. Today I will explain to you an action thriller film from 2007, titled Shooter.Spoilers ahead! This article contains spoilers, Take Care!
In the middle of the Ethiopian desert, sniper Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger and his spotter Corporal Donnie Fenn are on a peacekeeping mission. Once they take care of the enemy vehicle they are here for, they’re ready to leave, but suddenly, a whole army of hostiles shows up that wasn’t supposed to be there. As both armies open fire, Bob uses his remarkable sniper skills to kill as many enemies as possible, but bombs are starting to explode around them, so they request extraction. Unfortunately, their CIA support team completely ignores them and cuts off communication, resulting in Donnie’s death when a helicopter shoots at them.
Furious, Bob fires back, and after missing a few shots, he manages to hit the helicopter’s propellers and make it crash. Three years later, Bob is living as a recluse with his dog in the mountains of Wyoming. One afternoon, he’s approached by Colonel Isaac Johnson, who has a mission for him: to plan the president’s assassination. He mustn’t execute it, just plan it, because they’ve received intel that an assassination attempt will be happening soon, so they need an expert to figure out how and where so they can stop it.
Bob at first says no, but before leaving, Johnson gives him the information anyway as he appeals to his sense of duty. After testing the distance the president would be at with his own rifle and thinking about it a lot, Bob decides he will help. He visits the three locations the president will give a speech at and studies all the details until he comes to the conclusion that the attempt will be happening in Philadelphia. When he visits Johnson to inform him of this, Johnson congratulates him on a job well done and convinces him to come on the day of the event so he can be their spotter.
Bob also meets Michael Sandor, another former soldier helping with the operation. On the day of the event, Bob joins Johnson’s team in a room overlooking the site, which they set up with the help of a local cop. When the time comes for the president to give his speech after the Ethiopian Archbishop, Bob warns them that this is the perfect moment for shooting and they should stop the president from getting on stage. However they don’t listen to him – instead, the cop shoots at Bob as the mysterious enemy shoots at the president.
Bob is wounded twice, but he manages to escape by jumping through the window and then through a building’s glass ceiling. While Johnson’s team cleans the room and only leaves Bob’s rifle behind, Bob runs through the streets and comes across FBI Agent Nick Memphis. Since Nick is a rookie, it’s easy for Bob to disarm him and handcuff him to a railing, then he steals his car keys as he tells him he didn’t do it and it was all a setup. The city is quickly taken over by the police and the FBI, who even send helicopters to chase after Bob.
To lose them for a while, Bob enters a carwash and while the car is cleaned, he cuts open the backseat to reach into the trunk and get a first aid kit that he uses to provisionally deal with his wounds.
Afterward, he goes back to the streets, where after a long chase, Bob finds himself surrounded by cops. Seeing as he has no other choice, he drives the car in reverse and throws it in the river. A few moments later, when the FBI finds the car, it’s empty – Bob has escaped by hitching a ride on a barge. He returns to land on the other side of the river and steals a truck that allows him to drive by security with no issues.
Meanwhile, Bob’s picture is appearing all over the news. Nick’s failure is also being talked about, so his boss informs him he’ll go through a review for having embarrassed the FBI. Nick remembers Bob said it was all a setup, but his boss doesn’t believe him and warns him against putting that on his report. When night falls, Bob stops by a grocery store, but only enters it after cutting off its power so he can’t be recognized in the darkness.
Once he has what he needs, he breaks into a mechanic shop to steal a few more tools and use their bathroom. There, he uses the supplies he bought to make an improvised IV that he injects into his arm. Back to Nick, he’s been put on phone duty, and he gets a call from the grocery store clerk that thinks the man from earlier could’ve been Bob. Nick believes her, recognizing the things Bob bought as an old method to treat wounds, but his boss doesn’t take him seriously when he tries to report it.
Nick still doesn’t give up though, and starts researching all the details of the incident, thinking something is amiss. He spends the night in his office without sleeping, and when his coworker Alourdes Galindo finds him there in the morning, he tells her all the clues he’s found. In return, Alourdes tells him that the cop that shot Bob has been found dead, which further confirms Nick’s conspiracy theory. After disguising himself as a mechanic, Bob drives for hours until he makes it to Kentucky and goes to see Donnie’s widow Sarah Fenn.
