Film review: Sniper

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 9 1993 12:00 a.m. MST

"Sniper" is a fairly typical take on two disparate assassins in the jungles of Panama, looking to take out a drug lord who is climbing in political circles.

The writing here is routine, with superficial characters and plotting that isn't particularly exciting. But director Luis Llosa, taking a cue from "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," invests some excitement and tension into the proceedings, and also offers some point-of-view gunplay, showing us bullets racing toward their targets, which adds an extra jolt.

Llosa is also fortunate to have as his star Tom Berenger, who gives some depth to the veteran killer here, a man who has been in the jungle so long and killed so many people that he doesn't seem to know anything else.

Billy Zane is the young recruit who has orders to make sure the target is hit and, if necessary, to take out Berenger in the process.

Their byplay, as Zane learns to grudgingly respect Berenger and must put his own marksmanship to the test, since he's never actually killed anyone before, could be snappier and more entertaining — and some understanding of the characters' background and motivations would certainly help.

But for what it is, "Sniper" manages to deliver the goods for action fans.

"Sniper" is rated R for violence and profanity.