Blu-ray Review: “Sniper: Rogue Mission”


Probably figuring they could oh-so-subtly cash in on some Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation traffic by sticking “Rogue” and “Mission” in the damn title, the NINTH Sniper movie isn’t really a Sniper movie at all. Which, frankly may work to its advantage by deviating from mundane action movie structures and for the fact that it was probably just damn dumb luck it landed here, toying foolishly with absolute parody vibes. With a score that’s a flip between Desperado and an Ocean’s Movie and almost zero action, as well as a weird comedy edge and the cinematography you’d expect from an enthusiastic teen film student who’d suddenly discovered his iPhone cam zoom, Rogue Mission is insanely low budget trash; an absolutely monumental train wreck of a production that is almost impossible to turn away from for its 90 minute duration. I found myself wanting to switch off the Blu Ray playback but I wanted to see where the film was going and how it will get there.
After stumbling onto some sex trafficking thing, former sniper turned terrible CIA agent soon becomes ex CIA agent, so he sits in the kitchen of some rando tech nerd (is there any other kind in movies) with his old enemy Lady Death, and a Homeland Security Agent who clearly isn’t required to do any actual work for a living, for, oh, around 71 minutes until it’s time to spend the remaining $46 of the budget on a ‘showdown’ that also won’t require him to use a sniper rifle (I’m being facetious here). It’s amazingly hard to rate Sniper: Rogue Mission. It’s like a 1/10 movie, but it’s more unintentionally entertaining than a hell of a lot of 5 and 6/10 movies out there. It’s so cheap, and noisy, and bad… that’s it’s actually good. It’s nowhere near a guilty pleasure, absolutely nothing about this film was intentionally good, but the madly misguided enthusiasm thrown at every single aspect of this production makes it wondrously hilarious to watch. It’s almost as if the nobody director behind it shot the film with absolutely no idea what he was handling. No idea of the franchise, the preceding films, the characters, the general plots these features follow, or anything. So much so that he convinced himself he was shooting a low budget heist flick, replete with some imaginative filmmaking techniques and the most ridiculous score of the year. Sniper: Rogue Mission’s ‘high’ points include a spectacularly bad alley fight, which has the score to something like Desperado playing out over it, and drops into John Woo slo-mo upon the explosion of… a thrown rubbish bag. It’s epic in its unintentional humour, with zooms all over the shop, like watching a rip-off of a Sergio Leone standoff at x10 speed. Not enough? Well how about fabled Lady Death – trained to be an assassin from childhood – and some goon having a pistol shootout from behind post boxes on opposing sides of a street. Somebody get this director a copy of Naked Gun! Wait, we’re not supposed to be laughing? See that’s the thing about Sniper: Rogue Mission, it halfway tries to take itself seriously, which only makes it more funny!
In the background, returning Sniper series actor Dennis Haysbert, former President Palmer of 24, and veteran from the underrated David Mamet-crafted The Unit TV series, tries his best to almost pull off the movie’s only good scene. A single dialogue-driven confrontation between old spies, across a bar table. It’s almost tense. The silence, the stares, Haysbert’s inimitable tones. Then they drop the needle and a random score kicks in so loud you’re immediately knocked backwards – before the scene is even over – and you’re abruptly reminded that this isn’t even going to get one good scene. But it we do get a whole clutch of terrible ones that are so bad that you’ll be on the floor laughing at them. If you can see it, for free, whilst heavily intoxicated, then that’s a surprisingly recommended way to spend your time.
In conclusion, the film is laughably terrible but at the same time, irresistibly ridiculous. Truly one of the worst films I’ve seen. If there’s one redeeming quality of Sniper Rogue Mission, it’s knowing what to expect on my 2nd viewing. Then I can adequately prepare by slamming down a six-pack first. 

Film Review “American Sniper”

Starring: Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Rated: R
Running time: 2 hrs 12 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

As he looks through the scope of his high-powered rifle, Chris Kyle (Cooper) describes the scene. A young boy and his mother are standing on the street while a group of American soldiers approaches. The woman hands the boy something and he starts walking towards the soldiers. Kyle thinks the woman handed the boy a grenade and asks for confirmation. No one else saw the handoff so now it’s up to Kyle to make a decision. Shoot an innocent boy and cause a world-wide uproar, or defend the troops he’s there to protect. He releases the safety, exhales quietly and….

