Published on March 4th, 2008 | by Chris0
In 1993's Sniper, we travel to Central America to fight the good fight in the "war on drugs," er, I think. No, actually we're playing CIA games to try and meddle in the affairs of nations. Yeah, that's better.
Anyway, we find veteran expert sniper Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger) sent off to eliminate the army general set to take over Panama, oh, and while you're there, Tom, why not take out any other targets of opportunity, like the evil druglord.
Oh, and, Beckett, during this top-secret and dangerous mission, we're going to pair you up with an inexperienced desk jockey. What? Richard Miller (Billy Zane) is that guy.
From the beginning we can see that Miller is going to be a problem, as he hesitates to pull the trigger on an enemy attacking his helicopter, and the guy instead gets taken out by a stray bullet from the side gunner. The pilot thinks Miller has done this, and suddenly he's a big superhero marksman. But we all know better.
Later in the film, Miller chokes again, and sets up things for later on down the road. He gives a 'warning shot' to one of his targets, and causes both Beckett and the locals to just plain not trust him.
Then there's the irrelevant side plot of the former student of Beckett, who tails them through the jungle, until Beckett offs him with the cliched bullet through the scope shot. Oh, yeah, did we mention that his mystery sniper took out Beckett's partner at the beginning of the film? No? Well, it doesn't matter anyway. What was the point of that little exercise, anyway?
Well, there are lots of things in this movie that even a guy like me, clueless about the details of "how to be an expert sniper," looks at and goes, "What the F*** are you doing?" Such as choosing a firing position inside a barn, without a covered approach or exit, splitting up your team (I thought you were supposed to have a spotter?) and lots of other little things where you scratch your head.
And the ending, where Miller kind of loses it and goes rogue is just a little too weird for words. Yeah sure in the end it all works out, but I'm still trying to figure out the point of it all.
Sniper is just another early-nineties formula action movie at its core. The plot really isn't all that well conceived, and the mechanics seem even less so. Berenger is his usual self, lots of growly "get out of my face" kind of lines, and Zane is also his usual self. He plays the confused whiner pretty well I think. Really the rest is minor supporting role types, and of no consequence. Kind of like the entire picture.
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Tom Berenger and Billy Zane load their weapons for hair-trigger suspense and through-the-heart action in this non-stop guerrilla adventure exploding with raw firepower. One shot. One kill. No exceptions...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Original Release Date:
- Billy Zane
- Tom Berenger
- J. T. Walsh
- Factory sealed DVD
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Worthwhile and interesting.,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sniper (DVD)Since I did not expect an action-packed on-your-the-edge-of-your seat film, I was not disappointed with this movie.
I saw it as basically a character study, between an older, more experienced man (Tom Berenger), and a younger, inexperienced and proud man (Billy Zane). They are foisted together on a jungle mission, and while Zane's character is *supposed* to be the superior officer, he soon learns that he is out of his element. Berenger's character calls him "son" as he leads him through the jungle, being simultaniously irritated yet supportive over Zane's inexperience.
I found myself caring about these characters, and appreciating the contrast between them. While this film had flaws (the ending, while adequate, lacked a little "punch"), I still enjoyed the movie overall. The performances of both actors was good -- particularly Berenger, who does the "steely emotionless" thing quite well. Zane was also good at looking a little queazy and out of... Read more
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
"Okay," as is, but could have been "magnificent.",
This review is from: Sniper [VHS] (VHS Tape)This not completely unpleasant diversion could have been a landmark film - if - it had been instead overtly made as the story of its OBVIOUS inspiration, Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock II. Berenger delivers, but the script lets him down. Those knowledgable of Gunny Hathcock will immediately recognize the film's fictional retelling of actual events: the killing of the enemy sniper with a shot through his scope, the 4-day stalk across 2,000 yards of open country, the "Apache Woman" - all are represented in this film. The film that could have been, and I wish would have been, is the story of Gunny Hathcock. "Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills" by Charles Henderson is available right here on Amazon.com. Read the Henderson book, then watch the Berenger film, and you will KNOW Hathcock was the inspiration. Sadly, even unjustly, the film neither mentions nor credits Gunny Hathcock. (Also available at Amazon.com is Henderson's second work about Hathcock,... Read more
55 of 70 people found the following review helpful
HOLLYWOOD MEETS THE MILITARY SNIPER,
This review is from: Sniper (DVD)I AM A RETIRED ARMY SNIPER SERVING TWO TOURS IN VIETNAM. WHEN THIS MOVIE CAME OUT I WAS CURIOUS AS TO WHAT WOULD BE DEPICTED ON FILM. SOME OF THE MOVIE WAS FAIRLY ACCURATE WHILE OTHER PARTS WERE PURE HOLLYWOOD NONSENSE. I THINK THE SELECTION OF TOM BERENGER WAS RIGHT-0N FOR THE PART OF BECKETT WHILE BILLY ZANE LEFT ALOT TO BE DESIRED. I WISH THE MOVIE HAD GONE MORE INTO THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE SNIPER TRADE SUCH AS ALLOWING FOR WIND, HEAT MIRAGES, AND MOVING TARGETS, ALONG WITH
THE ADJUSTMENT OF THE TARGET KNOBS ON THE SCOPE AS MANY PEOPLE SITTING IN THE THEATER DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT EXACTLY WAS GOING ON AT TIMES. I THOUGHT THE FIRST KILL IN THE MOVIE WHERE BECKETT SHOOTS CABRERO WHILE HIS SPOTTER GIVES HIM DIRECTION AND RANGE WAS PROBABLY THE MOST ACCURATE OF ALL THE SCENES IN THIS MOVIE. WHAT THEY ONLY TOUCH UPON IN THE MOVIE IS THE TERRIBLE FEEL YOU GET FROM THE FIRST TIME YOU TAKE A HUMAN BEINGS LIFE. SNIPER WORK IS SHOOTING PEOPLE WHEN THEY LEAST... Read more
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Summary: Sniper is just another early-nineties formula action movie at its core. The plot really isn't all that well conceived, and the mechanics seem even less so. Berenger is his usual self, lots of growly "get out of my face" kind of lines, and Zane is also his usual self. He plays the confused whiner pretty well I think. Really the rest is minor supporting role types, and of no consequence. Kind of like the entire picture.