Sniper: Ultimate Kills

    The words ‘ultimate’ ‘sniper’ and ‘kill’ are very popular when it comes to creating film titles. Put any one of those words into the search bar on IMDB and a whole slew of variations pop up. It seems that many a filmmaker has the same idea as to what makes a good title. Or they’re just lazy. 

   So, what do you get if you put all of those high impact words into your title? You get Netflix’s offering, Sniper: Ultimate Kill. It is a title that almost has an exclamation mark without needing to add it, every word emotive and riddled with finality. 

    A Colombian drug lord, Diego Paolo (Fausto Garrido) goes to see his mistress. He is heavily guarded and sees her in a remote location. His mistress (Janeth Barreto) prepares for his arrival. When he arrives, he joins her in the bedroom. The bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and Paolo lounges in the bath waiting for his mistress. As she disrobes and joins him in the bath, his brain is splattered by a sniper bullet. 

    Ex-marine sniper, Thomas Worthington (Conrado Osorio), is struggling with PTSD. Guilt, brought on by his many years of killing, causes him to commit suicide. At his funereal Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins), a marine sniper, wonders if he might end up the same way. 

   He voices these concerns to Richard Miller (Billy Zane), one of his superiors. Miller tells him he does not think he is likely to go down the same route.

      He has a job for him to do in Colombia.  He is to go and help the DEA with the apprehension of Jesús Morales (Juan Sebastián Calero), the drug lord who is having all of his rivals killed. Morales also has a sniper in his employ. They nickname him El Diablo. Such is his proficiency he is said to always get his man. 

     His father, Thomas Beckett (Tom Berenger), is head of operations down in Colombia. Heading up the DEA is Kate Estrada (Danay Garcia), she has been hunting Morales for a long time. They get intel that Morales is going to be at a specific location, but they only have twenty-four hours. 

    Estrada mobilises her men and leads the operation to apprehend Morales. Beckett is to back her up. When they get to the location, it turns out to be a trap and Estrada’s team is wiped out, including one of her good friends, captain Garza (Lucho Velasco). 

   Back at the base of operations another department head, this time from Homeland security, John Samson (Joe Lando) wants to know why the operation went bad. They all agree that they must have a mole. Samson wants them to cancel the operation. Beckett argues for forty-eight hours more time. 

   They go and try to lie low in a safe house. Santiago Caledrón (Pedro Jose Pallares), the spotter for Beckett, watches for any issues, The safe house turns out to be compromised as well. Estrada goes to see a friend in the town, Father Carlos (Jaime Correa). Father Carlos tells her about El Diablo.

    Morales is trying to expand his operation. El Diablo visits him at his house wanting to know where his money for the Beckett job. Morales tells him that Beckett is still alive and he is fired.  Beckett, Estrada and the remaining team members look for another safe house. They are attacked once again.

   This time, all are killed except for Beckett and Morales. Unable to trust anyone else, they team up to try and find both Morales and El Diablo. Estrada has El Diablo’s girlfriend, Maria Ramos (Diana Hoyos) address. In the confusion, during the attack on the convoy, Estrada goes to find Maria alone. 

    When she confronts Maria, she is set upon by Morales henchmen. Beckett catches up with her and kills most of the assailants. They get El Diablo’s true identity from a locket worn by Maria. Estrada goes to father Carlos to get them off the streets. 

    Beckett starts killing Morales top guys to flush out Morales. Morales is forced to reemploy El Diablo. El Diablo has father Carlos kidnapped in an attempt to flush Beckett and Estrada out. Father Carlos is killed during the execution of the failed plan. 

    During father Carlos’ funeral, Beckett sees the henchman who escaped before. He catches him and finds out where Morales is. Morales is arrested. They need to take him to the States but they know that he will be a target of El Diablo. They decide to use Morales to flush El Diablo out.

    They tell Samson that Morales will be in a dry cleaning van, the security convoy being a decoy. When the dry cleaning van is blown up by El Diablo, they not only have their mole, Samson, they also know where El Diablo is. Beckett kills him. Samson gets arrested. The end.

    At ninety-three minutes long, Sniper: Ultimate Kill is not a long film. It meanders along nicely, trying occasionally to be deeper than it actually is, with the exchanges between characters that are supposedly close, mundane at best. 

    Chad Michael Collins, who looks like a less intense, less gnashy, Michael Fassbender, is perfectly adequate as the lead. He is believable enough as a marine sniper, he just does not have a great deal to do. 

    Danay Garcia’s Estrada is not much better, the character hitting the clichéd woman-in-a-man’s-army demanding respect, with a surly disposition and emotional when in private, not an admirable role. Old troopers, Berenger and Zane, turn up for the pay cheque, doing no more or less than their respective performances require. 

   Felipe Calero’s El Diablo and Juan Sebastián Calero’s Morales, both make good antagonist. Unfortunately, as there is no interaction between the protagonist and the antagonist, you never get a sense of anything beyond either side doing their jobs. All of the threat comes from perceived issues and holes in the intelligence. 

   The film is shot okay and directed by Claudio Fâh, though there is a very strange shot decision when Beckett is chasing down the henchman and he carries the camera, so we can see him running, as he runs. That pulled me right out of the story because it was so out of place. 

   With a screenplay by Chris Hauty, the script is perfunctory rather than inspired. With great lulls between the action set pieces and not much emotional pull, it is left to the music to inject some sense of purpose into proceedings. Frederik Wiedmann, the man behind the music, puts in far more effort than the film deserves. 

   Sniper: Ultimate Kill is ninety minutes of forgettable pap. I cannot think of a reason to watch it, though conversely, I cannot say it is truly awful either. It’s just meh.  


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