The Marksman (2021)


Introduction

The Marksman is a 2021 American thriller film directed by Robert Lorenz. The plot follows a rancher and former US Marine (Liam Neeson), living in an Arizona border town, who must help a young boy (Jacob Perez) escape a Mexican drug cartel. Katheryn Winnick, Juan Pablo Raba, and Teresa Ruiz also star.

Outline

Former United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper and Vietnam War veteran Jim Hanson, a widower and drunkard lives along the Arizona-Mexico border, reporting attempted illegal crossings to the United States Border Patrol. One day, while on patrol, he encounters Rosa and her son Miguel, Mexican citizens on the run from the cartel.

Hanson calls border patrol on them before he sees the cartel coming up. He ends the call and gets involved in a shootout with the cartel led by Mauricio. Hanson shoots and kills Mauricio’s brother; Rosa is fatally wounded by one of the cartel members. Before she dies, she gives Hanson a note that lists her family’s address in Chicago. Hanson reluctantly agrees to take Miguel to her family in Chicago.

Border patrol show up after her death and take in Miguel. One of the cartel members comes in and claims that he’s a relative of Miguel. Hanson happens to see their car there and sneaks Miguel out to go to Chicago.

The cartel use fake passports to get into America to follow Hanson and Miguel. A corrupt border patrol officer sees their gang tattoos, recognizes that the passports are fake, and allows them in anyway.

After Hanson uses his credit card to repair his truck, Mauricio tracks the pair to Route 66 in Oklahoma. A corrupt cop follows Hanson and Miguel and pulls them over after they found out where they were. The cop tells Hanson to get in the police vehicle while he “goes and talks to the boy”. The cop takes Hanson’s driver’s license and keys and searches his pickup truck, but never actually talks to Miguel. Realising the officer is corrupt, Hanson escapes from the police car, subdues the officer and retrieves his keys. A short while later, Mauricio and the rest of the cartel catch up with the corrupt officer and kill him while Hanson and Miguel watch from a distance.

Hanson and Miguel continue to make their way north. While staying at a motel, Hanson bribes the receptionist to not register him and Miguel as guests before the cartel shows up and during the escape, they kill Hanson’s dog, Jax.

The patch on the truck’s radiator fails while attempting to get away from the cartel and they are forced to stop. Eventually Mauricio and his men catch up to Hanson and a firefight breaks out on a nearby farm. Hanson manages to kill three of the cartel members, but Mauricio captures Miguel.

After a skirmish in which Hanson is stabbed, he manages to get the upper-hand on Mauricio, and leaves him with a single bullet in his gun with the choice to kill himself or return home to Mexico. As Hanson and Miguel leave the farm, they hear a gunshot, indicating that Mauricio chose to commit suicide.

The pair eventually reach Miguel’s family in Chicago, and ends with Hanson getting on a city bus. Realizing he’s been fatally wounded, he finally closes his eyes and falls unconscious, presumably dying.

Cast

  • Liam Neeson as James “Jim” Hanson, a former US Marine sniper and Vietnam War veteran.
  • Katheryn Winnick as Sarah Pennington, border patrol agent and step-daughter of Hanson.
  • Juan Pablo Raba as Mauricio.
  • Teresa Ruiz as Rosa.
  • Jacob Perez as Miguel.
  • Dylan Kenan as Randall Brennan.
  • Luke Rains as Everett Crawford.
  • Sean Rosales as Hernando.
  • Alfredo Quiroz as Carlos.

Production

The project, originally titled The Minuteman, was announced in May 2019, with Liam Neeson set to star. In September 2019, it was announced that Winnick and Raba joined the cast of the film.

Principal photography occurred in Lorain, Portage County, and Chardon, Ohio. Filming also occurred in New Mexico, and wrapped in October 2019.

Release

The Marksman was initially scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on 22 January 2021, but was later moved up a week to 15 January.

Box Office

As of 26 April 2021, The Marksman has grossed $15.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $7.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide of $23 million.

The film grossed $3.7 million over the four-day MLK opening weekend, the second Open Road/Neeson title to top the box office during the COVID-19 pandemic after Honest Thief the previous October. The film played best in the South, with men making up 57% of the audience, and 72% being over the age of 25. It remained in first the following weekend with $2.03 million, then made $1.2 million in its third weekend and finished third.

