Mar 14, 2011

Movie Notes: Shooter

Shooter (IMDB page)

Mark Wahlberg, Michael Pena, Danny Glover, and Kate Mara are the leading characters. Based on the novel "Point of Impact" by Stephen Hunter.

Short form: Former Marine sniper is disillusioned with The System. Recruited from his retirement to help prevent an assassination, then framed for that shooting. Rest of movie: proving innocence and one-man war against The System.

I'll give it 3.5/5. Relatively predictable storyline, but the firearms are generally done well. Things go boom, Wahlberg gives a fair performance, Pena plays a fresh-from-the-academy FBI agent well. Kate Mara's characater seems to be something of an afterthought, but she IS fun to look at.

Definitely some nice hardware - a couple M4s, Remington 700s, a Barrett .50, and a .408CheyTac from Cheyenne Tactical. I did have to chuckle at the nickel-plated M9/FS92, though.

I enjoyed it. Wouldn't object to watching it again, but wouldn't be in a hurry to buy it unless it was under ten bucks.

My biggest gripe - and this is *not* the movie, but in the "making of" extra - is with their firearms "expert". This fellow is a former Marine, and an instructor at a well-known training facility near Las Vegas whose owner is known for being a loudmouth. He tells the camera that "at the range the shot [in the movie] was taken at (2200yd), the bullet would be coming almost straight down on your head", and "what the movie got wrong is the tremendous energy from these weapons at those ranges. Coming straight down on a target like that, the hydrostatic force is unbelievable. Literally, it'll peel you like a banana, we're talking limbs flying 200 feet. I'm glad the movie didn't get that right."

Good lord, man. Please tell me that's not what they're teaching in USMC Sniper School.

One: The .408CT will drop a lot at that range. According to The Anarchangel, 550" at 1500yd - or about 47 feet. He doesn't have full tables, but we can rough-guess it to perhaps 1500" drop at 2200yd. (And those are VERY rough numbers; if someone has real data on the .408CT at distances beyond 1500yd I'd love to see it.) If it's dropping at that rate (2 in/yd), it's a relatively steep arc, but relative to what, and at what distance? Either way, it's certainly not coming "straight down".

Two: "Peel you like a banana". Horse manure. At 1500yd the .408CT has about 3000ft-lb of energy, which will absolutely make a mess of a target like a human head. In fact, said head WILL probably go "splat" like shooting a pop can. But it's not going to peel off skin below the head.

Three: "Limbs flying two hundred feet". Buddy, you need high explosives to do that.

Hollywood, I detest your inaccuracies, but I loathe misinformation coming from an alleged expert. How many guys are going to be sitting at the bar now, saying, "Hey, you hear that JoeBob got him one of them four-oh-eight chee-tacks? Peel a man apart at over a mile, that's gotta be one HELL of a deer rifle. Yep, heard it from a Marine sniper!"

Bottom line: rent the movie, but don't watch the "making of" unless you want to grind your teeth some.


Old NFO said...

I watched about 20 minutes and got up and left... WAY too many things wrong/wrongly portrayed, etc... And markey mark is a left winger and anti-gun nut along with Danny Glover so I won't support them getting any of my $$. For what it's worth, I ran the numbers on my ballistics calculator and the drop is 83.5 MOA at 2300 yards, or 2010.68 inches, or 167.55 feet. You would have to have a 50 or 60 MOA scope base to get out that far, and you wouldn't be able to shoot close in (less than probably 500 yd) targets without running the scope against the stops...

Chad Mynhier said...

I'd be willing to bet that you haven't read the book. I was pretty annoyed at the movie adaptation. The Bob Lee Swagger character was transformed from a patriotic character who just wanted to be left alone to live out the rest of his life in peace into a bitter conspiracy theorist ("Let's see what lies they're telling us today.") I had other problems with the movie, but the kicker for me was seeing the Nick Memphis character (Michael Pena) wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt.

To put it another way, the book was modified to fit the narrative.

ZerCool said...

NFO - I can suspend disbelief of a lot of things during a movie; I can tolerate screwed-up ballistics within reason. And most of Hollywood is anti-gun, so I'd be seeing VERY few movies if I picked on that basis...

Chad - you are correct, I have not read the book (yet). I picked up a Swagger novel (I, Sniper) from the bookstore last night, and look forward to reading it in the near future. Glad to know I'm not the only one who swore at the TV when Memphis was wearing the Che shirt. Books-changed-for-film is nothing new, of course.

Old NFO said...

Zer- Having read the books, that was the OTHER thing that pissed me off... To turn Gunny into a conspiracy nuts was just a bridge too far...