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Sniper: Reloaded (2011)
An unexpected gift to the fans! Make another one!
I kinda feared a disaster coming when I first heard about this movie only a couple of months before its release. No Berenger, at all. Some guy I never heard of playing his son. However Billy Zane's involvement sounded promising(although it had the taste of 'we couldn't get Berenger, so here have Zane instead') The trailer looked solid but showed absolutely nothing that could probably have promised quality of the first Sniper.
After having watched the final product, I have to admit that I enjoyed it. A lot. Chad Michael Collins plays a charismatic character but underacts in some situations for my taste(final kill). His physical appearance is very close to Berenger's. Think of Bruce Li in Bruceploitation terms ;) Billy Zane has just enough screen time to qualify his second name listing in the credits. He comes a lot more likable than in the first movie and has some gory kills and cool one-liners. The remaining characters also do their jobs pretty well considering their limited screen time.
The script is nothing special but so were the scripts for the first 3 movies. It pays a lot of homages to its predecessors for example in some kills and camera shots. It's clear that the makers have seen the original movies and were trying hard to bring the most enjoyable elements from those movies into the reboot. The typical "mission went wrong, fight on your own, cover up a conspiracy" element is there. As usual for the snipers series the main bad guys are not evil 'just because the script says so' but have realistic motivations. The sex scene comes out of nowhere but is needed to make some later plot points more realistic. This surely could have been made in a more fluent and less forced way.
The camera work is solid. The shaky cam is nowhere as annoying and overused as in a lot of new action movies ala The Expendables. There are some beautiful landscape shots and the locations are always exciting to look at. The mounted on the weapon camera angle is competently done for a movie of this budget league, although admittedly somewhat less impressive in the year 2011 than in 1998. The action scenes are shot furiously. Like in the first 3 movies there are not many of them, but when they come, they come with a bang. The more dialog-heavy scenes in between always have something going on and never feel like boring padding. Some weak points of the action scenes is that the baddies seem to like to run towards the sniper's hideout without shooting just to be easily killed instead of trying to hide. Maybe they are just in panic, don't get where the shots are coming from and think that they are running from the shots and not into them. Maybe it's the director's fault, both possibilities are realistic.
The soundtrack is nowhere as subtle-but-memorable as Gary Chang's soundtrack in the first two movies and also not as melancholic as the American Beautyesque soundtrack of the third Sniper movie. It sounds generic however it fits to the mood of the slower scenes and gets more energetic in the action scenes. It still manages to play a couple of similar tunes to the Chang version. Not much to complain about.
In conclusion I have to say that the Sniper series treated their fans way better than other series based on movies from the 90ies(see Darkman, Anaconda, Operation Delta Force). They might not be masterpieces and surely the Sniper sequels have been criticized for some factual errors in their plots/weapons/locations. In these regards "Sniper: Reloaded" may not be different. However for fans it is a great reboot of a series that just could not have survived with an aging Tom Berenger. I would never had thought that I would say that but: Introducing Beckett's son to series was probably the best solution in order to being able to continue the series. With Billy Zane the producers have established connection to an important character from the first movie. While the movie never feels like it belongs into the cinemas, it is obvious that everyone involved put huge effort into making the final result as good as possible. Which sadly is not that common in today's DTV movies.
Ratings Sniper: Reloaded 8/10 (with a possible fan-boy bonus of 1.5-2 points :) )
For reference: Sniper 1: 9.5/10 Sniper 2: 6/10 Sniper 3: 6.5/10
With that in mind: Make another one!
Typical story for young brainless girls based on Spears's virgin image....
3 "best friends", and a "sexy guy" take a trip across the country, hoping to become famous. After not having enough money to repair their car Lucy (very badly-played by B.Spears) "sings" at a nightclub. And it "changes" her life forever... WOW, I know many bad movies but it is the TOP of them. The story, I guess it was written by one of Britney's managers, is soooo boring that you can asleep. I hope there won't be more of such movies......