For the most part, any film that relates itself to a franchise by having the words "Son of" end up doing horrible with fans and audiences. Son of the Mask (2005) is a perfect example of this type of fail. And then there are the few that actually respect their elders instead of jumping all over them. Sniper: Reloaded is exactly what it implies in the title; Berenger's out, time to bring in his "son" to fill in the shoes. And it's done almost perfectly to that of the first Sniper (1993).
This "fourquel", as some would call it, is about the story of Sgt. Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins) who decides to fill in for his legendary father, Master Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Beckett, played by Tom Berenger in the past three films. Collins looks astonishingly similar to that of Berenger and it was stroke of luck that he acts just like him too. Thank you Christa Schamberger for casting Collins, you're great! And that's just one actor to be thankful for.
Then there's the character of Richard Miller (Billy Zane) who is now overgrown looking and has receding hair. So much for what he used to be! Now he's back to help Beckett's son become a sniper. And it's an honor to see Zane's character as the father figure in this film. This is the duo that made this franchise a hit and it's gratifying to see Richard Miller reciprocating what he learned to Tom Beckett's son. Not mention the fact that Zane makes his character so nonchalant yet charismatic. I laughed at a lot of the lines Miller had to say. It was fun to see him again.
The way John Fasano configured the script was cleverly written. There are some many juicy hints and references that will fans cringing with joy. Right at the beginning fans will even see a military record of Tom Beckett with an authenticated picture. Sweet. The audience will even learn why Brandon Beckett joined the marines. A specific character mentions even the line "One shot, two kills". Ahhh the memories! One thing that disappointed me was that even with all these clues, the truth to what happened to Thomas Beckett is left unmarked. Why? I guess the only thing we can assume is that since Berenger did not reprise the role, the character of Beckett Sr. is dead too. Oh well.
Like the past two sequels, the sniper franchise has moved to an action genre and has abandoned the thriller part of it. That still annoyed me but for what it's worth, this particular action was more entertaining than Sniper 2 (2002) or Sniper 3 (2004) put together. The carnage was turned up too which was a nice touch. It made the warfare more fun to watch. Credit to director Claudio Fäh, also director of far less entertaining Hollow Man 2 (2006) for the action sequences. His direction was much better than the Hollow Man sequel.
The scenery is great too. Sniper 2 (2002) was in the midst of a city and it didn't seem as real for a sniper to be taking out enemies there than in a Panamanian jungle. Sniper 3 (2004) had some of that but still failed to elevate it much higher. But Sniper: Reloaded is all filmed in the African Sahara. The audience will even get to see live animals; simply beautiful. Both Mark Sayfritz and Marcus Trumpp had an enjoyable musical soundtrack. Of course since this is a direct-to-video sequel it won't be released, but it does feel authentic and not just random notes put together.
Finally, as love interests go, I'd say it didn't have to be penned in but it did help make a good subplot. Annabel Wright plays Beckett's secret lover, Lt. Ellen Abramowitz, who helps him find the bad guys and take them out. I'm not sure why a sex scene was obligatory to have in the running time though. I guess it was that the story revolved around Collins, and because he's hunk, he's suppose to have sex with a fairly attractive military chick? I don't know. But overall I was very pleased with the outcome and it even leaves itself open for another sequel, which hopefully will happen with the same cast from this movie.
Aside the few nit-picks, Sniper: Reloaded is hard not to enjoy. The story, action, music, script and atmosphere by far surpass the last two sequels.
12 out of 16 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.