‘The Marksman’ Summary & Ending, Explained – Dry As Dust


The Marksman, as the title suggests is a survival tale that follows a skilled marine corp, Jim Hanson played by Liam Neeson. Jim comes across a Mexican boy who is hunted by goons from a Mexican cartel. Out of humanity, Jim decides to protect the kid no matter what it costs him.

‘The Marksman’ Summary

Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson) owns a ranch near the Arizona-Mexico border. After his wife’s death, he has little motive to live and is just counting days. He buried his wife on a hill nearby and thus is trying to save the ranch that is under the heavy loan. Though Jim works for the government by reporting illegal border crossings, the job hasn’t paid him well enough to rest in his old age. The fact has made him grumpy and helpless.

During one of his patrols, Jim comes across a woman, Rosa, and her son Miguel who are trying to cross the border in order to run away from the drug cartel. Jim tries to stop them when suddenly, a cartel member named Mauricio shoots at Jim. In response, Jim kills Mauricio’s brother but Rosa is severely wounded. Rosa requests Jim to take Miguel to her cousin in Chicago.

Initially, Jim hands over the boy to the police but soon find that they are going to deport Miguel back to Mexico as one of the men claims to be his father. Jim understands the scheme and rescues the boy from border patrol. They both become fugitives of the law. Both police and cartel are hunting for them. But Jim is determined to drop Miguel at his family in Chicago.

Major Spoilers Ahead

Why was Mauricio hunting Miguel?

Mauricio was hunting down Rosa and Miguel because Miguel’s uncle, Carlos had stolen some money from the Vasquez Cartel for whom Mauricio works. Mauricio had mercilessly killed Carlos but he didn’t find the money and that is why he is coming after Miguel.

Jim found the money bag when he encountered Rosa near the border. She and Miguel were running away with the money to start a new life in Chicago before Mauricio intervened.

In a hearty conversation, Miguel shows his disinterest in using the cartel money for his future. Jim and Miguel burnt down the dirty money in a campfire later that night. With the money gone, they just have to sort it out with Mauricio.

‘The Marksman’ Ending Explained

Miguel was burning with the desire to avenge the death of his mother. But Jim, a man who has spent his military life killing people convinces Miguel that revenge is never an option. It is not the kind of life his mother would have desired for him.

“There’s absolutely nothing that feels good about killing another man. Your mother died to give you a chance at a better life. Don’t waste it.”

The dialogue casts its reflection in the climax sequence when Mauricio and Jim are fighting against each other and Miguel is holding Mauricio’s gun. Mauricio coaxes Miguel to shoot him so he can create another punk like him, but Jim calls out Miguel not to fall into the trap. Miguel shoots in the air and Jim uses the distraction to shoot Mauricio with the gun. In the end, Jim gives Mauricio a chance to kill himself and a suggestive gunshot hints that he did indeed kill himself. Poetically, Jim saved another kid from going down the dirty lane of killing and revenge.

A severely wounded Jim manages to drop Miguel at his family in Chicago. He quickly disappears from the scene. We see an injured Jim, shot and stabbed. He has literally lost a lot of blood and is not going to survive. He closes his eyes in peace though, because before leaving, he saved one life, and that matters the most.

The Marksman is a simplistic tale. It is not a complex drama but it is not emotionally impactful either. At a point, the narrative becomes too dry, most probably the plot is cliche and overused. Jim’s character fails to establish its presence as the ‘marksman’ sharpshooter, as the quality has been used just once in the climax. It isn’t John Wick of sorts. The film’s simplicity is its most fatal flaw, due to which it plays like a dry and dull drama that fails to offer anything substantial. The film is well made but it is too flat to hold the grip.

The Marksman is a 2021 action thriller film directed by producer turned director Robert Lorenz. The film is available on DVD.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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