Directed by: Craig R. Baxley
Starring: Tom Berenger and Bokeem Woodbine
“We’re the ones that unscrew the problems the diplomats make”.
Thomas Beckett (Berenger) is called back into action because not only was he “The Best”, but he’s still “The Best” all these years later. He thought he left his sniping days behind, now that he’s taking yahoos on hunting trips. But the government offers him anything he wants to go to Serbia and assassinate Valstoria, an official who has been behind some sort of ethnic cleansing. Sensing a trick, because if the government is offering him anything, they think he won’t return alive, Beckett simply asks for a restoration of his rank. So they team up Master Gunnery Sergeant Beckett with a prisoner, Cole (Woodbine), who has a chance to earn his freedom if he backs up Beckett on this mission. But as we know, Beckett has a history of losing partners. Can they execute their mission...and their target?
It’s easy to think this installment in the Sniper series was made sometime in the 90’s, right after the first movie. It seems very 90’s. But surprisingly, it was released in 2002. Seeing as the first Sniper was released in 1993, why the filmmakers thought that fans were clamoring for a new Sniper vehicle nine years after the fact remains a mystery. And thus, Sniper 2 does have a “this never needed to be made” kind of feeling throughout. They probably thought it would be worthwhile to have Beckett talk about such things as al-Qaida and Guantanamo Bay, and say things like “Freedom isn’t free”, thus dating the proceedings to the Bush administration. By comparison, the first Sniper movie has more of a timeless feel, not dating to any one era.
It seems like a Nu-Image movie, and it was shot in Hungary instead of Bulgaria. Not helping matters is the awful CGI, which was worse - if such a thing is possible - in 2002 than it is today. So points have to be detracted for that. Come on, that’s a betrayal of everything Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Beckett stands for! He shouldn’t have to tolerate CGI stupidity. It should be only the real deal for him. He has enough problems as it is (there’s some good continuity from the first movie regarding his injuries from torture he suffered). Woodbine, as the backup this time around, makes a worthy foil for Beckett, and he has a very distinctive voice. He should really do voice-overs and cartoons and such. His voice carries his performance here.
Director Baxley, who we’re normally a fan of, because of Action Jackson (1988), I Come In Peace (1990) and Stone Cold (1991), seems to be taking kind of a paycheck assignment here. He’s a competent director, and that shows, but he should have brought the same verve he brought to the aforementioned three movies to this one. He should have made Beckett be able to stand alongside Jackson , Jack Caine, and John Stone as some of his more memorable men of action. Berenger does do his normal high-quality job, but something seems to be missing.
As it stands, Sniper 2 is okay. For a movie that doesn’t need to exist, it’s decent. It’s not offensively bad, it’s just a bit dull and unnecessary. It’s good that it isn’t jokey, and we appreciate that, but there’s no need to run out and see this.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty