I remember being mildly entertained by this slow moving action film back in the day and re-watching it now, I was again mildly entertained. Tom Berenger plays an army sniper who is saddled with a new young know-it-all partner, Billy Zane, and the two must work together on a dangerous mission in South America. The one part of the film that was burned into my memory is a key sequence where the two are outside a military compound trying to move into position for a shot on their target. The best moment of that sequence is Zane looking through a scope across the field only to see a clump of grass unexpectedly slide across the field, which is Berenger stealthily getting into position. The build-up to this sequence of Berenger and Zane trekking through the jungle is not especially well written, but the two actors make the most of it and do manage to make it watchable. The events of the film occurring afterwards aren't all that interesting either. The filmmakers clearly wanted to make this a taught psychological thriller of dueling snipers and diverging world views, but the script is nowhere smart enough for that. I did see that Walon Green ("The Wild Bunch" "Hill Street Blues") was one of the executive producers and Barry Levinson ("The Wire" "Bugsy") was attached to direct at one point, so very likely this was going to be a much smarter film somewhere along the line. Still, that one set piece in the middle of the film and strong performances by Berenger and Zane make "Sniper" worth checking out. The great J.T. Walsh also appears in the film, but if you want a great sniper duel film, watch "Enemy at the Gates" instead.
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A US Marine sniper is partnered with a SWAT member to take out rebel leaders in the jungles of Panama.
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April 7, 2019