Unfortunate-ly, these bursts are too few and far between to enable viewers to just turn their brains off and enjoy it like a Bay spectacle. Shooter wants to be a thinking man’s action film, yet it paradoxically defies the logic that thought provokes at every turn. Fuqua and writer Jonathan Lemkin seem to believe that long, boring stretches between action scenes make the movie thought-provoking, or "like a 70s film," as Fuqua says again and again on the commentary track. No, they make the movie long and boring.
Meanwhile only one FBI agent, a rookie improbably named Nick Memphis (Michael Pena), sees any of the highly obvious clues that Swagger wasn’t the real shooter, and no one else believes him and everyone thinks he’s crazy even though he doesn’t say anything that crazy. As far as I can tell, he’s just conducting a normal investigation into a shooting, as presumably the FBI is supposed to do. The appealing Pena does the best he can with another underdeveloped role, eventually teaming up with Wahlberg.
*Actually, I quite like the Italian Job remake, and Wahlberg is good in that one because his Charlie Croker isn’t Caine’s. Caine’s Croker was all flash; Wahlberg’s is understated and introspective. The flashy, showy characteristics are instead doled out to supporting players on the team like Jason Statham, Mos Def and Seth Green, all of whom handle them with charm and ease. The remake will never hold a candle to the original (which is one of my favorite movies), but thankfully it doesn’t try to tread the same ground and invents a clever new heist plot, with only the names and the Mini Coopers remaining the same.