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April 03, 2007

300 Passes 300 Million Global; Shooter Disappoints

300 continues hacking and slashing the competition.

On the other hand, there's the Mark Wahlberg liberal Cheney-assassination fantasy Shooter.

When Debbie Schlussel claimed that this movie was a liberal assassination fantasy, in which a Cheney analogue starts illegal wars for oil and assassinates nice brown people who stand in his way, I thought maybe she was being, well, a little excitable.

Mark Wahlberg delivers several monologues against the country that made this accused attempted-murderer and drug dealer into a multi-millionaire and Academy Award Nominee, including dialogue like this:

This is a country where the Secretary of Defense can tell the entire country on TV that it's about freedom, not oil. Because it's all a big lie.

And this:

Abu Ghraib--We knew their [the few U.S. soldiers who participated)bosses knew.

And this:

We killed raped, tortured, and killed people for oil in Ethiopia.

Since he has a lot of lines against America's presence in Iraq and the lack of WMDs, it's clear Ethiopia is a proxy for Iraq in this movie.

And Wahlberg goes on and on and on and on about how America is a criminal country (and that's beside the utterances of other characters about the conspiracy on the Grassy Knoll in the JFK assassination).

So I checked for confirmation by seeing if Dana Stevens of the amateur leftist webzine Slate liked it. After all, she views movies almost exclusively through the prism of whether or not they flatter her leftist politics.

Surprise! She loves it! And if you listen to the audio commentary, she's giggling like a schoolgirl over the Cheney-figure (actually a corrupt Senator from Montana, who looks like Cheney and hunts) getting killed in the end.

She soft-sells the movie's politics in her headline ("The Political Revenge Fantasy," no particular politics specified) and in this opening paragraph:

The hero of Shooter, Antoine Fuqua's libertarian action thriller, is the marvelously named Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg).

Libertarian? Really?

But she gives the game away in the audio commentary, gushing (when she doesn't have time to consider her remarks and edit them) that this is in fact a hard left-liberal assassination fantasy.

Why is she dishonest in her written review? Why does someone have to endure her giggling at the thought of the Vice President being assassinated in the audio commentary to get a real take on this film's politics?

The movie's final, bloody coda hammers home its strangely powerful and absolutely nihilistic political message: Everything sucks as much as it possibly can, and even if you're named something as awesome as Bob Lee Swagger, there's not much you can do about it. Swagger's one-man attempt to clean up the streets of Washington is presented as a futile, almost symbolic gesture. The most he (and we) can expect is to satisfy our basest anti-establishment fantasy: to track down the bastards who got us into this mess and blow them the fuck away (to be replaced, presumably, by other bastards).

There's no apparatus of justice in place at the end of this movie, no public stockade in which to shame the perpetrators of all the war crimes, cover-ups, and lies. There's just a lone dude with his girl in a getaway car, leaving behind a pile of bodies. Swagger may be our hero, but he's no savior. Challenged with the rhetorical question, "Do we allow America to be ruled by thugs?" he can only shrug: "Sure, some years we do."

Note that she's not at all displeased by the message of this movie -- sometimes political justice can only come via a sniper's bullet to the head -- but was much exercised indeed about the "war propaganda" in a movie about a battle that occurred over 2000 years ago.

Would Dana Stevens enjoy a film in which a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton analogue was plugged in the face in the interest of true political justice? I doubt it -- in that case, she'd understand the pro-assassination message of the movie was profoundly dangerous. (And undemocratic -- do we all have a vote in who our president is, or does a sniper get a one-bullet-one-vote veto over our elections?) If such a film was released, stating, flat-out, that the only way to get this country back on track was to kill Barack Obama, she'd excortiate it.

The left hates The Turner Diaries. They understand that bad books can give bad people bad ideas. And yet when the leftist equivalent of The Turner Diaries is relased, they get positively gushy. It's all part and parcel of the left's highly nuanced take on political violence: It's either disgusting or it's an, um, interesting idea. It all depends on whether the right people are being assassinated.

Of course, luckilly for Dana Stevens, Hollywood would never put out a movie that could even be twisted into an endorsement of killing a liberal politician. They know that to do so would be deeply irresponsible. But when it comes to a Republican... well, they knew what they were getting into, right?

Has Dana Stevens ever given an action movie such a strong review? (Again, check the audio commentary, where she's much less reserved about recommending the film to her leftist friends who want the sick thrill of seeing Cheney lose the better half of his skull to a bullet.) Why is she suddenly such a big fan of the genre, I wonder?

I wanted to see the film last weekend to review it myself, but I couldn't find time. Rob from Say Anything saw it, though, and confirms is just as vile as you think:

The Liberal Assassination Wet Dream Movie I Attended Last Night


Wahlberg’s character even turns out to be a 9/11 truther, at one point sitting down at his desk in his home, uttering the line “I wonder what lies they’re telling us today” and then picking up and perusing a published copy of the 9/11 commission report.

... at the end of the movie, Wahlberg’s character wipes out all the nasty Republican scum and then rides off into the sunset in a muscle car with the clear indication that he’s now some sort of vigilante out looking to murder other Republican scum.

You could almost hear the liberal Hollywood elite sighing with delight and satisfaction at that.

Am I doing what Stevens does, simply judging a movie on its politics? I don't think so -- because I'm quite used to "evil Republican corporate tools" as the bad guys, so much so that it doesn't faze me anymore. I know the bad guys, to the extent their party affiliation is revealed, will inevitably be on the conservative side of the aisle. At this point I just take that as a standard convention.

No, what bothers me is that we have here yet another encouragement to any unhinged lefties out there with a rifle to take justice -- or rather public policy -- into their own hands.

So it's a bit satisfying that Shooter is doing disappointing box office, still behind 300, and only slightly ahead out of Wild Hogs, which has been out for weeks.

Still, the film will make a small profit, and will be enough for the movie's producers. They didn't make this movie to make money; they made it to encourage someone to kill the president or vice president. Making a little bit of money on top of that is just a bonus.

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posted by Ace at 02:16 PM

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