The Marksman
Wesley Snipes, Emma Samms
Directed by Marcus Adams
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2005
95 minutes

The spy thriller writer’s union should definitely set up a fund to support mad Russian generals, Chechen rebels, and various North Korean nutjobs as a way to thank them for sustaining unbelievable plot possibilities such as that of The Marksman in this post Cold War era. Graduates of the John Williams School of Bombastic Music such as the uncredited guy or gal who scored this movie should also pitch in a few bucks to this fund.

The plot is basically simple. Wesley Snipes, who most certainly did not get paid by the word in this movie, is a “painter”: the guy who puts an electronic beacon to that X marks the spot for the aerial bombing of a target. When your basic mad Russian overtakes a nuclear power plant in Chechnya and makes the mistake of adding 4 or 5 American hostages to the lot the United States decided to blow up the plant supposedly with the consent of Russia who “has lost control of the situation”. If you think this is unbelievable you can skip the next seventy or so minutes of this thriller unless you want to figure out why the title of this movie is The Marksman or, while they were at it they didn’t call it The Sniper so at least the fact Snipes is the star would have given the title some relevance.

What makes this post Cold War weapon of mass destruction movie even more annoying is the absolutely lousy sound quality. The mad Russian speaks English with a thick accent, of course, but the boom mic is nowhere near him in most scenes. Other scenes, such as in a club where the good guys all happen to conveniently be when they are called on this silly mission features background music so loud you can’t hear a single line of dialogue. Someone should have explained to sound supervisor Steve Cook the basic principles of sound editing and read him the definition of background music.

If you are a Wesley Snipes fan, you might want to watch this and try to figure out what big-ticket item he needed to buy that would justify his being in this movie. Otherwise The Marksman is most definite pass.

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