Movie Details

The SNIPER

Hartman (Richie Ren) is renowned as the top shooter in the police force but he hides a secret past - his former teammate and superb marksman Lincoln (Huang Xiaoming) was jailed for a mysterious case of accidentally killing a hostage and has now just been released. With only vengeance in his mind, Lincoln takes on Hartman and the police, believing they betrayed him. When a high-security prisoner transfer is sabotaged by an unknown sniper and a high profile convict escapes, young upstart OJ (Edison Chen), the hot-headed rookie on the team, surprises everyone by accurately replicating the suspect`s impossible shots. A battle of wits ensues as OJ becomes fascinated with Lincoln`s skills yet bound by Hartman`s rules.

Language: Mandarin
Subtitle: NA
Classification: NC16
Release Date: 9 Apr 2009
Genre: Action / Thriller
Running Time: 1 Hour 27 Minutes
Distributor: SHAW ORGANIZATION
Cast: Richie Ren, Huang Xiaoming, Edison Chen
Director: Dante Lam
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

Writer Ratings:
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Watch this if you liked: "Enemy At The Gates", "Beast Stalker"

For a movie that took so long to get itself out (due to the Edison Chen photo scandal), "Sniper" somehow manages to miss the target despite having likeable leads and a decent fail-safe plot, when it could have gone on to be a memorable tour de force of Cantonese crossfire.

Helmed by the trio of Richie Ren, Edison Chen and Huang Xiaoming, we are let in on a three-man quest for sniper supremacy, as one policeman top shooter goes against a disgraced marksman, with a young rookie caught in the middle. The story is simple and straightforward, leaving plenty of space for us to admire excessively macho indulgences like a prolonged training ground target practice scene with all its leads topless. However the ladies don't really get much meaningful screen time (Mango Wong and Michelle Ye) and their roles are merely an afterthought.

As an action movie, "Sniper" chalks up enough excitement to make this a good watch. However, for all of director Dante Lam's supposed research, the film doesn't cut it as a gunfight movie, with very little mention or detail about the artillery and rifles deployed. We get some talk about breathing techniques and some standard crosshair POV scenes as claim towards authenticity. Worse is when a dart-throwing scene in a pub between Edison Chen and Huang Xiaoming is included, completely throwing the credibility of the theme off its tracks. Aside from some really dodgy gun logic, the director also seems unable to resist some corny CGI (maybe he misses "Twins Effect"), when we see a sniper bullet flying slo-mo en route to hitting and splitting a faraway coin. This seriously takes a beating.

The highlight of this movie then rests in the semi-interesting relationships between its three male leads. The ensuing gunfire is steady and satisfying. "Sniper" knows what it is and what it wants to achieve. Watch it, if only to see Edison Chen in what could be his last widely distributed movie for a long, long time.

Cinema Online, 07 April 2009
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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