MOVIE MADNESS #55: SNIPER 2

Tom Berenger returns to the role of military sniper Thomas Beckett after nearly a decade hiatus. Beckett has since retired after a medical discharge from the injuries he endured in the original film. The CIA recruits the 50-year-old Beckett for a treacherous mission in the Balkans to take out a Serbian general. Along for the ride is yet another hotshot spotter (Bokeem Woodbine) and their contact Sofia (Erika Marozsan).

This sequel is directed by Craig R. Baxley, who is most famous for backing up other directors like John McTiernan on “Predator” and Warren Beatty on “Reds”.

Baxley’s resume also includes directing (first and second unit) and stunt coordinator on “The A-Team” TV series. Baxley’s action film career began with “Action Jackson” starring Carl Weathers and “Stone Cold” with Brian Bosworth.

With Sniper 2, Baxley tries to harness some of the allure of the first film but Woodbine is no Billy Zane. He might be unstable but he never gets under Berenger’s skin like Zane did.

The stunts are kind of funny given Baxley’s “The A-Team” background.

Erika Marozsán’s addition to the cast makes me kind of wonder what it would be like for Beckett to be teamed up with a female spotter.

You always have to wonder why movies like “Sniper 2” get made. Here’s how, movies like this used to get made when some producer scans the video catalog of rental numbers provided by a video rental company like Blockbuster and sees which movies have steady rentals.

Then backchecks to see how much a sequel would be to produce. Making Sniper 2 was super cheap. Berenger’s salary is affordable, Baxley knows how to work on a super cheap budget coming from TV and well its filmed in Hungary. The movie cost $5 million to make which is about as much as it costs to make a cheaply made sci-fi TV pilot. Then with the success of the original’s video rentals and the star returning you have a really marketable sequel. With home video going the way of the dinosaur, producers will probably be watching PPV numbers now and Walmart $5 bin shoppers.

This same logic goes to why people like Steven Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and all the WWE superstars have action careers. Action movies are super cheap to make. Oh and in case you are wondering the success of games like “Call of Duty”, “Splinter Cell”, etc, etc also help producers pull the trigger on greenlighting films like these.

Yes this movie was made on shoestring budget. Yes Berenger is the only reason to see this. But it is good for a lazy summer afternoon or a late night brain-number.

1.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

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