Sniper: Reloaded (Blu-ray)
Does any one remember a little film called SNIPER starring Tom Berenger and Billy Zane back in 1993? I’m guessing not too many. Well it actually was pretty decent delving deep behind the scenes of a couple of snipers on a mission to kill a top rebel leader. However the lesser-known film hardly deserved a lazy sequel nearly 20 years later in SNIPER: RELOADED. To my surprise this is actually the fourth installment and I’m guessing equally or more unnecessary than two and three.
Marine Sgt. Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins) son of elite sniper Thomas Beckett (Berenger from the first three installments) is working with UN Forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After losing all his men including the man he was sent to protect and being injured himself by a mysterious sniper, Beckett wants revenge. But in the mean time he escorts a young girl to safety across dangerous terrain, teams up with an older gentleman to rescue stolen children from evil rebels and has some love making with his superior officer, Lieutenant Ellen Abramowitz (Annabel Wright). The plot finally gets back on track and with the help of his father’s partner and protégé, sniper instructor Richard Miller (Billy Zane), Becket discovers a conspiracy much larger than the dangerous sniper assassin.
With an energetic action packed opening, SNIPER: RELOADED actually had promise but it quickly plummeted losing focus, creativity and all around substance. The scenery is magnificent with sweeping camera shots capturing the beautiful landscape full of exotic wild life. But the major problem is not a single character is worth caring about. Characters are introduced but not developed. Their motives are frustratingly absent while the plot is ridiculously scattered.
I have no idea why there is this incessant need for films to force in love interests that for the most part make the entire movie awkward. For weak reasons at best, Beckett and Abramowitz are having dinner discussing business when without any transition the film cuts to a scene of them undressing each other. Later she shows up at a gunfight, awkwardly shoots some bad guys despite her blonde locks in her face, and then mysteriously disappears until the end of the picture so Beckett can have his final showdown. Serving zero purpose, none of her scenes have any impact on the film. Her character is insulting to women, the military and movie audiences in general.
From the confusingly empty plot to the anticlimactic action, there are far too many problems with SNIPER: RELOADED to fully address. Chad Michael Collins has the right look but the film is too poor to recognize his skills or lack thereof. I’m still a fan of Billy Zane but he is a far cry from his TITANIC days and he breezes through his part fully aware of the absurdity. For obvious reasons the picture is direct to home viewing and for some odd reason the film meant to be about Snipers is surprisingly lacking the detail of fully showing that specific skill.
Video: (1080p High Definition 1.85:1) The picture looks gorgeous capturing the luscious landscape of Africa.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD MA) Excellent sound utilizing the various gun fire to the fullest extent.