perfectly good political action thriller get completely and ridiculously away from them.
Dallas Morning News:
Director Antoine Fuqua knows how to stage and shoot scenes of violence and chaos so that they build without ever bubbling over into absurdity.
A generically titled studio action picture that turns out to be a surprisingly deft satire about Americans' loss of faith in their government following the 2000 election, the 9/11 attacks and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
San Jose Mercury News:
Shooter won't win any Oscars, but it has blood and brains, and even some heart. They're splattered all over the screen.
Shooter eventually gets in its own way by hitting things too hard, too loud and too long.
The engaging, fast-talking idiosyncrasy of [Wahlberg's] performance in The Departed has vanished.
New York Post:
Though the movie has some mild pretensions to rank with great paranoia films like Three Days of the Condor, mostly it's content to deliver Salisbury steak-and-mashed-potatoes action.
It features a gritty, macho performance by Mark Wahlberg, stinging political commentary and more 'Here's how you do that' moments than the complete MacGuyver collection on DVD.
A chase movie and a pretty crafty thriller, Shooter owes a lot to Sydney Pollack's Three Days of the Condor.
Even in a climate where the pervasive influence of 24 can be argued to have caused 'thriller fatigue,' Shooter is worth the price of admission.
Shooter is far more complicated than it needs to be, taking more crazy twists and turns than it should.
San Francisco Chronicle:
The crushing two-hour-plus running time and Tom Clancy-for-dummies plot sabotage the film, which becomes particularly ridiculous in the last 30 minutes.
Though much of the action in Shooter is beautifully photographed, the movie's force is as a blunt instrument of metaphor.
While it's fast-paced and often something of a nail-biter, Shooter doesn't really pay off, other than merely give us a lot of action, merely for action's sake.
Globe and Mail:
Like most modern action films, Shooter is too explicit, more interested in mayhem than motive.
It may not qualify as a masterpiece, yet is a masterful thriller nonetheless.
Shooter is an honorable rather than exceptional addition to the canon.
The film's weird, thin politics become harder to swallow as it lurches from set-up to set-up.
Ballistic fetishists and anticorporate activists will find common ground in each violent act against political fat cats, but the rest of us are left to wallow in the bloodlust and wonder who switched the reels.
Despite gripping chase sequences and a few awe-inspiring fiery explosions, gaping holes in the convoluted plot make Shooter heavier on style than substance.
Its skeptical, disillusioned take on big government and official deceptions should strike a vibrant chord with a wide range of audiences.
It's a story that can be transplanted from genre to genre, because we never grow tired of it, which is to say that it fits snugly into the paranoid drift of American movies, and the value we place on one honest man with a gun.