Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

With the exception of the 2001 film ‘Liberty Stands Still’, ‘The Marksman’ I believe marks the end of my journey to catch up with one Wesley Snipes Straight to Video filmography. Considering what Mr. Snipes is going though right now in his life I don’t know if any of us are going to have too many more opportunities, at least in the near future, to see many more Wesley Snipes Straight to Video junkets. This could be a good thing in a sense since Snipes last STV joint we saw was ‘Art of War II’, easily the worst movie that Wesley Snipes have ever made, which followed his film ‘The Contractor’ which actually showed some redeeming promise. But today we’re here to discuss ‘The Marksman’, which while incredibly generic and formulaic, I have to say that Wesley has made far worse and that this wasn’t so bad for something watch late at night before one turns in to bed.

Snipes plays ‘The Painter’, a sullen mysterious character who we first meet, more or less since it’s really dark and we see nothing but blurry shadows, making an advance on some military unit. Of course most of us who watch these kinds of movies already know that it must be just a training exercise, but we’ll go ahead and pretend for now like we don’t know that and that there are live bullets in those guns. After Painter shows these so-called soldiers how incredibly inept they are it’s off to Russia or someplace where some dude named General Zaysan (Dan Baradu) has an evil plan to blow up Russia or something.

Off to Washington D.C to meet a pair bureaucrats with one being Jonathan Tensor, who is being played by veteran bureaucrat playing actor William Pope and the other being the Wesley Snipes white woman of interest in this film Amanda Jacks, played by Emma Samms who at one time was one of the hottest women on the planet earth. Interesting as I watch my STV movies in that Steven Seagal, a white man, usually

makes his female of interest a woman of color while Snipes, who is Black obviously, hasn’t had a woman of color in any of his movies since he was abusing Sanaa Lathan in ‘Disappearing Acts’ some eight years ago. Just an observation.

Anyway, this evil general dude is holed up in an allegedly offline nuclear reactor and has brought some nuclear reactor starter kit from an evil North Korean and is about to go live with this sucker. Amanda Jacks suggests that they bring Painter on line, who apparently she has a personal history with, and send him on to Russia to deal with this situation despite the fact that he has a history of marking the wrong target for destruction. So it’s off to Russia for Painter and the Rangers he disgraced earlier in the film to handle their business, but as we well know the okey-doke is in full effect as everything isn’t what it seems to be. Fortunately for the free world The Marksman is in the house and 20% of the Russian population will be dead from bullets to the head before the credits roll.

Most movies I watch usually have a scene or two that I find very interesting, and this one is no exception. Like when ‘The Marksman’ sees two guys standing next each other and he shoots one in the head splattering his brains against the wall. Now I don’t know how one should normally react in this situation, but I’m thinking if it was me, I’d quickly turn tail and run away screaming like a bitch. What I don’t think I would do is pause, look around curiously as if my buddy just got mild case of exploding head disease and wait patiently for about a full five seconds for the next bullet to blow me off me feet sending me to Deadland. At least I don’t think I would do that. Another thing you might wonder about, and believe me, I’m no foreign policy expert, is why in the hell are American soldiers in Russia handling Russian nuclear business? They try to explain it and all, but it still didn’t make any sense to me.

‘The Marksman’ is interesting in the sense that it was really barely a Wesley Snipes movie since he didn’t have that much screen time and he didn’t do much of that Wesley Snipes stuff that we’re used to seeing him do in his movies since there was no kung fu kicking or anything like that. He also didn’t talk much. He had more dialog in Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ video than he uttered in this flick. We get on Wes sometimes for acting in these throwaway flicks like doesn’t care, but in this one it seems he went over the script and told whoever was in charge that all those words under the character of Painter… get rid of them. And the movie was better for it. What was left was a rather generic story with a generic bad guy generically trying to take over the world or something while generic soldiers controlled by generic bureaucrats tried to stop them. But as generic and as by the numbers as the movie was, it was still a very slick production competently directed by Marcus Adams, had a decent amount of action, a sky high body count, a lot of convincing fake army type tactical talk combined with a large amount of convincing fake government type bureaucratic talk.

If you haven’t guessed by now, ‘The Marksman’ is about as generic an action flick as they come, but I’ll take generic over putrid, and I’m talking to you ‘Art of War II’, any day of the week. You won’t be missing anything if were to let this one slide, but at least I wasn’t pissed off because I spent 90 minutes of my time watching it.

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