HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Sniper: Special Ops
HTS Overall Score:67
Ahhh, Steven Seagal. I remember when that name actually sparked excitement amongst martial arts and action movie fans alike. The good old 1980’s where the introduction to real Aikido was a unique thing and his particular brand of cool guy action was refreshing and invigorating in a genre that was already reaching saturation point with tough muscle bound good guys with unlimited ammo. However, like most of the great action heroes, he is not relegated to DTV films to pay his monthly power bills. They’ve all done it (or mostly all, Arnold is still going pretty strong in the theatrical world). Van Damme, Dolph, Willis, etc etc etc. However, Seagal is pretty much a joke in the DTV world while Van Damme and Dolph still pump out some solidly fun schlock, especially Van Damme. Seagal was never an incredibly ripped guy, and in the early 2000 era he was starting to pack on weight, then suddenly he ballooned up. That’s not a horrible thing, and many an actor has had to change their character type as a result. Sadly, Seagal is still trying so VERY hard to sleep walk his way through yet ANOTHER action movie where he is a stuffed penguin waddling around with stunt doubles doing any real action and mumbling his lines under the pretense of being an ex-commando or in this case, REAL commando while the audience giggles behind their hand. “Sniper: Special Ops” luckily manages to keep the has been action star sitting down behind a sniper scope much of the time, which plays to his strengths…. Which is to say that the less he moves around the more believable he actually is.
A squad of special ops men under the command of Sgt. Moseby (Tim Abell) and watched over by expert Sniper, Sgt. Jake Chandler (Steven Seagal) are ambushed upon entering a deserted compound in search of a kidnapped senator in Afghanistan. Cut to shreds and separated, Sgt. Moseby and the rest of his command escape back to headquarters while Chandler and another wounded commando are left behind. While Chandler and his ward hunker down in a safe house in the village, Moseby is sent out on another supply run mission which ends up being the perfect excuse to come back and rescue Chandler. That is if he doesn’t get blown up in the process, as his “supply” run ends up coming with a package that could very well be the key to getting his abandoned men out in once piece.
To make matters worse, Sgt. Moseby is shackled with a stowaway. A spoiled rich girl reporter named Janet (Charlene Amoia) who is in desperate need of a mission to tag along with to get her incredible scoop. As luck would have it Janet is an expert shot and basically a wonder girl at making trained commando’s look amateurish in comparison. Able to shoot terrorists from 80 yards out with a Beretta M9 9mm pistol while her special forces comrades can’t seem to hit much with M4 Carbines decked out with high grade scopes and the advantage of being a rifle (you can almost taste my sarcasm and incredulity here). Together they can go back and get Sgt. Chandler and end the reign of terror of one of the Taliban’s highest level terrorists.
Whooooooo boy. I have to laugh here. I was giggling the entire movie as the over the top machoness and incredibly bad weapons handling was almost too much. People sniping with pistols, Steven Seagal looking like an overstuffed marshmallow wrapped in camo gear (supposedly the best of the best) and bad acting by Rob Van Dam to wrap up this cheese fest. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen a LOOOOOOOOOOOT worse in the DTV market and actually didn’t mind the movie so much as a rental. It was stupid, ludicrous, and full of REALLY bad one liners that should never have made it off the cutting room floor, but overall it’s a mindless waste of 86 minutes as you watch things blow up and go boom. The saving grace is really the fact that Steven Seagal doesn’t have much of a role here, despite the fact that he’s prominently displayed on the front cover. In fact, it’s not really a sniper movie at all. Seagal shoots a few rounds at the beginning fight of the movie, but the rest of the time he’s sitting upstairs in village hut with his designer shades on waiting for Sgt. Moseby to come back and rescue them. Tim Abell does a solid job as command leader, while the rest of the cast just stumble through their lines hoping this role will allow them to upgrade themselves to a SyFy movie one of these days.
Rated R for some violence and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69873[/img]The 1.78:1 encoded DVD looks a bit flat in the color spectrum, with grey looking textures and a rather bleak look to it, but it’s fairly detailed and doesn’t seem to show any major digital artifacting. Camo gear looks well defined, with good detailing on the stitches and other such intricacies. You can see 5.56 shell casings bounce off wall and roll across the ground, and there is even a few long shots that show some impressive detail. Black levels are solid, with satisfactory shadow details, although I DID detect a little bit of digital noise here and there.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69881[/img]The standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a bit disappointing, but expected for a really low budget DTV flick. The track is heavily front loaded with most of the activity happening in the mains with a LOT of midbass activity to make the movie sound “impressive”. Surrounds get some activity with the more action oriented scenes. Mainly with rounds plinking off of the environment or with the military truck coming up behind the participants. It’s simple, and rather cheaply done, as vocals can vary from scene to scene, and not just because of Seagal’s incessant mumbling. Sometime the dialog is crisp and clear, other times it gets drowned out by the gunfire around them, and other times it will actually sound quieter than it was a few seconds ago. It’s a serviceable track though, just not one that got a whole lot of love.
• Director's Commentary
• Still Gallery
I don’t think anyone but Steven Seagal thinks that there can be another good Steven Seagal movie. The man has been a joke for the last 15 years and “Sniper: Special Ops” isn’t going to do a thing to change that fact. However, the movie is a semi serviceable action flick that does its job of entertaining the viewer if they’re bored for some cheesy war action. It’s not going to change the faces of movies forever, or return Seagal to the limelight, but it does the job. Much like a bologna sandwich. It isn’t really that good, but hey, it makes you full and doesn’t taste like a Vegan dessert. Audio and video are good to decent so if you’re into the DTV world, it makes a decent, but stupidly cheesy, rental.
Starring: Steven Seagal, Rob Van Dam, Tim Abell
Directed By: Fred Olen Ray
Written By: Fred Olen Ray
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 86 Minutes
DVD Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Buy Sniper: Special Ops DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Cheesy Rental
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