There are only two things you need to tell someone that a movie is going to be pretty good. Liam and Neeson.
Even if you know that everything else is going to be meh, you can trust that he will at least bring a lot to the screen. Bring on The Marksman.
The movie starts with two tales.
One is of a retired army vet named Jim who lost his wife and now manages the ranch he owns on the border with Mexico. The ranch is going to be taken from him by the bank due to financial difficulties and the salt of the earth American doesn’t want to lose the home where his wife’s ashes were scattered.
The other tale is of a mother and son who have to flee Mexico to get away from a cartel who are hunting them for revenge.
These two tales collide when the family crosses the border onto Jim’s land, but are spotted by the cartel thugs. Jim and the cartel have a confrontation on opposite sides of the fence and a little action ensues. Before you know it Jim is trying to get the boy named Miguel to the safety of family in Chicago.
It couldn’t be that easy though, because of course the cartel is angry and hunting them down.
What we have here is by all means a reasonably generic story. It’s not bad by any means, but nothing stands out as overly unique. Fortunately some decent acting, and outstanding acting from Liam Neeson makes the movie a good watch.
We get some good character work with Miguel and Jim, and the main cartel member has some moments where it feels like we could have built a strong bad guys back story. A bit of exposition tries to build him as layered but there isn’t enough time to develop it.
The movie definitely has a low budget action flick feel to it, but not in a bad way. Practical effects are used well, though a little bit of meh CGI for steam coming out of an engine, and this makes the movie feel less low budget. Instead it relies on actors putting in a strong performance and that is enough to carry the flick.
Ultimately The Marksmen doesn’t offer anything overly new. What it provides is a decent action movie with a decent story, and an outstanding performance from Liam Neeson.
Do you know what? That is enough for me to comfortably justify checking it out. It’s not the next great classic, but it is what it is, and that is worth watching.