A silly blockbuster disguised as ferocious political commentary, Shooter fires away with ample success during some expertly staged and convincing action scenes … until it tries to be About Something. The more this story of a former military sniper’s (Mark Wahlberg) involvement thwarting a high-level government cover-up of Third World genocide progresses, the more you wish it would it would remove the wolf’s clothing and revert to the frivolous popcorn-flick sheep it really is. With its political pop psychology, governmental cynicism, blunt of-the-moment sermonizing and references to Abu Ghraib and the war in Iraq, Shooter wants to be the Manchurian Candidate of today. But it adheres more to the formula of a forgettable Clancy paperback than a truly confrontational work. It’s hard to take seriously a film that relies on this many rehashed genre devices: the reclusive hero haunted by past traumas and brought back for one last mission, the love interest who literally nurses his wounds, the villain with a physical impairment and a nondescript foreign accent, and the idealistic younger man the hero grooms into his sidekick. The histrionic apocalypse of V for Vendetta is like a substantive political primer compared to this old vigilante-justice chestnut.