Featuring an amazing performance by Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper” is Clint Eastwood’s return as an important filmmaker. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Eastwood’s take on “Jersey Boys” last summer but musicals are not his bread and butter. After years of “one for you” (a “Dirty Harry” flick) and “one for me” (“Honky Tonk Man,” “White Hunter, Black Heart”) with Warner Brothers, Eastwood created “Unforgiven,” winning his first directing Oscar along the way. He followed that film up with “Mystic River” (another Oscar nod) and “Million Dollar Baby” (another Oscar) as well as two very different films that looked at war through different eyes, “Flags of My Father” and “Letters From Iwo Jima.” A musical was probably a nice break but Eastwood is best when he’s looking at life and the moral questions it asks.

Based on the exploits Kyle himself highlighted in his book of the same name, “American Sniper” is a film that will have you on the edge of your seat constantly. Eastwood puts the viewer INTO the war. It’s you looking through the scope, fingering the trigger and praying you’re not wrong.

Carrying an extra 40 pounds of muscle, Cooper transforms himself in to Kyle. Gone is the smart-alecky Phil from “The Hangover.” Instead we gaze upon one of America’s finest. Cooper loses himself in the performance giving a believability that is often lost in films like this. He is matched emotion for emotion by Miller, who portrays his frightened wife, Taya. Her fear, home alone, is just as real as the fear Kyle faces in the field. But that fear doesn’t stop him from doing his job, emerging from his tours of duty as the most deadly sniper in U.S. military history. Kyle is so feared by the enemy that “Wanted” posters featuring just images of just his tattoos begin springing up. His story is uplifting as well as it is tragic, and should be remembered for a long time to come.


Related Content

Win Passes to the Kansas City Premiere of “American Sniper”

Media Mikes has teamed up with Warner Brothers to give (25) of our readers and a guest the opportunity to see the new film, “American Sniper,” before anyone else in Kansas City.

The screening will be held on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at the Pharaoh Theatre in Independence, Missouri and will start at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is head to and register. (25) random entries will be chosen and those chosen will receive a pass for (2) to attend this screening. This contest ends on January 5, 2015. Winners will be notified by email.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, “American Sniper” is based on the life and exploits of Navy Seal Sniper Chris Kyle, our military’s most proficient sniper. The film stars two-time Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper as Kyle and Sienna Miller as his wife, Taya. The film is based on Chris Kyle’s book of the same name.

“American Sniper” opens nationwide on Friday, January 16, 2015.

Good luck!

January 8, 2015
7:00 p.m.

Pharaoh Theatre
114 West Maple
Independence, Missouri


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DVD Review “Sniper: Legacy”

Actors: Tom Berenger Chad Michael Collins, Dominic Mafham
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: September 30, 2014
Running Time: 98 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

How can you no to Tom Berenger, star of the original “Sniper”, returning to his role of Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Beckett? It’s is impossible. This next chapter of the hit action franchise also sees the return of “Sniper: Reloaded” star Chad Michael Collins (“Company of Heroes”) as Becket’s son, Sergeant Brandon Beckett. This is actually aka “Sniper 5” but the series still has some life left in it and seeing these two generations of Sniper heroes team up is some decent fun. Let’s hope that this gets some traction and will we see future installments as well!

Official Premise: A rogue gunman is assassinating high-ranking military officers one by one. When Gunnery Sgt. Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins, Sniper: Reloaded) is informed his father, legendary shooter Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger) has been killed, Brandon springs into action to take out the perpetrator. But when his father rescues him from an ambush, Brandon realizes he’s a pawn being played by his superiors to draw out the killer. It’s up to the two men, bound by blood, to bring an end to the carnage.

“Sniper: Legacy” is directed by Don Michael Paul (“Company of Heroes” also with Chad Michael Collins) from a screenplay by John Fasano (Sniper: Reloaded) and Don Michael Paul. This is not outstanding but it is definitely entertaining if you enjoy the franchise. It includes a great supporting cast with Dennis Haysbert (“24”), Mercedes Masohn (“NCIS: Los Angeles”), Dominic Mafham (“Land Girls”), Doug Allen (“Band of Brothers”), Mark Lewis Jones (“Game of Thrones”), and Nestor Serrano (Act of Valor). No special features included here.