I saw the first ‘Sniper’ movie, just like everybody else on the planet, and I know I saw the second one because I remember being blinded by Bokeem Woodbine’s bulbous bald head but the third one slips my memory. I’m sure I saw it, because I don’t miss worthless, straight to DVD action flicks, but I don’t remember it. Now we have the fourth ‘Sniper’ flick with ‘Sniper: Reloaded’ which seems primed to start it all over again for a new generation of worthless, Straight to DVD action flick lovers. For better or worse, the creators of ‘Sniper: Reloaded’ have played this thing as straight as humanly possible because entertainment can’t get much more basic than this.
When we first meet hardcore marine Sgt. Brandon Becket (Chad Michael Collins) we see he is being brought up of charges on insubordination, desertion and dereliction of duty. This is ace sniper Staff Sgt. Thomas Becket’s baby boy so we know there has to be a damn good reason for the late Thomas Becket’s son to have gone rouge on us.
Backtracking a bit we are somewhere in Africa. Hell if I remember where. Young Sgt. Becket is part of a Marine detachment that is contracted by the U.N. peace keeping forces to rescue some Europeans who are in danger from rebel forces. The crew makes their way to this man’s house and against his will they prepare to take him to safety, when out of nowhere the lethally accurate bullets of a concealed sniper starts peeling off the caps off of the soldiers heads. At the end of this standoff all of the soldiers will be dead with the exception of Sgt. Becket who was badly wounded and thought to be dead by this sniper. Now his buddy possibly could’ve survived as well but for some reason, in the middle of running for cover with a deadly accurate sniper shooting at them, this jarhead thought it would be a good idea to stand stationary and look down a hole where his injured friend had fallen and begin a conversation with him. Dome is subsequently peeled off by a large caliber bullet.
When Becket awakes he finds he is the company of one Martin Chandler (Patrick Lyster), a kind man who is in Africa helping the orphaned children and guiding big game hunters. Recognize that he is quite the handy one with a sniper rifle his own
damn self. They make their way back to the this dead man’s house, find and rescue his twelve year old daughter (Kayla Privett)… note that this kid was hidden by her father for safety reasons the girl said, even though it sure looked like he was about to get on that convoy truck without her before the sniper started killing folks. Anyway, Sgt. Becket and this kid try to make back to the base on foot but with his injuries being a little too severe and untreated, the Sgt. doesn’t quite make it and falls into unconscious.
Again he wakes up in a hospital bed, but this time he is looking into the eye of Richard Miller (Billy Zane), who you may remember as the punk recruit his father helped train in the first movie. He’s here to take Sgt. Becket home. Sgt. Becket isn’t going anywhere until he finds out who killed his men. We are also reintroduced to Lt. Ellen Abramowitz (Annabelle Wright) who Becket tried to hit on earlier. The superior officer tells Becket he has no authorization to do anything and the matter is to be forgotten. They talk over dinner, they have sex. Lieutenants shouldn’t be having sex with Sergeants, but there you go. Becket then slips out of bed in the middle of the night and proceeds on his merry way to find this killer in Africa. Africa is huge. He has almost no clues. But Becket is nothing if not resourceful and hard headed. He reconnects with that dude that helps orphans who has some info, Richard Miller has more info, such as the identity of this sniper, a trap is set and the game is afoot. Will the young Sgt. Becket survive? Why yes he will because they opened this movie with young Becket after all of this took place. And one the officers questioning him is the one he already had sex with. You’re killing me over here ‘Sniper: Reloaded’.
As we mentioned earlier ‘Sniper: Reloaded’ is about as bottom line as it gets when it comes to your straight to DVD action entertainment dollar. Director Claudio Fah’s film doesn’t do anything in particular to set itself apart from the competition, but the movie also doesn’t do anything out of ordinary to embarrass itself. Chad Michael Collins is solid in the role, even looking as if he could actually be Tom Berenger’s progeny, there’s action a plenty, a health amount of people get shot in the head, one poor African got with a bullet that made his whole body explode and the final standoff was particularly well done. The narrative followed in line with the rest of the movie in that it took very few chances and played it close to vest. Loose cannon bent on revenge, doesn’t play by the rules. Doesn’t get much more basic than that.
But there are some things. The sexual relationship between the Lieutenant and Sergeant was completely unnecessary, made even sillier by the fact that she’s one of the officers on the disciplinary review board. Might want to recuse yourself girlfriend. And it’s not like the filmmakers took the time to develop any kind of relationship between the two, just a cheap dinner followed by sex. We like to see pretty girls in movies and all, but sometimes a pretty girl in a movie can just be a pretty girl in a movie. Also by introducing us to Becket after the events, we know that he will survive these events intact. That removes almost all of the tension and suspense. Sure, we are fairly certain he’s going to survive regardless, but there’s no reason to remove the option that he might not make it. Sniper rule 101… stay still. Remember that rule sage and wise sniper guru Richard Miller who likes to stand up from his hiding place. And finally, Sgt. Brandon Becket isn’t even a sniper. He hates snipers because his dad was never there to hold him. Always off sniping somewhere.
Nonetheless, ‘Sniper: Reloaded’ is what it is. A mediocre action flick that had the common decency not to insult us too much. And it was good enough, despite its flaws, that ‘Sniper 5’ wouldn’t cause us too much concern.