They never talked since Donnie died, although Bob did write her a letter when it happened and sends her flowers every year, so Sarah remembers him. She’s also seen the news and is wary to let him in, but Bob convinces her he’s innocent when he tells her he’d rather let her shoot him than go back. After Sarah informs him that the president is fine and it was the Ethiopian Archbishop that got shot, Bob gives her a list of supplies she needs to buy so she can take care of his wounds. The supplies include a bunch of whip cream cans, from which Bob inhales the nitrous oxide gas so he’s passed out while Sarah stitches him up.
In the meantime, Nick visits all the buildings surrounding the area of the incident and finds tripod marks on the floor of an old bell tower. Then he goes to a cybercafé to chat with some weapons experts that quickly tell him about the remote-controlled rifles that could’ve been used in such a situation. When Bob wakes up, Sarah tells him his dog has been shot because they thought he wasn’t going back. Bob’s determined to clear his name, and he thinks Nick is the only way to do that, so he makes a plan to meet him.
Sarah accepts to help him, and even gives him Donnie’s old hunting rifle. The plan is simple: Sarah puts on a disguise and approaches Nick at a café to give him Bob’s vehicle’s ID information. That way when Nick investigates the information on the system, it’ll get Johnson’s attention. Sarah executes the plan perfectly, but Bob, who has been watching from afar, is found by the police asking for an ID.
For a trained soldier like him, it isn’t hard to fight them and even use their own dog against them, so Bob gets to knock them out and steal a radio before running away. Meanwhile, Nick does exactly as Bob predicted and searches for the car information in the system, but it’s under a level of clearance he doesn’t have access to. He asks Alourdes for help, and after some hesitation, she tells him which case has such clearance and confirms that the newscasts got tapes of the incident that were heavily edited. The other part of Bob’s prediction also comes true: all of Nick’s snooping around is noticed by Johnson’s men, so of course, they’ll take care of it.
Nick is kidnapped and beat up for information, but since he won’t talk, the thugs put up a contraption to shoot him and make it look like Nick did it to himself. Fortunately, Nick is saved at the last minute by Bob, who kills all the thugs with his rifle from afar before coming inside. Nick offers his help to do this the legal way since he can prove Bob didn’t shoot the Archbishop, but Bob only wants revenge and the law can’t give him that – it may clear his name but the corrupted names will still be in power and do the same thing again in a couple of years. Since Nick has already done enough to lose his own job, he accepts to help.
While Johnson’s men find out Bob has sent flowers to Sarah every year and send someone to kidnap her so they can use her as bait, Bob and Nick drive to Tennesse to meet Mr. Rate, a firearms expert. Mr. Rate tells them about a technique called paper patching, which makes it possible for a bullet to be fired from one rifle but made to look like it came from another.
This is how Johnson framed Bob: they used a round Bob fired when he did the test before accepting the mission. Mr. Rate also tells him that the only sniper left alive besides Bob that could’ve pulled such a trick is Mikhayo Sczerbiak, whose description quickly makes Bob realize it’s Sandor’s real name. Nick calls Alourdes so she can find information about Sandor’s past, and she gets them the location of where to find him.
This is actually a setup by Johnson, who has ordered Sandor to be bait for Bob. Johnson also calls in a favor from Senator Charles Meachum, who wants to see Bob dead too. It’s late at night when Johson’s men break into Sarah’s home. She manages to kill one of them but the other one captures her, promising her to have a good time together.
After they arrive at Virginia where Sandor is hiding, Bob and Nick go to a hardware store to buy a bunch of supplies they use to make their bombs, since Bob has already guessed there’s a trap waiting for them. He also teaches Nick a sniper’s basic knowledge so he can help as his spotter. When the time comes to act, Nick stays camouflaged in the bushes while giving Bob the location of the guards through the communicator. One by one, Bob takes most of the men out and spreads the bombs they made around the area before entering the house.
