Having survived the bloody conflict in Congo (see Sniper: Reloaded), Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins) has become a very skilled sniper in the Marine Corps, building up a reputation for himself as a promising young shooter. He's stationed at a black ops base near the Turkish border when his commanding officer, Major Bidwell (Dominic Mafham), tells him that Beckett's father has been murdered by a rogue military sniper. He can't allow him to go on a mission to take out his father's killer but just the same...he can turn his head and let Brandon do what he chooses. The rogue sniper is taking military personnel out one-by-one, all related to an off the books mission 10 years before in Afghanistan. What happened exactly? Can Brandon find this sniper before he gets caught in his gun sights? The key to it all may be Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger) and what he actually knows.
As I mentioned in my 'Reloaded' review, I grew up watching the original Sniper on countless airings on AMC and TNT, weekdays and weekends alike. It's not a great movie by any means, but it is an endlessly watchable flick. The sequels aren't on the same level -- even 'Reloaded' was more guilty pleasure than good -- but it's fun watching them just the same. They're all straight to DVD and made on a small-scale, especially in the budget department. The reason for checking this one out is pretty obvious but more on that in a bit. From director Don Michael Paul, 'Legacy' isn't particularly original, mostly cliched, generally pretty dumb...and a lot of fun. It's a turn your brain off 98 minutes where you can sit back and watch some fun, cliched and familiar character archetypes throw some one-liners around and a whole lot of snipers picking off their enemies via headshots. Can't ask for too much more, huh?
Oh, right, the big reason to check this out. Yeah, it's that Tom Berenger fella. The original star of Sniper (along with co-star Billy Zane, who returned in 'Reloaded'), Berenger returned for the first and second sequels but deciding not to do 'Reloaded.' Well, Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Beckett is back! Now 65 years old, Berenger isn't the spry sniper from the original. He's rocking some cool white, even Silver Fox-esque hair and he's got a little paunch around the middle, but who cares?!? Beckett is back. Unfortunately Beckett doesn't show up until the 55-minute mark but he makes the most of his screentime. One-liners and smart-ass comments around every corner, he even gets to say the character's most famous line, "One shot. One kill." Berenger never became a huge star, but he's always been one of my favorites, and this is probably his most well-known role. Definitely cool to have him back.
Thankfully 'Legacy' seems content to avoid the pratfalls of the abandoned son and the father who abandoned him backstory. It's almost brushed aside, two tough guys -- Thomas and Brandon -- wanting to talk about it, but this ain't the movie for it! Let's shoot some bad guys! What few scenes they have together, Berenger and Collins are solid together. I especially liked their scene where they discuss some vices and how they ended up where they are. Again, nothing flashy, but solid.
With Berenger not showing up until almost the hour-mark, we've got plenty of chances to meet some other characters. And in the end, this is more of an ensemble which ends up being pretty cool. I really liked Mafham's Major Bidwell, the no-nonsense team leader with the nickname 'Bullet Face' because one of his sniper trademarks was shooting his victims in the face. Yikes! In the big name department, Dennis Haysbert plays the Colonel (no other name provided), possibly a good guy, possibly a bad guy. You'll have to watch to find out! And come on, it's a Major League reunion, Jake Taylor (Berenger) and Pedro Cerrano (Haysbert). That's cool! There's also Mercedes Mason as Sanaa, adding the necessary sexy female sniper to the recipe.
It's all pretty mindless, dumb and entertaining fun. Things are better when Berenger is around, especially in the final 30 minutes as both Becketts, Bidwell and Sanaa team up to take out our rogue sniper (Doug Allen) and a Syrian terrorist (George Zlatarev) he's working with. There's some cool shootouts sprinkled throughout the briskly paced flick, a whole lot of snipers gunning for their targets. If you like the Sniper movies, you'll enjoy this one. I did. I'm giving it a 3-star rating knowing it's not that good. I'm getting to be a cheap date in my old age. If a movie entertains me, I'm on board and I was entertained throughout here with 'Legacy.' Now how about another sequel pairing Tom Berenger, Billy Zane, and Chad Michael Collins? Heh?!? Get to it, Hollywood.
Sniper: Legacy (2014): ***/****