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Sniper
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2002
Since I did not expect an action-packed on-your-the-edge-of-your seat film, I was not disappointed with this movie.
I saw it as basically a character study, between an older, more experienced man (Tom Berenger), and a younger, inexperienced and proud man (Billy Zane). They are foisted together on a jungle mission, and while Zane's character is *supposed* to be the superior officer, he soon learns that he is out of his element. Berenger's character calls him "son" as he leads him through the jungle, being simultaniously irritated yet supportive over Zane's inexperience.
I found myself caring about these characters, and appreciating the contrast between them. While this film had flaws (the ending, while adequate, lacked a little "punch"), I still enjoyed the movie overall. The performances of both actors was good -- particularly Berenger, who does the "steely emotionless" thing quite well. Zane was also good at looking a little queazy and out of his element.
I found this movie to be a worthwhile viewing experience. I hear that "Sniper 2" has been filmed (Berenger reprising his role), so I am interested in seeing what Berenger's character is up to now.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2000
This not completely unpleasant diversion could have been a landmark film - if - it had been instead overtly made as the story of its OBVIOUS inspiration, Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock II. Berenger delivers, but the script lets him down. Those knowledgable of Gunny Hathcock will immediately recognize the film's fictional retelling of actual events: the killing of the enemy sniper with a shot through his scope, the 4-day stalk across 2,000 yards of open country, the "Apache Woman" - all are represented in this film. The film that could have been, and I wish would have been, is the story of Gunny Hathcock. "Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills" by Charles Henderson is available right here on Amazon.com. Read the Henderson book, then watch the Berenger film, and you will KNOW Hathcock was the inspiration. Sadly, even unjustly, the film neither mentions nor credits Gunny Hathcock. (Also available at Amazon.com is Henderson's second work about Hathcock, "Silent Warrior : The Marine Sniper's Vietnam Story Continues.")
As the film stands, it is "okay." But it could have been so much more.
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55 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 1999
I AM A RETIRED ARMY SNIPER SERVING TWO TOURS IN VIETNAM. WHEN THIS MOVIE CAME OUT I WAS CURIOUS AS TO WHAT WOULD BE DEPICTED ON FILM. SOME OF THE MOVIE WAS FAIRLY ACCURATE WHILE OTHER PARTS WERE PURE HOLLYWOOD NONSENSE. I THINK THE SELECTION OF TOM BERENGER WAS RIGHT-0N FOR THE PART OF BECKETT WHILE BILLY ZANE LEFT ALOT TO BE DESIRED. I WISH THE MOVIE HAD GONE MORE INTO THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE SNIPER TRADE SUCH AS ALLOWING FOR WIND, HEAT MIRAGES, AND MOVING TARGETS, ALONG WITH
THE ADJUSTMENT OF THE TARGET KNOBS ON THE SCOPE AS MANY PEOPLE SITTING IN THE THEATER DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT EXACTLY WAS GOING ON AT TIMES. I THOUGHT THE FIRST KILL IN THE MOVIE WHERE BECKETT SHOOTS CABRERO WHILE HIS SPOTTER GIVES HIM DIRECTION AND RANGE WAS PROBABLY THE MOST ACCURATE OF ALL THE SCENES IN THIS MOVIE. WHAT THEY ONLY TOUCH UPON IN THE MOVIE IS THE TERRIBLE FEEL YOU GET FROM THE FIRST TIME YOU TAKE A HUMAN BEINGS LIFE. SNIPER WORK IS SHOOTING PEOPLE WHEN THEY LEAST SUSPECT IT OR ARE NOT AT A COMBAT READY POSITION. WE WERE TAUGHT NOT TO LOOK AT THE EYES FOR THEY BURN INTO YOUR SOUL. HOWEVER A SNIPER WILL SAVE MANY MORE FRIENDLY LIVES THAN HE WILL EVER TAKE BECAUSE OF HIS DEADLINESS ON THE BATTLEFIELD. I ENCOURAGE ANY YOUNG MAN THINKING ABOUT JOINING THE MILITARY SNIPER RANKS TO ENLIST WITH THE ARMY OR USMC AND WORK HIS WAY INTO THE SNIPER COURSES THERE.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2003
Who can say that this movie is bad? I read a review that it was boring, and no plot. All they did was wonder through a jungle, and one snaps and starts trying to kill the other. This is my reply to them: Ever heard of Character Development, and behaviour, how people react to things?
Just picture yourself in a jungle, and you can be shot at, at any moment without warning. Anyone can snap from that.
This film is more for adults, who understands more of what goes on. Younger people just look for action, and some great special effects, blowing up, etc.
Just buy it! It's a great movie!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Tom Berenger is the best US Marines sniper. He is competent and careful, and cares for the man who serves as his spotter. He has little patience with incompetence. He has seen people die because of it. He carries several dog tags of his spotters who were killed. He frequently plays with the tags as Captain Queeg did with marbles in the Cain Mutiny Court Martial, but not because he has a psychological problem, but because he feels this shows respect to their memory. Berenger plays his part well.

