“Point of Impact”

When Shooter came out in 2007 Antoine Fuqua and Mark Wahlberg gave us a fun little action thriller. Wahlberg adds charisma to anything he is in and the supporting cast around him was solid. Now, in the TV reboot of that film with the same name, we see Ryan Phillippe take on the role of Bob Lee Swagger. The show was delayed twice due to mass shootings in the U.S. and USA Network felt it would be insensitive to air the show. Well now, premiere night is here, and the show will likely be viewed by fans of the 2007 film, such as myself. But those who have seen the film saw the ending of tonights episode coming. For the most part, “Point of Impact” was a set-up episode, but I couldn’t help but feel a tad bored with it. While it finished strong, the first episode of USA’s Shooter was largely uninteresting and sloppy.

In the episode, we meet Bob Lee Swagger (Phillippe), a former United States Marine sniper. Swagger lives with his wife and family in the remote woods. When approached by an old friend (Omar Epps) he is roped into scouting locations for a possible attempt on the President’s life. Swagger reluctantly accepts and goes on to scout the locations and report back his findings to the secret service.

Again, if you’ve seen the film, you know what happens. What is intriguing about this idea is being able to expand the story of the film into a serialized narrative. In a television series, you are able dive deeper into some issues. This show has the ability to take a step back and look at modern issues. Yet, in this episode, the show doesn’t really talk about them. We see that Swagger has a lot of guns in case things “get weird”.

The show doesn’t seem to pay attention to the details either. It strings us along trying to make us believe the people trying to set Swagger up are sloppy enough to leave behind clues of their nefarious deeds. Swagger is a man who does nothing but pay attention to detail. How else would he be able to plan such an elaborate assassination.

Shooter‘s first episode is by no means a total disaster. “Point of Impact” finishes strong by ratcheting up the tension with some nice thrills. Phillippe, normally a side character getting a chance to play a leading role, matches the quiet intensity of his counterpart in the film. The structure isn’t terrible. In fact, everything builds nicely leading up to its final moments. Most pilot episodes are slow burn to a point. However, my gripe with the episode isn’t so much the slow burn, but rather that the lead up is rather flat.

The show isn’t doomed. If it can match the intensity of the last five minutes of this episode, we might have something. On the whole, Shooter‘s pilot episode is bit messy but somewhat promising. Phillippe seems like a good fit for this role. We’ll have to wait and see where this show goes. Until then, color me unimpressed by the shows premiere.

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