Sandor isn’t surprised to see him and accepts to explain it all. He doesn’t know Johnson’s real name, but he used Sandor the same way he used Bob, and he did it to many other snipers too: find a wounded soldier, appeal to his honor for a single job, then throw him aside like an old dog. The whole mission has always been planned to kill the Archbishop, and pretending the shot had been intended for the president is the cover. The Archbishop was about to tell the public about an entire village that was wiped out so an oil pipeline could be laid through by an organization that exploits economic assets in developing countries, run by Meachum and Johnson.
This happened in Ethiopia three years ago, and that’s how Bob learns that he unwittingly provided overwatch for that massacre that day, which is why he and Donnie were left to die. As Nick tells Bob that soldiers have arrived and are surrounding the house, Sandor confesses he’s been talking only to keep Bob inside while backup arrived. Then he reminds Bob that this conspiracy runs deep and there isn’t just one head to cut, he also informs him of Johnson having Sarah before he puts a gun under his chin to end things on his own terms. The soldiers then begin breaking into the house so Bob fights them off as Nick activates the pipe bombs and the gas.
With the smoke as cover, Bob leaves the house and continues to shoot more soldiers as he runs into a safe spot. Then Nick activates the napalm before sniping any remaining soldiers so Bob can escape safely. A helicopter soon arrives at the area, but after what happened in Ethiopia, this time Bob is ready for it. He and Nick run away so the helicopter can chase them, and once he flies over the right spot, Bob detonates a bomb that lights the helicopter on fire and makes it crash.
The pair manages to escape to Montana, where Nick calls Alourdes and gets her to put him on the line with his boss. Nick only tells them he’s with Bob and that he can’t trust them before hanging up, because this whole chat is a setup for Johnson to track the phone and call them. Bob offers him a deal: he’ll get Sarah back and in exchange, he’ll give them Sandor’s confession about what happened in Ethiopia, which he secretly recorded. He also demands the exchange to be done with Meachum for extra privacy.
They agree to meet on a snowy mountain – Johnson, Meachum, Sarah and her captor get there first. A man suddenly appears a few steps away and begins approaching them, so Johnson’s hidden snipers shoot him and he falls. But this is all a trick: that man is Nick and he’s wearing a piece of metal under his jacket so he’s fine. He acted as bait so Bob could find Johnson’s snipers and kill them, which is quickly followed by shooting the thug that is keeping Sarah.
While the FBI receives a letter from Nick telling them about this encounter, Bob approaches the group to do the exchange, but first Nick makes everyone drop their weapons. Sarah takes one of those guns to shoot the thug for what he did to her, and Bob comforts her before finally talking to Meachum. It’s all rather pointless though: after offering Bob a job, Meachum reminds him how deep the corruption runs in the system. Realizing how useless his recording is, Bob decides to burn it right before the FBI arrives to arrest him.
A few days later, in Washington DC, Bob is allowed to have a private meeting with Attorney General and other FBI leaders – Nick, Sarah and Johnson are there too. Bob had requested for the rifle of his that had been found at the scene of the crime to be brought, and now he uses it to prove his innocence. Since Bob swaps all of the firing pins out of his guns whenever he leaves home, this rifle is unable to shoot correctly, and Bob demonstrates so by failing to fire at Nick. The Attorney General accepts this evidence and grants Bob his freedom, but he can’t accept his accusations against Johnson and Meachum because he lacks proof.
Nick cuts in and shows him pictures of the massacre in Ethiopia, but the Attorney General claims he can’t do anything about it because it’s out of his jurisdiction. Sometime later, Meachum, Johnson, and their assistant are at the senator’s mountain cabin when suddenly, Johnson falls dead from a shot and their car outside explodes. It’s Bob, who is now at the door shooting the security guard and then the assistant before going after Meachum. When the senator reminds him he’s part of the USA government, Bob just replies “exactly” and kills him as well.
Afterward, he puts his gun in Johnson’s hand and breaks the gas pipe, so once he leaves the house, the building explodes too. Bob eventually reaches the road where Sarah is waiting for him in a car, so they drive away to start a new life together.