Directed by Steven C. Miller (‘First Kill’), ‘Marauders’ is an action thriller with multiple plotlines that merge into one cohesive story. Christopher Meloni stars as Special Agent Jonathan Montgomery, who leads a joint task-force with the Cincinnati PD, investigating a string of bank robberies. As the team delves deep into the matter, they realize that everything is not exactly how they seem and that there is no clear line separating victims from perpetrators. The film also explores the concept of the greater good and how it can be a hindrance to justice. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Marauders Plot Synopsis
Set in Cincinnati, Ohio, ‘Marauders’ features an ensemble cast featuring talented actors. Meloni, a veteran of procedural cop shows, is effortlessly believable as a federal officer. Dave Bautista’s Agent Stockwell is Montgomery’s deputy. As it is the norm with these types of films, there is also a recruit, Special Agent Wells (Adrian Grenier).
The feds are reluctantly collaborating with the Cincinnati PD, as they know that several of the officers belonging to that department are corrupt. Montgomery especially has an antagonistic relationship with Detective Brian Mims (Johnathon Schaech), with whom he has a long history. Montgomery’s wife was an undercover officer and was murdered by a criminal named Velazquez, who nearly got away because Mims botched up the evidence collection procedure.
Mims has his own share of issues. Unbeknownst to even his colleagues, his wife has stage-4 cancer. The robbers are targeting branches of the same bank, Hubert National Bank, owned by Jeffrey Hubert (Bruce Willis). The investigating team finds the print of Ranger TJ Jackson on the crime scene. The problem is, Jackson is supposed to be dead.
The official report states that Jackson was part of a Ranger team that went rogue and kidnapped Alexander Hubert for a ransom. However, the abductors encountered problems, and Alexander was killed. A Special Forces squad was subsequently sent in to neutralize Jackson’s group. Alexander happened to be Jeffrey’s brother. After his death, the latter became the head of Hubert International.
In the beginning, the bank robbers are extremely careful who they hurt. During the first robbery, the only casualty is the bank manager, Steven Hutchinson, whose death is more of an execution. During the next robbery, David Dagley, a member of Hubert’s security detail, is lured to the crime scene and killed. The robbers leave a bullet there, which again has Jackson’s print. This further confuses Montgomery and his agents. The criminals use masks to hide their identities during the robberies, but it is evident that they are exceptionally well-trained.
After it is revealed that the robbers gave the money they took from the first bank to a City Mission charity fund, and the media learns about it, they are portrayed positively, much to Montgomery’s chagrin. Even the robbers themselves wholeheartedly believe the idea, and they have a legitimate reason for it. They send Montgomery incriminating evidence against Hubert, hoping to convince him to investigate the banker. With the help of Ohio Senator Cook, Hubert ensured that Alexander would never take charge of the family business.
The two victims of the first two robberies – Hutchinson and Dagley – were members of the same Rangers squad as Cook. Later, Dagley was the Commanding Officer of the squad of which Jackson was a member. However, he was not part of the supposed kidnapping of Alexander. In fact, he was the one who informed the military about the abduction. After everything settled down, Hubert gave him a job. Evidently, Dagley conspired with Cook and Hubert to frame his own unit. The robbers first send Montgomery photographs that show intimate moments between Hubert and Cook.
The two were apparently having a secret affair. The robbers then send the FBI the content of a locker from the second bank. It belonged to Hubert himself. As Montgomery and Stockwell realize, Hubert kept evidence of both his and Cook’s involvement in Alexander’s death, so if he ever were tried for it, he can bring down Cook as well. As he goes after Hubert through legal means, Montgomery gets Wells to release the evidence to the press. This prompts Hubert to garner whatever unauthorized money he had and leave the US.
A Mole in the Team
Wells seems to appreciate how Montgomery handled the situation, but his superior officer rebukes him. He reminds him that this self-proclaimed Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves have killed several security officers during the third robbery. These men had nothing to do with Hubert and others, and yet they were sacrificed as the robbers presumably wanted revenge for what happened to Jackson and his team. It is revealed that Jackson is still alive. He was spared by the Special Forces officers sent to kill him and his men.
The film shows the answer to its final puzzle towards the end. Wells is the leader of the robbers. He likely joined the FBI and made sure that he is part of Montgomery’s unit to keep tabs on the investigation. They sought to destroy Hubert for making them part of his elaborate conspiracy. When Jackson and his team arrived to deal with a terrorist threat in Costa Rica, they only found bodies of American students. Wells and his team arrived there soon after, with the orders to take out the squad of rogue Rangers.
In the ensuing gunfight, all the Rangers except Jackson were killed. Realizing their mistake, the Special Forces officers let him go and began planning how they would bring down Hubert. Mims has been a dirty cop for most of his career. Montgomery clearly thinks very little of him. Mims seems to share these sentiments, as there is a lot of self-loathing in him. He starts believing that his wife got sick because he is corrupt. He and Montgomery deduce together that Wells is the leader of the robbers.
After Wells successfully evades capture, he starts preparing to leave the country with his share of the loot. Mims finds him and tries to persuade him to let him confiscate the money, but the other man refuses. When Mims tries to point his gun at Wells, he is shot through his throat. In these last moments of his life, through a hopeless but heroic action, Mims finds redemption.
Rendezvous in Mexico
Montgomery tracks Hubert down in Mexico. But when he shows up at the restaurant where Hubert is supposed to be that day, he sees Wells is also there, ready to kill the fugitive. In the ensuing conversation between the former colleagues, the main theme of the movie is revisited once more. The older man accuses Wells of committing multiple heinous acts in the pursuit of the greater good. However, in the next sequence, Montgomery stabs Hubert, echoing something that Wells said to him earlier.
Montgomery says, “I would go to hell, so you can go to heaven.” Although he says it to Hubert, it is directed at Wells. As Hubert’s bodyguard tries to shoot Montgomery, Wells guns him down. The two men briefly stare at each other before parting ways. Killing Hubert, even in a foreign country, is bound to have serious repercussions. But sacrificing his own morality, and likely even his career, Montgomery allows Wells to atone himself by giving away the stolen money.
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