Well I guess we can finally answer the burning question that all of us had earlier this year, was Steven Seagal’s Sniper: Special Forces a part of the ‘Sniper’ series? Apparently not, because here is another official entry in that series. This one, Sniper: Ghost Shooter is actually the sixth in the series. So here is the skinny for people already about to give up; No, it no longer features Tom Berenger, yes, it’s directed by Don Michael Paul and yes, it features fake muzzle flashes and is generally like a lengthy YouTube fan creation.
The film sees Chad Michael Collins return as Brandon Beckett, son of Samuel Beckett (Tom Berenger) as he is tasked with dealing with protection for certain individuals in a trans-Georgian oil pipeline that is under constant attack from insurgents. Beckett is part of a team that is lead by Richard Miller, played by Billy Zane who again returns to the series. Dennis Haysbert also shows up for his paycheque, doing the usual ‘Colonel’ thing, giving orders off-screen. Beckett and various team members travel central and eastern Europe engaging in pitched battles, with the former suspecting that a corrupt individual is within their ranks.
This is a movie that has the now worn idea of casting an actor that has previously appeared in the most profitable movie, putting him on the DVD cover then having other people actually appear in the movie. Billy Zane we’re talking about there, with the ‘sparse screen time’ thing, but I don’t know if I would even bother complaining about that. Worse is the story, which is practically non existent, Collins moves from one location to another, shoot outs occur and a subplot of corruption ‘intrigue’ just kills all will to continue. This movie should not be 100 minutes long and trying to get all political. No, don’t do that. Try 83 minutes with lot’s of sniping.
The best thing about this movie is the locations. They’re varied, moving from Turkey to the 4,000 heights of the Carpathians, or at the very least locations that look convincingly like those places. In movies like Independence Day: Resurgence, we have the cast clearly sitting on a soundstage with fake oceans and fake deserts behind them, with what are clearly studio lights shining awkwardly on their shoulders. So let’s give some credit to Sniper: Ghost Shooter for getting up there and filming those gun battles in those beautiful places. Well done.
But the worst thing about this movie is that the gun battles are poor, we don’t expect real bullets to be fired but in a movie about weapons being fired, we at least expect blanks to be used. Once again then, it’s a case of CGI muzzle flashes and CGI blood, along with terrible CGI gunships that look like PS2 renderings. It pretty much kills the whole point of the movie. That, along with the fact that there is precious little sniping and far too much spray and pray, we expected something a little more tactical. It’s no wonder the entire cast look downright depressed.