Plot: Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger) is a master marksman with countless experience in the field, a true hardened veteran. He has been tasked to venture to South America and put his sniper skills to use, to take out some undesirables ahead of an important upcoming election. He won’t be alone however, as fellow sniper Richard Miller (Billy Zane) will be at his side and while Miller outranks Beckett, he has little real world experience, especially in this jungle environment. The two clash from the start, as Beckett is goal oriented and understands how missions work in the field, while Miller is focused on protocol and doing things by the book. But they will have to work together just to survive the mission and elude a dangerous counter-sniper in the area, let alone complete their perilous mission.
Entertainment Value: This is a lean, effective thriller that puts the emphasis on the leads and jungle atmosphere, both of which are rock solid here. This could easily have felt like two guys wandering through the jungle, but instead Sniper always feels like it has a purpose and the visuals keep us oriented, which is no small feat, given how similar most of the locations look. The atmosphere is what drives this one, as the mood is tense and the in-fights between the leads keep things on edge, as if the constant threat of being discovered or taken out by rival snipers wasn’t enough. Sniper has some action to be sure, but I think the tense atmosphere is the real draw here, as it helps the movie stand out from similar pictures. Tom Berenger is quite good in one of the leads, in a role that shares common ground with some of his other soldier oriented characters, so he is a more than solid anchor for Sniper. Billy Zane is good here as well and the two have a good back and forth that fuels the movie, adds tension, and leads to some of the more dramatic moments. In the end, Sniper is an effective thriller with some nice bursts of action and earns a solid recommendation.
No nakedness. These soldiers are all business, so no time to get into monkey business with the local girls. The movie is about snipers, so as you might expect there are some nice gunshot wounds and here, some even unfold in slow motion with some fun, gushy blood bursts. Not over the top levels of bloodshed, but a nice splash of crimson from the featured wounds. In addition to the gun related violence, we have a tense interrogation scene and a knife to the foot, the latter of which is quite wince inducing and provides some solid bloodshed. The dialogue is fine, but aside from some tough guy talk, not much of it is memorable or all that wild. The two snipers have some heated exchanges that stand out, however. Not much craziness to speak of, as Sniper keeps things fairly grounded and reeled in.
Overall Insanity: 0/10