Chad Michael Collins, Tom Berenger, Sayaka Akimoto
Legendary sniper Thomas Beckett and his son Special Ops Sniper Brandon Beckett are on the run from the CIA, Russian Mercenaries, and a Yakuza-trained assassin with sniper skills that rival both legendary sharp shooters.
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Russian Dolby 5.1
Release Date: 6/16/2020
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Sniper: American Assassin [Blu-Ray] (2020)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 14, 2020)
Back in 1993, Sniper earned about $19 million at the box office, a figure that seemed sub-mediocre even then. Nonetheless, someone must’ve liked the franchise, as it went on to spawn seven – count ‘em, seven! - direct-to-video sequels.
For the latest in this shockingly persistent series, we go to 2020’s Sniper: Assassin’s End. As he prepares to sign an important trade deal with the United States, someone assassinates South American leader Bruno Diaz (Victor Favrin).
Special Ops sniper Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins) finds himself set up for this crime. In an attempt to clear his name, Brandon pairs with Sgt. Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger), a legendary sniper – and his dad.
No one expects greatness from a direct-to-video sequel like End - or even goodness, to be honest. “Okayness” seems like the aspiration here, a moderately exciting and engaging way to spend 95 minutes.
Alas, End can’t even live up to those low standards. Trite and dull, the film becomes a failed attempt at an action thriller.
Basically a cat and mouse “innocent man on the run” film, we’ve seen umpteen movies of this sort. I don’t really hold that against End, though, as formulaic flicks can still deliver excitement.
No thrills manifest here, unfortunately, as End feels like a loose collection of action beats in search of a plot. Even with a simple story at its core, the movie fails to follow a logical through-line, especially since it detours from the basic tale too much of the time.
Rather than stick with a taut narrative, End tosses out complications on top of complications, none of which add to the tale. These seem like gratuitous attempts to make the movie feel smarter and more complex than it is, and they just muddy the waters,
Even when End delivers the requisite violence, it feels tired and half-hearted. We get nothing creative or engaging from the action beats, as they seem borrowed from other films.
Better films, too – not that it takes a lot to surpass the low quality of End. A stale collection of plot dead-ends and tepid action beats, this one goes nowhere.
The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus D-
Sniper: Assassin’s End appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a generally positive presentation.
Sharpness looked solid. A few shots were slightly soft, though not to an extreme. Overall, though, definition was mostly good.
No jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and edge haloes seemed absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as the movie stayed clean.
Like most modern action flicks, End often favored a teal tint, though other scenes went with an amber overtone. Within their parameters, the hues appeared well-developed.
Blacks seemed a bit crushed, while shadows were decent. They could be slightly dense, but they remained positive for the most part. In the end, the transfer proved to be more than adequate, though not great.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of End, it brought a moderately peppy mix. With a mix of action scenes, we got gunfire, cars, explosions and helicopters to add a sense of activity to the film.
That said, the mix came with a “direct-to-video” feel that didn’t match with what we’d get for something meant for theatrical release. While the soundscape opened up in a reasonable manner, it didn’t seem as broad and impactful as one might anticipate.
Audio quality seemed fine. Speech was crisp and distinctive, with no edginess or other concerns.
Music was full and rich, while effects came across as lively and accurate. The track boasted adequate low-end when appropriate. All of this was good enough for a “B”.
The disc opens with ads for Greyhound, The Grudge (2020), Bad Boys for Life, Zombieland: Double Tap and Bloodshot. No trailer for End - or any other extras – appears here.
Though I went into Sniper: Assassin’s End with low expectations, it still disappointed. A lackluster, generic stab at an action thriller, the movie brings no excitement or drama to the table. The Blu-ray comes with more than adequate picture and audio but it lacks supplements. Maybe fans of the franchise will derive some pleasure from End, but I found no redeeming value here.
Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars|| Number of Votes: 1|