Ming is renowned as the top shooter in the police force. Recently, his former teammate who killed a hostage, has just been released. With only vengeance in his mind, her former partner is determined to take on Ming and the police, believing they are the real culprits for his fall. The movie is basically about sniper cops fighting criminals. In terms of action, The Sniper certainly delivers, with lots of shootouts and buckets of bloody violence. The sharpshooting angle does give it a different feel to the usual cop thrillers, and the film packs in more rooftop action than Infernal Affairs. However, When you think sniper two things come to mind, Head shots and the pink mist of gore and brain mater from the head shot. Movie lacks in both departments.
Firstly the performance of Edison Chen is uninteresting and bland. It goes without saying that Edison can’t act and despite having praised his abilities to play a dog in Dog Bite Dog, there is no doubt within my mind that Edison still cannot act and thinks he is cool, when obviously he is not. The film was always going to be about action rather than substance, and it is here that the editing out of Chen’s scenes has likely had a real benefit, as it prevents the plot from ever being sidetracked by needless melodrama or pointless character arcs that were clearly not interesting enough to have added any worthwhile depth.
The Sniper’s strongest section is its first hour, with an elevator shootout and subsequent chase that reps the movie’s highlight. Third act, featuring a shootout in an abandoned building, is more by-the-numbers, as the character psychology becomes more simplistic. This of course only makes things even more entertaining, and the proceedings do at times verge on high camp, especially during the many training montages. Checking in at a quick eighty minutes or so, The Sniper looks and feels like it’s missing whole chunks of storylines or scenes that, for some reason never made it to the finished cut.
The character that we end up getting the most insight into is the villain, which is an intersting aspect about the film. But when we get down to it, you’re probably not going to be watching The Sniper for the acting. Fortunately for you, there’s plenty of gunpowder to be had. That is about all this film has going for it unfortunately. All in all, The Sniper is simply a mild success for me yet a commercial failure. The main thing is that this is a movie, but it never seems to run like one because the the bar is set really low and it aims at it. The film is worth a watch, as either background noise while you study or perhaps watch it on a rainy lazy Sunday. Either way, you could do a lot worse.