|Price:||CDN$ 19.78 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details|
It's no surprise that the 1993 Tom Berenger actioner Sniper spawned a franchise of sorts based on its successful formula of a lone wolf military marksman who plays by his own rules and always gets his man. Berenger appeared in two direct-to-video sequels in 2002 and 2004, returning to his role as Marine Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Beckett, the solitary crack shot who traveled to far-flung global hot spots to aim his never-miss cross hairs at bad guys of various repute. The surprise about Sniper: Reloaded is not so much that it comes 18 years later or that the now paunchy, white-haired Berenger (see: Inception) is absent from the movie, but that this home-video exclusive plays as such a brisk and efficient stand-alone mercenary action feature. Not-so-notable TV hunk Chad Michael Collins plays Brandon Beckett, the estranged son of Berenger's character, as a marine grunt loaned out to a UN peacekeeping unit in the Congo. The nature of the father/son relationship is glossed over, even though it's clear that Brandon is his own man and has no aspirations to be a sharpshooter hero like his dad. But on a mission to escort a European landowner to safety, a mysterious sniper who is clearly cut from the same cloth as Beckett Sr. massacres the homesteader, Brandon's squad of marines, and the accompanying Congolese soldiers, gravely injuring Brandon in the process. Enter Billy Zane, if only briefly, reprising his original Sniper role as Berenger's protégé, Richard Miller. He is now a paternal figure on the scene to snap Brandon into shape in his father's image when Brandon goes AWOL on a mission of personal vengeance against the mystery sniper. The war-torn atmosphere and action set pieces are very well executed, with a minimum of exposition and plot details slowing things down. There are plenty of bloody "oh, yeah!" kill-shot close-ups as seen through spotting scopes against the African backdrops, and Brandon even squeezes in some sexy bedroom action with a blonde Australian army lieutenant. Though the production design is not necessarily lavish, the authenticity and ambiance is strong enough to give Sniper: Reloaded a healthy shot at DVD shelf life on its own terms. --Ted Fry --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.