[color=red]Rating: R for language and loads of violence. [/color]
2 hours, 6 minutes.
Mark Wahlberg turns a hackneyed action-adventure into a stand-up-and-take-notice thriller.
Special Forces Marine Bob Lee Swagger (mucho swaggering Wahlberg) buries himself in retirement after an Ethiopian intelligence mission goes south and his shooting partner ends up with a bullet in his brain. Ouch.
Three years into Swagger's self-imposed exile in the Rocky Mountains, the government comes calling (in the form of a mush-mouth Danny Glover) and begs his crack-shot services as a protection expert for the current president.
Naturally it's a cover for a more fiendish scheme and the cynical Swagger suddenly finds himself on the wrong end of the law. But what's a little conspiracy when you've got the skills to take down the entire operation?
Joyfully silly sub-plots abound: Swagger joining forces with a disillusioned FBI rookie (Michael Pena) who mistakenly uncovers a Big Internal Secret, Swagger seeking out his late partner's wife (Kate Mara) for refuge and falling deeply in lust, etc.
Wahlberg oozes charisma from every pore and sweat-glistened pec, no matter that his dialogue is spoon-fed directly into the mouths of 18- to 25-year-old males, i.e., "Welcome to Tennessee, the patron state of shooting stuff."
Paranoia, betrayal, double-crosses and huge dollops of testosterone are all accounted for as Swagger takes one for the team and still manages to elude the competition. Multiple climaxes finally settle on a way to end the damn thing and not a moment too soon. Bottom line, the bad guys are bad and the guns are smokin' hot; hey, that's why they call it a thriller!