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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Sniper 2 (2002)

"You know, I used to do this kind of work because I was following orders. But I've got to ask you now, what's in it for me?"
- Beckett (Tom Berenger)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 10, 2003

Stars: Tom Berenger, Bokeem Woodbine
Other Stars: Erika Marozsán, Linden Ashby, Daniel Butler
Director: Craig R. Baxley

MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Run Time: 01h:30m:30s
Release Date: March 11, 2003
UPC: 043396085893
Genre: war

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C C-BA- C-

DVD Review

Sniper 2 (2002) is a followup of sorts to 1993's Sniper, which starred Tom Berenger as gruff master marksman Thomas Beckett. In this new chapter, Berenger is back again as Beckett, only now he's a fifty-year-old civilian who has been bouncing around from job to job, until one day he is recruited to pull off a top secret assassination by the CIA. It's one of those typical "off the books" assignments, and involves him picking off a crazy general in the Balkans who has been doing some ethnic cleansing. Beckett gets partnered up with Cole (Bokeem Woodbine), a high ranking marksman in his own right, who is sprung from death row strictly for this particular mission.

Beckett and Cole find themselves up to their rifle butts in trouble quickly, and in order to survive they have to join forces with a ragtag Balkans underground movement, led by the wide-eyed Sophia (Erika Marozsán). As the two snipers work to make their way across hostile land to an extraction point, they have to engage in numerous battles with enemy soldiers along the way. The firefights are the usual batch of explosive war movie gunfire that leave the heroes unscathed, while the baddies get riddled like so much Swiss cheese.

The story is a little lacking in substance, and even the introduction of a plot point involving the government "using" Beckett doesn't seem to gel. So, Sniper 2 then becomes a rather weary series of battles, generally culminating in one, two or three large and fiery explosions. Beckett at one point commandeers a streetcar and barrels through a couple of police cars, causing cartoonishly large, whooshing fireballs.

As this is a movie about snipers, it shouldn't come as much of surprise that there is plenty of grim and serious talk about trajectories, angles, distances and wind speed. We also get quite a bit of scope cross-hair shots, especially during the big sniper vs. sniper battle that makes up the film's final act. There are only so many times you can build drama and tension through the use of closeups of squinting eyes and rifle scopes before it becomes tired. A lot of bad war movie clichés come into play, including some laughably unrealistic encounters with Claymore mines in a booby-trapped sewer system.

Did we need a sequel to Sniper? Really?

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Columbia TriStar has included 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 fullframe transfers, both on the same side of this dual-layered disc. Colors are relatively bright, though a number of scenes have what I suspect to be intentionally washed out and color-corrected, which enhance the bombed out locales where a lot of the film's big sequences take place. Some minor haloing was evident, but the source print didn't seem to have too many other defects.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 Dolby Digital audio transfer is the best thing about this disc. Rear channels handle a lot of music cues, as well as all manner of discrete gunshots, helicopters and assorted explosions; the tank sequence elicited some deep rumbles from my sub, too. Dialogue, minimalistic as it is, is mixed clearly, and is clear even during the noisy battle scenes. If you ever needed an example of how a well-mixed audio transfer could make a barely mediocre film engaging, this would be it.

A French 2.0 surround track is also included.


Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Thai with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring I Spy, xXx
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Extras are not the order of the day here, with just a trio of trailers (Sniper 2, I-Spy and xXx) filling out the supplements. The disc is cut into 28 chapters, and features a bevy of international subtitle options.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

It's interesting to think that it took ten years for a sequel to a mediocre war film like Sniper to get made. Why it was considered needed at all is another story entirely. Resurrecting Berenger's squinty-eyed marksman for a dull series of encounters doesn't serve any purpose that I can readily determine.

At ease, soldier.


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