Jim Marston is a retired Marine who lives alone on the Arizona-Mexico border. But even his quiet, solitary existence on a small ranch comes crashing down when a Mexican drug shipment arrives, and he must seek out help from a friend he never knew. The film is directed by Michael Bay and written by Bay's frequent producer, Mark Kassen and starring Denholm Elliott and Sandra Bullock. The film goes back and forth between the point of view of Jim Marston and that of the antagonist, a dangerous drug lord known as Los Pollos. While it is true that the film takes place entirely in Mexico, much of the action occurs in Arizona, which is just across the border at the close of the film.
Jim Marston (denholm Elliott) is a retired Marine who suffers from a series of health problems. One of these ailments causes a buildup of rust on the muscles in his face, making him look as if he has just been through a military campaign. Jim is also troubled by visions of past events that make him afraid that he may have made the wrong decision in choosing to shoot at targets instead of staying at home with his family. When a strange man arrives in town, claiming to be a friend of Jim's from his military days, he convinces Jim to go along on a hunting trip. The two men become quick friends and go on to complete several hunting missions, though one of them leads to disaster when the Spanish local authorities discover that the man is armed and planning to attack a clinic where he works. Jim uses the money from the hunting trip to purchase a machine gun, so he can defend himself against any attack.
Unfortunately, the machine gun he purchases is not strong enough to harm anyone outside a close range. Fortunately, this same machine gun can be modified by using special gel that makes it extremely powerful. Jim, using his newly acquired weapon, flees from the Mexican authorities after they arrest him, but he soon realizes that his escape was just short-lived due to an angered police officer. He reloads his gun and kills the police officer, who is then critically wounded.
Based off of the successful movie franchise The Replacements, The Marksman is directed by David Fincher. Though the film is largely forgettable due to its atrocious plot and acting, it does manage to capture the true essence of what a sniper does during battle. The movie follows Jim, who has recently become a sniper after being discharged from the Marines, on a mission to find someone he feels owes him a debt. Jim has a hard time carrying out his mission without his machine gun, which he feels could make him a valuable asset in battle.
The movie begins with Jim, already obsessed with finding the people who owe him money. Jim and his friend, John, go to Mexico to retrieve a shipment of weapons from a drug lord. Once they get the weapons, however, they are betrayed by John who ends up dying right in front of Jim. The next few days are a blur of confusion and tragedy as Jim kills anyone and everyone that crosses his path and then later finds out that his sniper job has made him famous. He returns home to continue with his life of crime but is quickly stopped by a group of soldiers. Now, he must choose between revenge and helping the forces win the war.
The Marksman is a film that does not hold its own during its runtime. It is extremely slow and often boring. It is well worth watching if for nothing else than the performances of its star, Brad Pitt, but overall the movie is not worth your time. For many people, however, The Marksman is the high point of their extreme movie experience.