Stuntman-turned-action director Craig Baxley's military marksmanship thriller starts sagging in the third act as the anti-climaxes start to pile up, but for the better part of an hour it generates some respectable suspense. Although Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger) won the Kodiac long-range marksmanship competition, he couldn't stop...read more
Stuntman-turned-action director Craig Baxley's military marksmanship thriller starts sagging in the third act as the anti-climaxes start to pile up, but for the better part of an hour it generates some respectable suspense. Although Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger) won the Kodiac long-range marksmanship competition, he couldn't stop the Marines from discharging him. The middle-aged Beckett, whose years of service have left him with a bum hand and squinty vision, is considered too old to cut the mustard in the military, and experiences difficulty supporting himself in civilian life. So when CIA spook James Eckler (Dan Butler) and Colonel Don McKenna (Linden Ashby) approach him with a top secret gig, he's more than happy to sign up, even though he gets the feeling that they regard him as expendable. That suspicion is reinforced when the top brass spring a convict soldier, Cole (Bokeem Woodbine), to serve as Beckett's assistant. Their mission: Take out General Valstoria (Peter Linka), who's personally re-armed Balkan troops and ordered them to continue ethnic cleansing in an area called No Man's Land. Beckett and Cole are flown into a Serbo-Croatian village and receive orders from a beautiful partisan, Sophia (Erika Marozsan). Although the aging Beckett overcomes his infirmities in the field, he can't stop Cole from getting captured after the duo complete their hit on Valstoria successfully. Too honorable to abandon his partner, Beckett involves the local rebels in a daring prison rescue. What Beckett doesn't realize is that Cole's capture was part of the Pentagon's strategy, a plan that didn't include any initiative on Beckett's part. The Valstoria assassination was a pretext for the more important task of springing national hero Pavel (Tamas Puskas) from political prison. In the shadows, a Bosnian sharpshooter takes aim at Beckett, Cole and Pavel; Beckett must figure out who's reporting to whom if he's going to help rather than hinder Cole's official business. This direct-to-video sequel to 1993's theatrical thriller SNIPER, also starring Tom Berenger, salutes further covert service to one's country. Action filmmakers must be relieved to have new villains to exploit; Balkan baddies are giving Middle Eastern miscreants a much-needed breather and insidious Iraqis are no doubt waiting in the wings.
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