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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

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The Marksman (2021) on IMDb

Plot Overview

ole gloryNaco, Arizona rancher and Vietnam vet James Hansen (Liam Neeson) is struggling with life. He shoots at canine predators, turns in illegal aliens (IAs,) staves off bank fore­closure, and mourns for his deceased wife. His step­daughter Sarah (Katheryn Winnick) lends a sympa­thetic ear and rescues him from the bottle. She's an agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection ready to lend a helping hand. James also has a faithful collie dog Jackson.

home readingA Mexican drug courier Carlos (Alfredo Quiroz) “did some­thing to make the cartel mad.” They tortured and killed him as an example and are now after his sister Rosa (Teresa Ruiz) & her 11-year-old son Miguel (Jacob Perez.) She absconds with her boy and his college fund across the border, chased by the cartel and stopped by the rancher. A brief gun­fight results in one fatality (“Esta morto”) and one mortally wounded. Rosa implores Jim to take Miguel to his relations in Chicago and use her money for expenses (“All I have is yours to help him.”)

Welcome to America
Now Speak EnglishThe ensuing road trip results in more carnage, with some collateral damage, taxing the soldier's conscience along the lines of a father in an Elwood Reid novel where, “he … told me he'd saved three men and killed six others and no amount of thinking could balance the sheet in his favor” (10). James has led an upstanding American life, paid his taxes, and served his country, but he still has more decisions to make before the end of the line.


churchDeath is necessarily weighing on the mind of the solid rancher. He'd killed in Nam, discovered expired IAs & ravaged cattle on his ranch, buried his wife, and fought to the death cartel incursion at the border. When Miguel asks him to confirm his Catholic belief about heaven, he says this life is it, you're dead and buried like his dog. Never­the­less, they stop at a church by the road to have a funeral for Rosa. The black preacher prays, “Eternal rest grant unto her, Lord.” His preaching reflects his heritage of toil from which one rests after death. For that matter Jim thinks his wife Christine is looking down on him from above wanting him to help the boy. With her and her daughter's good Christian names, we take it she offered him guidance while she was alive, and he just takes it as a given it will continue now.

Uncle SamJ.B. Mozley in his sermon on Fear says: “It keeps people in earnest, that they should be in the right way, appre­hensive that they should fail. They are solicitous about their own salvation—do not regard it as a matter of course. They always have it in their minds that they are going they do not know where; and while on the one hand they have firm hopes resting on God's promises, they still do not think of an unknown world and another life without fear” (322). There are different opinions about the after­life, but the rancher seems to want to hedge his bets. Since others have gone on before him and more will come after, it would be to his benefit that meeting them in the here­after they'd be thankful for what good he'd done them, rather than mad for his opportunity squandered. It little matters in this context whether it was tainted drug money he used, because you can't take it with you anyway. Nor in this regard would skirting the law be an issue. As folk singer Woody Guthrie once sang to a sleepy hobo: “I know police­men give you trouble./ They give trouble every­where./ But when you die and go to heaven,/ There'll be no police­men there.” It sounds weird but it's also the import of the parable of the unjust steward in the Bible: (Luke 16:1-13)

WelcomeAnd he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy steward­ship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within him­self, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the steward­ship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the steward­ship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write four­score. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to your­selves friends of the mammon of unrighteous­ness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into ever­lasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If there­fore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

money bagsMozley sermonizes that “The unjust steward made friends of the mammon of unrighteousness [as here drug money]. This was the great thing he did; and the way in which he made friends of it was not grudging it to others” (194). I've elaborated on this parable in another place as have others, but it's beyond the scope of this review.

Production Values

” (2021) was directed by Robert Lorenz. It was written by Chris Charles, Danny Kravitz and Robert Lorenz. It stars Katheryn Winnick, Liam Neeson, and Teresa Ruiz. Neeson lifted it above mediocrity. He drove along Inter­state 40 formerly called Route 66.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for violence, some bloody images and brief strong language. It moves along at a steady clip with good dialogue and adventure along the way.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

The plot was easy to follow and the characters sympathetic. Customs weren't cruel but some lawmen were on the take. The ending was good despite its inevitability. It rose above politics. It was a good movie.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611. Rev. 1769. Software.

Guthrie, Woody. “Hobo's Lullaby.” Quoted from memory.

Mozley D.D., J.B. Sermons Parochial and Occasional. New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1880. Print.

Reid, Elwood. Midnight Sun. Copyright © 2000 by Elwood Reid. New York: Doubleday, 2000. First edition. Print.