In a market-based society it's hard for one political faction to maintain a monopoly on a major way of connecting with potential customers. Just as Democratic candidates tired of GOP evangelical dominance have now gotten religion, so Shooter (rated R for strong graphic violence and language) takes the lone man firing away to bring justice, a longtime conservative standby, and adds liberal rhetoric about shadowy corporate conspiracies.
The thrill-a-minute movie has lots of explosions and a sprinkling of heads blown off. The hero (played well by Mark Wahlberg) is a patriotic marksman who can fire killing shots from a mile away-but he is framed as an assassin by corpocrats with secret armies that massacre villagers to install oil pipelines. His sidekick briefly wears a Che Guevara shirt. The Toronto Globe and Mail observed that "conservatives might rise up and complain that Shooter is yet another example of Democratic Party Hollywood dispensing pseudo-leftist twaddle." Well, it is.
But what's more fascinating may be the willingness on the left to drop one bogeyman, the National Rifle Association, in the pursuit of bigger fish. The left-wing Village Voice, which favors gun control in New York City, liked Shooter's violent exemplifying of "Americans' loss of faith in their government following the 2000 election, the 9/11 attacks, and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." The Philadelphia Inquirer also praised the film, opining that "the payoff at the end-at once kind of radical and gratuitous-delivers a wallop."
The Inquirer in February promoted a program by which "scores of people dropped off 267 guns in West Philadelphia in exchange for $200 worth of food vouchers each plus two tickets to a 76ers game, no questions asked." Last month it publicized the campaign of Ceasefire NJ to make it illegal to sell some guns that can fire armor-piercing rounds from a mile away: "We can wait for the first time mayhem occurs in our country before we ban civilian sale of these weapons, but then dozens of people will likely have died."
Apparently, it's OK if the dozens are employed by an evil corporation.