Critical Response

It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Neeson’s performance but criticised the film as being formulaic.

Trivia

  • The scene where Jim and Miguel are in the hotel, both watch the classic Clint Eastwood western Hang ‘Em High (1968).
    • The film’s director, Robert Lorenz, worked with Eastwood for many years as a producer and included this scene as a tribute to his mentor.
  • When Sarah (Katheryn Winnick) tells Jim (Liam Neeson) over the phone “he will find you and he will kill you” it is a clear homage to another of Liam Neeson’s movies, Taken (2008).
  • Liam Neeson’s character, Jim, is seen shooting his scoped rifle with both eyes open.
    • Jim is a former Marine sniper and sharpshooter.
    • Shooting a scoped rifle with both eyes open is a technique taught to military snipers and sharpshooters, and is rarely seen being used by non-military personnel outside of professionals.
  • Right before the scene where they arrive in Chicago, while they are in the gas station purchasing items, Liam Neeson pulls out a bottle of Kraken rum.
    • This is referencing his famous line in his role as Zeus in Clash of the Titans (2010): “Release the Kraken!”

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Robert Lorenz.
  • Producer(s):
    • Nicolas Chartier … executive producer.
    • Phillip Dawe … associate producer.
    • Jonathan Deckter … executive producer.
    • Tai Duncan … producer (produced by).
    • Eric Gold … producer (produced by).
    • Warren Goz … producer (produced by).
    • Mark David Katchur … executive producer (as Mark D. Katchur).
    • Robert Lorenz … producer (produced by).
    • James Masciello … executive producer.
    • Tom Ortenberg … executive producer.
    • Trevor Osmond … associate producer.
    • Sebastian Perry … associate producer (as Sebastian K. Perry).
    • Matthew Sidari … executive producer.
    • Michael Wexler … executive producer.
    • Mark Williams … producer (produced by).
    • Mitchell Zhang … associate producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Chris Charles.
    • Danny Kravitz.
    • Robert Lorenz.
  • Music:
    • Sean Callery.
  • Cinematography:
    • Mark Patten … director of photography.
  • Editor(s):
    • Luis Carballar.
  • Production:
    • Cutting Edge Group.
    • Raven Capital Management.
    • Sculptor Media (production).
    • Stonehouse Motion Pictures (production).
    • UTA Independent Film Group.
    • Voltage Pictures.
    • Zero Gravity Management (production).
  • Distributor(s):
    • Open Road Entertainment (2021) (USA) (theatrical).
    • BfParis (2021) (Argentina) (theatrical).
    • Encore Films (2021) (Singapore) (theatrical).
    • Golden Village Pictures (2021) (Singapore) (theatrical).
    • Kino Films (2022) (Japan) (theatrical).
    • Madman Films (2021) (Australia) (theatrical).
    • SF Film Finland (2021) (Finland) (theatrical).
    • Spentzos Films (2021) (Greece) (theatrical).
    • Amazon Prime Video (2021) (Netherlands) (video) (VOD).
    • Ascot Elite Entertainment Group (2021) (Switzerland) (all media).
    • Cinemundo (2021) (Portugal) (all media).
    • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2021) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East, North Africa and Iran).
    • GEM Entertainment (2021) (Non-US) (all media) (multi-territory).
    • Kyyba Films (2021) (India) (all media).
    • Leonine Distribution (2021) (Germany) (Blu-ray).
    • Leonine Distribution (2021) (Germany) (DVD).
    • Madman Entertainment (2021) (Australia) (Blu-ray).
    • Madman Entertainment (2021) (Australia) (DVD).
    • Shear Entertainment (2021) (UK) (all media).
    • Studio Distribution Services (2021) (USA) (Blu-ray) (for Universal Pictures Home Entertainment).
    • Studio Distribution Services (2021) (USA) (DVD) (for Universal Pictures Home Entertainment).
    • The Searchers (2021) (Belgium) (all media).
    • Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) (2021) (USA) (Blu-ray).
    • Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) (2021) (USA) (DVD).
  • Release Date: 15 January 2021.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Running Time: 108 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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