Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sniper 3 (2004) Review:

Usually by the third installment of any franchise, the stories become bland, and the characters: carbon copies and the charm is lost. Sniper 2 (2002) was a mediocre sequel but it did have some things about it that made it enjoyable. I did not favor how the first Sniper (1993), which was a thriller, turned into an action film for the sequel. I did think it was an interesting take, but it wasn't executed properly. I also didn't appreciate the character that Bokeem Woodbine played. His role was more obnoxious than involving.

Berenger is making Beckett look pretty worn & old
Here, Tom Berenger once again reprises his role as the callous marine scout sniper, Thomas Beckett. Berenger still has the character down like he did for the last two films but this time the writers address an issue with his health. J.S. Cardone and Ross Helford make it clear in this film that Beckett is no longer the soldier he once was. Because of the trauma that he suffered in the first film, he now suffers from mild muscle spasms in his hand.

This small subplot may upset some viewers because in a way, it's speaking to the audience saying, "this the last time Thomas Beckett will be on screen". It's visible too. Several times it seems like Berenger is making his character look worn and drained of energy to show that Thomas Beckett is getting too old for the career he tries to hold on to. But Beckett's drawn in one more time to execute his new "hit" that was a man he once called a friend. Too bad flashbacks and dream sequences had to be used when Beckett ever focused on these issues. It's not needed.

Byron Mann as Quan,...Beckett's assistant
Co-starring Berenger is Byron Mann playing Quan, a police operative sent to assist Beckett in his assassination. Mann plays his character rather cool and intelligently. The writers even allowed Quan to make a personal connection with Beckett, being that his father was a scout sniper as well. This at least leads to a comparatively easy-going relationship between these two individuals. Its nothing like the stupid quibbles between Beckett and Cole from the previous film.

As for the rest of the film nothing has really changed. I've accepted the fact that no one’s going to bother to try and make this a thriller again. There's still lots of things being blown up, several gunshots and the anticipation of the thriller aspect is unfortunately abandoned. However, the fight scene between Quan and one of the main villain’s thugs entertained me. Hand-to-hand combat is always cool to watch no matter what.

Also, the location to where Beckett travels is at least a little more lively and it even allowed Tim Jones, the composer, to make his score slightly more engaging than Gary Chang's half-hearted version of the previous sequel. It's not as good as the first, but it seems to me that there was more effort put into the making of this sequel than that of Sniper 2 (2002). So although it didn't satisfy me much more than the last one, it definitely shows improvement.

The second sequel to Sniper (1993) still has the qualities of a bad action film and relies too much on Beckett's rising personal issues. But what makes this one different is its character development and better music.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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