Perhaps a strange choice of film to get the 4K UHD treatment, Antoine Fuqua’s thriller Shooter wasn’t met with any particular acclaim from critics or audiences upon release in 2008. The mindless, by-the-numbers Mark Wahlberg-starring action flick disappeared out of the collective memory of viewers until 2016, when the story was rebooted for a TV series starring Ryan Philippe – an equally forgettable project that found itself cancelled due to consistently decreasing viewership. So, is the original ‘08 film ripe for reappraisal in 4K?
Marky Mark plays the amusingly named Bob Lee Swagger, a Force Recon vet who finds himself framed for murder by a rogue unit of personnel operating for a private military firm. You know the drill. Blah blah blah conspiracy, boom boom bang bang, baddies go down and Wahlberg prevails. Packed with implausibilities and plot holes, Shooter’s story is an absolute mess. I can’t speak for the 1993 novel Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter on which Shooter is based, but the film is all over the place. Character development is typically weak, too, and the performances behind these one-dimensional characters are equally bland. A supporting cast boasting Michael Peña, Danny Glover and Kate Mara – among others – are totally wasted.
Fuqua, whose output has never again reached the heights of his masterpiece Training Day, certainly knows how to shoot action. The explosive set-pieces throughout the film are certainly the highlight, with some remarkable stunt work complimenting them with aplomb. It’s just a shame that everything around them feels so vacuous and bland; the action surrounding our characters would be far more impactful and exciting if we actually cared about them in any way.
Paramount’s new 4K disc is certainly a marvel, at least – gorgeously filmic and boasting incredible detail. It’s hard to imagine Shooter looking any better, and it absolutely isn’t showing its age. The immense quality of this transfer would have you believe it was shot this year, not almost 15 ago. A new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track brings the action to life like never before, too – a vast improvement on the lossy track available for the film up to now. Fans of the film, if there are any out there, will certainly be blown away by this disc. It is a belter.
Shooter is a bland, mindless, conspiracy action-thriller but its new 4K disc from Paramount is an absolute masterclass in home entertainment.
SHOOTER is available on 4K UHD™ now