(In French, On Cable TV, July 2019) There are times when Sniper feels like a throwback to the Reaganesque military adventures of the 1980s, merrily overthrowing Central American regimes for the heck of it. But as the film advances, it clearly attempts a deeper kind of story with two mismatched snipers, one of them inexperienced and nervous about actually killing anyone. Alas, Sniper doesn’t quite commit to this psychological exploration—before long, we’re watching a solid action film with inventive one-bullet kills (one of them through the scope of a rival sniper, of course) with a structure suspiciously feeling like a horror movie except with meticulously planned shots leading to the gory kills. Our two mismatched buddies do eventually learn to trust each other and become even better killing machines, so at least the film has that bit of machismo going for it. Despite my sarcasm, it’s an adequate film: Tom Berenger and Billy Zane do well in their developing relationship, with director Luis Llosa providing the expected thrills. Sniper is perhaps best known today for having spawned no less than six sequels, all of them straight to video and some of them even reprising the lead actors from the first film. This being said, this first instalment does feel stuck between two poles, being neither completely satisfying as a “fun” war adventure, nor as a psychological exploration of what it takes to be a sniper. The same material has, since then, been covered in far better movies such as Shooter, American Sniper or Enemy at the Gates. This leaves Sniper a bit redundant, although still reasonably entertaining on evenings where there’s nothing else on.