'Sniper' starred Tom Berenger as Thomas Beckett. He was a world class sniper. Apparently that unintentionally funny movie from 1993 was so beloved that they decided to make two DTV sequels featuring an aged Berenger a decade later. Now, eighteen years after the original, they've relaunched the series with a third sequel. Good thing Billy Zane was still around doing nothing so he could reprise his role of Richard Miller. I can't really see a reason why 'Sniper' got yet another sequel, but it did.
Thomas Beckett had a son. Brandon Beckett is also in the Marines, but hasn't been trained as a sniper… yet. Beckett and his group of Marines find themselves in the Congo under the command of the UN as peacekeepers. They've been tasked with securing a foreign national from a nearby farm and bringing him in before the rebels overtake the man's land and kill him.
What seems like it will be an easy extraction of a civilian soon turns deadly as Beckett and his men are fired upon by a deadly, unseen force. A sniper (dun-dun-dunnn)!
Brandon Beckett is killed by the sniper… only kidding. I was just making sure you're still paying attention. They're not going to kill Thomas Beckett's kid. He's the star of this movie, even though Billy Zane drifts in and out of scenes like he's lost and can't find his way back to his trailer.
Standard action movie clichés ensue as Beckett takes it upon himself to find the sniper who killed his men, after an unhelpful UN general tells him to stand down. Reaching deep within and finding his own Jack Bauer, Beckett decides to go rogue to find this well-trained killer.
I bet you can easily guess what happens next. Beckett enlists the help of a bored Billy Zane and they go looking for this mysterious mad man with a rifle. Beckett soon sees the injustices going on in the Congo and finds ways to help civilians, children, and the like. There are enough touchy-feely feel-good moments in this movie to give you a few cavities or run and tell someone you trust.
Miller takes Beckett under his wing, so to speak, and in a montage or two teaches him the finer points of becoming a sniper. After that Beckett is a trained killing machine who vows revenge on the faceless assassin that gunned down his men. You know this movie is leading up to a climatic fire fight at the end, so just go with it.
I can't see 'Sniper: Reloaded' becoming anything other than a Saturday morning movie on some obscure cable channel. Just don't bother with it.
We Blu-ray reviewers often use the term "mixed bag," but sometimes that's the only way to describe a video presentation that seems schizophrenic.
There are times when the lush greenery of the African wilderness looks rather stunning, but then the next shot will be soft, noisy, and devoid of fine detail. It's like that all the way through the movie. Clarity seeps back into the picture only to be booted out by hazy washed out colors in the next scene. It's really weird how up and down this transfer is. Most of the time colors appear flat, and so do the movie's blacker areas. There were a couple instances of aliasing, but the other annoying anomalies are kept at bay.
Overall, this presentation's inconsistency becomes annoyingly grating.
'Sniper: Reloaded's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track is about as generic as action movie sound mixes come, but it does the job satisfactorily. That's something the video presentation can't say.
Dialogue is intelligible, with directionality working overtime as soldiers shout commands at each other out of frame. The fake-sounding whizzing bullets became tedious after a while, but the sound does move seamlessly around the sound stage as sniper fire glides across the frame with a metallic whoosh. Explosions are given a somewhat weighty helping of LFE whenever it is needed.
Like I said this mix is something you've heard a thousand times over with other generic action movies, but technically speaking, it's proficient.
No special features included other than previews for other Sony movies.
Maybe in another eighteen years we can get another reboot of the 'Sniper' franchise! I know I'll be waiting with baited breath for Billy Zane to set aside his walker, hoist his rifle, and pass along the ways of the sniper to another generation of assassin. Seriously, it could happen! They must be running out of ideas for DTV movies, because 'Sniper: Reloaded' is just sad, tired, and unnecessary. The video is oddly inconsistent all the way through, while the audio is about on par with other loud action films. I can't see any feasible reason why someone would want to pick up this title, so this is one to avoid.