Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sniper (1993) Review:

If one wants to really know what it's like to be a trained killer, this is the movie to see. This film has something going for it and it's quite noticeable once the opening credits start rolling. It is the tone that the music makes and the pace at which the movie runs. Everything else in the film is very much appreciated but these other two elements previously mentioned are the ones that make this thriller spectacular.

Sniper is the story of Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger), a marksmen who is at the top of his class for taking out enemies from afar. However, it is not until he is forced to pair up with new guy Richard Miller (Billy Zane) to take out a couple of drug lords. Interestingly enough, Miller's background is intriguing because he was only assigned under Beckett's care for falsely taking credit for killing an enemy soldier with a sniper rifle from a helicopter.

Tom Berenger as the famous Thomas Beckett
The dialog between these two characters is also entertaining. Berenger gives his character a lot of good lines. Much of which deals with the understanding of being a soldier; how to know terrain, how to evade enemies, how to blend in with surroundings, how to coordinate firing, how to know which directions are safe, how to wait for the right moment to shoot and so on. It's awesome to learn the ways of the sniper under Berenger's wing.

Zane on the other hand has some funny lines due to his lack of being an unexperienced sniper. And of course, when these two characters butt heads, it's just like watching a child and their parents argue. The child thinks they know better than their parents do. What's gratifying to know is that the longer they stick together, the closer the become and soon they develop a small relationship that prevents them from arguing as often. Miller learns from Beckett how to be a better sniper and Beckett learns from Miller that he doesn't need to be a sniper for the rest of his life.

Billy Zane as rookie, Richard Miller
Another thing that makes Sniper very effective is the set itself. There's no place to get a better feel for wearing camouflage than in the jungles of a central-American country. Adding to this is the pace that the film runs at. If it makes sense, Sniper creeps at a fast speed. It is an oxymoron to say but it does. The way the characters move on screen is slow so to show the style that snipers use to maneuver across landscapes but the transitions between scenes are rather fast to keep the audience locked in its crosshairs. This is a good technique.

As for music goes, the score was composed by Gary Chang, whom I think outdid himself on this film. Although he did have the assistance of Hans Zimmer and Mark Mancina, the credits really belong to Chang. Chang makes the feel of the whole movie super eerie and it's quite chilling to listen to. I've never sat through a movie before and felt so many weird emotions flowing in and out of me just because of listening to the score. And for any of you soundtrack collectors, note that this particular score is not easy to find, so keep your eyes peeled. Altogether, there's nothing you can't like about this film.

The whole idea of watching the actions of trained snipers doing their dirty work is exciting all on its own. Berenger and Zane are great at their characters and Gary Chang's score is a rare gem compared to today's movie soundtracks.

Points Earned --> 10:10

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