“Sniper: Ghost Shooter” is the sixth in the sniper porn Sniper series. The series goes back to 1993 and had some pop in the early days with the starring of Tom Berenger. Alas, he is no longer a participant in the series. This movie could have used him. It was directed by Don Paul and he brings the same talent that resulted in “Starship Troopers 2”. Basically, if you enjoyed that direct-to-DVD opus, you will enjoy its kin. And if you have seen both of them, then you are like me and have an obsession to watch every war movie ever made and/or you do not have much of a life.
The movie opens with Muslim terrorist music. Actors wearing Halloween jihadist costumes have hostages on a beach. Out in the open to facilitate snipers. The terrorist leader insists on a boy behead one of the hostages. A redemption arc begins as Brandon (Chad Michael Collins) can’t bring himself to take the shot. Someone else has to … and misses! For cinematic reasons, the multiple sniper teams had not picked targets and all fired at once. The jihadists run around like chickens with their heads cut off. The snipers slaughter them and bring in a gun ship for overkill. Some of the dead revive themselves to be killed again as the body count exceeds the original total of terrorists. It’s that kind of movie.
The team is given the mission of security for a pipeline in the country of Georgia. Their first task is to protect an oil tycoon who is coming to the site. What genius decided that the best way to protect him is by stationing sniper teams along the route in? Sure enough, the convoy gets ambushed by an Afghan baddie named Gasakov and they can’t do squat. In fact, they lose two of their own to a “ghost shooter” who somehow has their coordinates. Brandon gets exiled to the mountains for questioning the mission. This gives him the chance to meet a charismatic local named Mashkov (Ravil Isyanov) who has a similar back-story of not being able to shoot a child. Small world. Brandon joins Mashkov’s crew in an Alamo style defense against Chechnyens. Many men will die so Brandon can get off probation and the movie can be longer.
Brandon goes rogue (is there any other way to go?) to meet Gasakov and find out who the mole is. He thinks Gasakov will tell him! Somehow he discovers that the ghost sniper is tapping into their drones to get the coordinates. Sniper series meets drone warfare. Now it’s back to the power station for an even more epic Alamo. Going into the fourth quarter, our snipers are getting their asses whipped. That is about to change.
“Sniper: Ghost Shooter” is typical sniper porn. The set pieces are just excuses for slaughter. It is a little unusual that the enemy are doing most of the sniping until the end. In fact, our guys do not snipe an enemy at the power station until the 1:30 mark of the movie. They make up for this deficiency in the final act. Hell, the Colonel (Dennis Haystert) gets to kill some hajjis. Hopefully you like your sniper movies without realistic tactics. Team leader Maj. Miller (Billy Zane) sure doesn’t care about tactics. That might explain the high mortality for his personnel. Speaking of rates, the ratio of deaths to woundings is incredibly high. No doctor was needed for this movie. But then that simply makes it a war movie. The plot tends to be a bit redundant. There are two last stands. They fail to get the ghost shooter twice. Brandon rolls down a hill twice.
On the nonsnarky side, the movie is actually not a bad time waster. The acting is fine and the cast is not bad. Hastert can not appear in an embarrassing movie. The females have the biggest balls and one of them gets to die. Some of the other deaths are unpredictable, too. All the characters are stereotyped, but fortunately underdeveloped. Brandon sucks all the development out of the script. He gets to screw up, go rogue, romance the hot blond spook, and find redemption. The Bin Laden wannabe is lame, but Mashkov is cool. The Ravil Isyanov fan club (of which I am a member) should be happy with his performance. It’s his best work since “Defiance”.
The Sniper series began in 1993. I can remember that some of my high school boys were really into sniping back then. Little did I suspect their demographic would spawn a franchise that would get to a sixth installment (with a seventh due this year). I am not much into these penis enlargement exercises, but “Sniper: Ghost Shooter” is not bad. It is a time waster that does not leave a bad taste in your mouth.
GRADE = C-