Third Chance at One Shot
Despite some people such as Captain Laraby (Troy Winbush) thinking he is a relic who doesn't play by the rules Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger) is still in the Marines and still one of the World's best snipers. But after a life of action Beckett gets many a restless night as he is haunted by those he has killed and those close to him he has lost such as best friend Paul Finnegan (John Doman) whose son has just got married. So it comes as a shock when Beckett is approached by his old friend Avery (Denis Arndt) of the NSA who wants him for a specific mission, to kill Paul Finnegan as he never died and now is a terrorist in Vietnam known as the Cobra. The question is will Beckett be able to kill a man he knew only as a friend who saved his life.
"Sniper 3" was a pleasant surprise as whilst featuring nothing special it was solid and not what you expected from a third movie in a franchise which has never been spectacular. Don't get me wrong as "Sniper 3 is still flawed and is only going to appeal to those who have watched the first two or have a fondness for action b-movies but all the bits fit nicely together to create a movie which has a mix of character, action and story.
What makes "Sniper 3" is the basic premise of Beckett being sent on a mission to assassinate the man he knew as his friend and who at one point saved his life. Director P.J. Pesce uses this and focusing in on Beckett's finger resting over the trigger magnificently to create tension and Berenger sells it as well with a controlled performance. And it is needed as the action side is on the side of fantasy with Beckett pulling off a shot with a handgun which most snipers couldn't do with a rifle.
Of course things are not as simple as they first seem, when are they ever, and Beckett ends up being arrested by the Vietnamese police. I won't say what happens other than to say there is double crosses, gun fire, chases and all the action which you expect from this sort of direct to video movie. In truth I would have preferred if the movie was more believable when it came to the action but the escapism of it all is good fun.
What this all boils down to is that "Sniper 3" works; it is entertaining escapism for those who enjoyed the first two movies. But it is a direct to video b-movie and so whilst solidly put together isn't anything more than average.