So, too, does Billy Zane, a civilian who is assigned the task of being Berenger's spotter after his prior one is killed. Zane is an expert shooter, but has no experience as a sniper or spotter. Unlike Berenger, he has a psychological problem. Despite his ability, he is unable to shoot and kill a person. He freezes. While flying to meet Berenger, his helicopter is attacked by an enemy sniper. Zane has an opportunity to kill the sniper, but freezes. The man he fails to kill will soon be hunting Berenger and him when they enter the jungle to fulfill their sniper mission. This freezing happens again. Berenger tells Zane to shoot a man, but he doesn't do so. And, again, as a result, this man reappears later and tries to kill them. Thus there is tension between the two men.

This is a well-acted action film filled with suspense: will the sniper team be able to fulfill its mission despite the strife? Will Berenger be able to save Zane? Will Zane be able to change? And, if so, how?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 26, 2007
Sniper

I enjoyed watching Tom Berenger in Sniper. I went through the Jungle Warfare School (JWS) in Panama in 1969 and the movie depicted the jungle fairly well. The Indios did follow us around all the time. The only possible error I noticed was the recticle for the scope. I never saw a red dot scope, only a mil spec, cross hair scope on a sniper rifle. The cross hairs were typically gradated in mils for purposes of adjusting for range and any cross winds that were present. All-in-all a surprisingly accurate movie for Hollywood.

Highly recommended for fans of the action adventure, military movie genre,

Gunner November 2007
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2004
The only thing really similar in this trilogy is the character of Tom Berenger though all three of these movies are equally good for the most part. I won't be able to write a synopsis of Sniper without giving spoilers because these are movies people must view for themselves. If you like good action flicks with a good story involving a few plot twists, the Sniper films are sure to satisfy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2011
The first time I saw this was the night Bill Clinton lost both houses of congress, after a night of drinking in DC with political junkies like myself. It got me totally out of myself - I was distraught at the election results - and stuck in my mind as a must-have. I did not buy it until now, largely because I thought it was too expensive (I got a region 2 for about $5). At long last, I have watched it again and thoroughly enjoyed it, though did see plenty of weaknesses I didn't notice before.

On the positive side, the characters and acting are truly excellent, both Berenger (the wizened, calloused lifer) and Zane (the brash young man on the move). They head into the jungle of Central America in a state of high tension, with Berenger unsure of the cocky civilian who is not being honest about his inexperience. Right off, Berenger is impressed with Zane's instincts, and in a way takes him under his wing as he undertakes what can only be described as a suicide mission. They meet an array of characters along the way, including a wily local Indian and a wonderfully mysterious stalker whom Berenger once mentored. As the characters pretensions melt away as they approach their kills, the two men begin to strongly bond, though Zane remains murderously angry towards his guide. THe climax, with unexpected dangers and some brutal fights, is very realistic in my view and well worth the price of admission. This is an excellent war film, the first sniper film that I thought was believable, even if a product of hollywood.

On the negative side, it is difficult to understand the terrain and even what exactly it is they want to accomplish. It also did not make sense to me that the National Security Council - a White House bureaucracy - would send down an inexperienced hot shot (a clear violation of the law) when it has cold professionals like Berenger. Finally, the ending is rather abrupt and without resolution.

REcommended warmly. This is great fun and fascinating. If you like the sniper genre, I would recommend Enemy at the Gates as well.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2000
From the first time I watched this movie, to when I was waiting for it to appear on DVD, I have treasured this movie. I remember when I knew that I wanted to join the military, but could not decide what to do. SNIPER answered that question for me, and soon I'll be shipping out to Marine Corps Boot Camp at San Diego. This movie is AAA #1, and if you don't think so than...oh well, you're only missing the best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I liked this movie for no other reason than the fact that it is small budget but still is effective in discussing the profession of a sniper. The movie has many rough edges as far as acting, accuracy and story line go, but it does convey the essence of being a sniper. For a small production, this movie is quite watchable.
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