Review: Liam Neeson Still Has It In the Underrated Character Driven Road Tale, THE MARKSMAN!

By: Jacob Bloodee Jacob Babcock

The Marksman (originally titled “The Minuteman”) released this year and is another delivery from national treasure Liam Neeson in the action thriller genre. Directed by Robert Lorenz whose worked on a number of Clint Eastwood projects (Million Dollar Baby, Trouble with the Curve, Gran Torino, American Sniper) as well as films like Changeling, Mystic River, etc brings us this very familiar but superb character driven action road trip venture.

Liam Neeson plays a grizzled veteran who’s now a rancher living near the Mexican border who winds up being a little boys only protection against vengeful cartel members or a life of uncertainty. Now obviously there have been plenty of stories like this…a world weary soul finding purpose in being ones hope for a better life which redeems a part of themselves, however I nonetheless thought this was an excellent and extremely underrated version of that story. Neeson can play roles like this in his sleep at this point but his dynamic with the boy (Jacob Perez) separates it and I really enjoyed their scenes together.

Liam Neeson is now 69 years old and naturally can’t handle as much physicality as years past but I think the writers took that fact and made it a part of his aging worn down character, only allowing him to do things that he could still have a shot at believably doing while looking the part. I loved that!

Unfortunately this and the fact that the story takes a character based approach has caused some to whine that there “isn’t enough action” or “it’s boring”, etc. However while it’s only PG-13 I thought the action, fights, shootings there were were decent enough and presented with the proper care and tone to still make it fairly visceral.

The road trip/on the run aspect of the movie was entertaining as the two bonded and their perspectives were paralleled. The talented and strong Katheryn Winnick (Vikings) is underutilized but she still has some warm scenes with Neeson and plays the part better than many would. There’s also a dog in this film that is a natural pairing with Neeson’s loner character and of course puts me on even more of an edge as I love dogs with all my heart.

Juan Pablo Raba (Peppermint, Narcos) is our primary villain and while he and his goons are stereotypical, he did feel genuinely threatening and there is a touch of nuance with him that makes his character feel at least somewhat more three dimensional. It’s also a very nicely shot film with some gorgeous landscape shots and good general framing work.

Overall I truthfully REALLY liked or loved this film and am bothered that so many viewers take things at such face value. Liam Neeson is terrific with just enough layers amidst his gruffness in now one of my favorite flicks of his, its resonated well with me. Be open and patient, this deserves more recognition.

Imbued with a lifelong diehard passion for film and TV, Jacob loves to share what gives him his lifeblood in the action genre. From childhood heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger, JCVD, Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris, and Mark Dacascos, to modern day torch bearers like Jason Statham, Gerard Butler, Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins and more, Jacob knows no bounds.

See his latest at Action-Flix as well as his Social Media:

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