Sniper 3 (2004)

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Released 22-Nov-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Dolby Digital Trailer
Trailer-The Punisher, Boa vs Python, Carandiru
Trailer-Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 87:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:01) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By P.J. Pesce

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Denis Arndt
Tom Berenger
John Doman
William Duffy
Byron Mann
John Muse
Zakareth Ruben
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Tim Jones

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I remember watching the 1993 original movie Sniper with fairly low expectations. I mean...Tom Berenger (The Big Chill, Platoon) as the major star? It couldn't be much cop, right? Well, much to my surprise I really enjoyed it. The effects were great and overall it was a more than passable way to spend a couple of violent hours. I had been waiting for a while to review Sniper vain. However, out of the blue, along comes a copy of the straight-to-video Sniper 3. So, is it any good?

    Sniper 3 does not boast the most original plot in movie history. The script is lazy and the delivery occasionally rather wooden. Nevertheless, as a weekly rental, for fans of Vietnam flicks or those who get off on the technicalities of "sniping", there is some lightweight enjoyment to be had here. Let me stress...some lightweight enjoyment.

    Master Gunnery Sergeant Tom Beckett (Berenger) is a sniper with a problem. Well, two problems really. Make that three. Firstly he has had his right index (trigger?) finger blown off. Secondly, he has no friends or family to speak of, being a slightly reclusive loner...because of the job I suspect. Thirdly, he's somewhat of an alcoholic - or at least that's what everyone believes anyway. Oh - and fourthly (make that four problems) he has developed a tremble in his shootin' hand.

    Becker is pissing everyone off with his attitude. His code of honour harks back to "the old days". He has a lack of respect for authority and a bit of a drinking problem. Oh, and that wobbly hand thing too. Despite all that, he's still the best goddamned sniper this side of 'Nam (Cheltenam). Soon after the flick begins, Beckett is attending a dead comrade's son's wedding, where he reads out a (remarkably clean, given it is thirty years old) letter dating back to 'Nam. In it, his old colleague, Finnegan (John Doman), sadly MIA, wishes his son all the best for his future married life. Before you can say contrived plot device three times, Beckett is once again hired by the NSA to "take out" a deadly gang warlord in Vietnam. And when I say "take out", I don't mean a trip to the movies followed by desperate groping and a slap on the face.

    Much to the amazement of any twelve year olds in the audience, it turns out that the warlord is none other than Finnegan. Imagine that - he wasn't killed in 'Nam, but stayed on to make a criminal lifestyle for himself! Flipping heck! What's even worse is that Finnegan may even be connected with...Jemaah Islamiah! So, Beckett dutifully heads off to 'Nam to kill the man who once saved his life, when he was "in the ditch". Bloomin' heck - imagine if there were some plot twists involved, and Beckett was a mere pawn, being played for a fool and didn't know who were his true allies, and who he could trust!

    Berenger is way past his prime, and whilst he turns in a workmanlike performance, his lard-ass and basin haircut makes him look rather like a recent incarnation of Frank Sinatra with a wobbly hand, a cheap wig and a very expensive gun. The dialogue is sometimes highly predictable (with obvious exchanges such as "One shot is all you get". One shot is all I need". and "I'm a dead man if I do this". "You are a dead man if you don't".) and makes you wince at times. In short...Sniper 3 is pretty simplistic, formulaic stuff. Worth a rental for fans of the franchise, or those who fancy some mindless sniping action.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The overall video transfer of this disc is pretty good, with no major defects.

    The film is presented 16x9 enhanced at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which I assume is the original aspect ratio.

    The transfer has has little in the way of significant grain evident and is generally sharp throughout, with a nice level of detail evident at all times.

    Black levels are solid and deep with no significant low level noise on show. Shadow detail is pretty good, although there are a few scenes where there is little detail evident in the depths (inside the Vietnamese police station for instance) and the image becomes impenetrable a little too sharply. Colours are well rendered with no evidence of colour bleeding and skin tones are fairly natural (if tending a little too heavily towards orange at times).

    The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts although there is sometimes a bit of pixelization apparent (the lamp shades around 33:50 for example). Aliasing was not noted on my system and whilst edge enhancement is present from time to time, it never becomes distracting, even on a large projected image.

    Film artefacts crop up very occasionally and are not common or large enough to be a distraction.

    The English subtitle track is highly serviceable, being both well timed and reasonably true to the dialogue. It also provides reasonable audio cues where appropriate.

    The layer change crops up at 49:01 but is largely unnoticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The overall audio quality of this disc is also rather good. There are no significant audio defects in the way of hiss, clicks or dropouts.

    There is a solitary English audio track available which is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448 kbps.

    Dialogue was almost always clear and audio sync was not noted as a problem.

    The original music is credited to Tim Jones and it does a pretty good job to be honest. The oriental inspired music is very appropriate to the film's setting, and it manages to build tension at just the right moments.

    The soundstage is fully enveloping and when the insistent, pressing music kicks in it is rather atmospheric. The front speakers deliver the dialogue cleanly and offer a fair number of clean cross-soundstage pans associated with car chases and the like. Ambient effects such as tropical rain, jungle noises or nightclub music can frequently be heard through the surround speakers. There is some good use of directional effects whenever the gunfights erupt - and particularly from the trajectory of the sniper shots, as you might hope for.

    The subwoofer was well used to carry bass from the musical score - particularly the modern nightclub dance tracks - but also to deliver quite a visceral feel from the various explosions on offer. The impact of bullets too provide quite a sensational (although totally unrealistic) LFE punch. Shotgun blasts, mortar explosions and the like can all be felt quite strongly.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are negligible extras on the disc.


    The menu is a silent photograph of Berenger looking moody. It allows the selection of playing the movie, selecting of one of twelve chapter stops, choosing language and subtitles or viewing the minimal extras.


    Four trailers are offered, generally presented 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack recorded at 192 kbps.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this movie appears to be similarly bare-bones. Buy whichever is cheaper.


    Tom Beckett is a world class sniper. When he is hired by the NSA to re-enter Vietnam and assassinate a warlord, he is shocked (unlike the audience) to discover that the warlord is not a stranger to him. The man who saved his life in 'Nam thirty years ago is now involved in all sorts of naughty stuff and has to be "taken out". A by-the-numbers movie with limp dialogue and a formulaic plot, Sniper 3 is possibly worth a weekly rental fee for fans of the original - but even then only just. The film is derivative and predictable, but has a nice audio and video transfer.

    The video quality is pretty good.

    The audio quality is rather good.

    The extras are trivial.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880 upconverting DVI player, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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