Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sniper 2 (2002) Review:

The first Sniper film starring Tom Berenger and Billy Zane was one heck of movie. And I wasn't surprised when I discovered that Sniper had its own set of sequels. Thankfully, for this franchise, just because they are Direct-to-Video sequels doesn't mean the writers left out what happened from the first film. Sniper 2 does retain some good qualities but it lacks a lot of what made Sniper (1993) the best.

Thomas Beckett is still on the job
Tom Berenger is back as the intelligent and deadly marksmen, Thomas Beckett. After having a frustrating retired life, he's persuaded to take on another mission by the U.S. government. This time, it's to take out a leader named Valstoria in Europe. It's great to see Berenger playing Beckett again because who else could? Berenger has a way of making his character cool and smart at the same time. Accompanying Beckett is Cole played by Bokeem Woodbine. Woodbine's character is arrogant and by listening to him talk rudely to Beckett just didn't seem like a good match. Zane's character, Richard Miller. was arrogant too but in a different manner; he had no experience being a sniper.

Something that really throws this film off track is the location. The first Sniper film took place in Panama. Dense heavy jungle, where every bit of the soldier had to be covered in camouflage. The location here is the middle of a city. There's no room for this now. Making things even more off beat is how this sequel turned itself into an actioneer film. There's absolutely no hint of thriller genre in the running time.  As Beckett said originally from the first film:

"We'll wait days, for one shot one kill."

Bokeem Woodbine as the annoying cocky Cole
There's no extended waiting time here. It's "On your mark, get set, go". Several cars blow up, multiple gunfights, and lots of explosions. Sure it's a different angle but there's nothing to be thrilled about anymore. The explosions do the job. All the audience has to do now is leave their brains at the door. Why make such a successful first film and then turn it into a brain-dead action franchise? Thriller films engage their audiences, but not like this. I did enjoy it to a certain extent but I wasn't enthralled by it.

Then there's the whole issue of Beckett not understanding what the Europeans are speaking. How come he doesn't know? Beckett's the smart one! Why does he have to play Zane's role in this film and be the one who's always behind the eight ball? It's almost like he took a back seat for this film. One thing that made me a bit happy was knowing that Gary Chang was back again to make the score to this sequel. It wasn't totally the same as before but it at least tried to recall the elements of the first movie to show its resemblance.

Sniper 2 is not the best sequel even with Tom Berenger and Gary Chang reprising their roles. The story is at least faithful to the first film but nothing else is truly memorable about it.

Points Earned --> 6:10

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