By Leah RozenAMBER GIDEON and Jason Lynch
Updated April 02, 2007 12:00 PM
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Mark Wahlberg, Michael Peña, Danny Glover, Kate Mara

SUSPENSE

Here are two shots I never, ever want to see in a movie again: 1) the hero purposefully struts toward us in slow-mo and 2) the hero leaps high in slow-mo, just in time to avoid the massive explosion behind him. Both are in Shooter, a let’s-blow-up-a-whole-lot-of-stuff action film that will—faint praise—entertain fans of the genre.

What Shooter, directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), does have going for it is a twisting, deeply cynical plot, one that assumes dishonesty at the highest levels. “This is a country where the Secretary of Defense can go on TV and say this war is about freedom, not about oil, and nobody questions him,” a U.S. senator says here. The movie’s honorable, lone wolf hero (Wahlberg) is an ex-Marine sniper who finds himself framed for supposedly having tried to assassinate the President. Wounded and on the run, he fights back the only way he knows how: with resourcefulness and a steady trigger finger.

Wahlberg is a continuing puzzlement. In supporting parts, like his recent Oscar-nominated role in The Departed, he sizzles. But give him the lead, like here, and he goes stolid, turning into a walking void. (R)