The Sniper (2009) – REVIEW

by Jordache Wee

Original Mandarin Title: 神鎗手
Release Date: April 9, 2009 
Directed by: Dante Lam
Language: Cantonese, Taiwanese Hokkien,
Music by: Henry Lai Wan-Man
Starring: Richie Ren, Edison Chen, Huang Xiaoming, Mango Wong, Michelle Ye, Bowie Lam, Wilfred Lau, Charmaine Fong, Patrick Tang, Jack Kao

Two policemen found a car stranded by the roadside and they received a message from their radio transmitter on a runaway car which is right in fron of their eyes. Soon, they found the criminals hideout and caught in the middle of the shootout. One of the policemen OJ (Edison Chen), who manages to stay calm and double kill the criminals. Special Duties Unit (SDU) who was present is Hartman Fong (Richie Ren) sees his potential and recruited him.

OJ (Edison Chen)

At the academy, OJ spoke to Shane (Bowie Lam) about the best sniper and he sees Lincoln’s name in the academy board but he is nowhere to be found. Shane explains that Lincoln has been expelled from the academy due to an incident.

A couple of days later, Lincoln Ching (Huang Xiaoming) has been released from prison after four years and is greeted by fellow officer and friend, Shane, who treats him to some dinner and sending him home. When Lincoln returns to his apartment, he stares at the aquarium and his wife, Crystal (Mango Wong) appears and they are reunited again.

RIGHT: Hartman Fong (Richie Ren)

In a flashback, Hartman succeeds Shane as the new leader of Hong Kong’s Special Duties Unit Sniper Team. The best sniper was Hartman’s former teammate Lincoln, whose unorthodox methods and confidence makes him arrogant and disdainful of authority. Hartman and Lincoln are two alpha males with a long-running rivalry, with only room at the top for one sharpshooter.

One night, an incident at a bank robbery goes wrong when crime boss Tao (Jack Kao) was holding the son of bank chairman as hostage, Lincoln saw an opportunity for headshot because he wants to rescue everyone when he witness Tao has pulled out the grenade pin in his hand. Lincoln was testified but no one else on the Sniper Team support his story, indeed there is a feeling that Hartman (who was the only other person who could have been in a position to see Tao with the grenade).

Within days Lincoln has purchased an illegal sniper rifle.  Lincoln helps crime boss Tao escape prisoner transfer convoy. An off-duty Hartman witnessed the incident, killing several of Tao’s men but unable to prevent them from breaking their boss free. OJ, the hot-headed rookie on the team, surprises everyone by accurately replicating the suspect’s impossible shots. He manages to do this because of advice from Lincoln when they were at a bar.

As Hartman investigates the suspect, he inadvertently runs into crime boss Tao and his henchmen in the elevator of an apartment building. Hartman manages to kill one of the criminals but while chasing after Tao, he is covered by Lincoln. Hartman pursues Lincoln to the roof and Lincoln loses his grip on a rope and falls down. Tao escapes but his right-hand man is cornered by police, so he flees into a restaurant and takes hostages.

Hartman coordinates his sniper team but only OJ has a good shot. Although Hartman’s order is “shoot to kill”, OJ instead wounds the criminal in the arm holding the gun. Although the hostage situation has been resolved without loss of innocent life, Hartman and OJ have a heated argument over his given order.

Lincoln survived the fall with no major injuries and continues his plan of revenge and kidnaps Shane, who is Lincoln’s last friend and supporter from the SDU. While Lincoln and Crystal make conversation, Shane regains consciousness and reminds him that Crystal is dead and it is revealed that Lincoln has been hallucinating all this time. In a fit of rage, Lincoln takes his rifle and fires at the ghosts of Hartman and the bank chairman’s son, before realizing that he has unintentionally killed Shane.

A flashback shows Crystal visiting Lincoln in prison, but he tells he to go away. Crystal then returns home and drops the wedding ring into the aquarium. Standing out on the balcony of her apartment looking at a photo of them in happier times, a wind blows away the photo, and as she lunges for it she tumbles over the railing and falls to her death.

Lincoln Ching (Huang Xiaoming)

In the end, Lincoln decides to lure Hartman and the SDU sniper team into a trap at a auto scrap warehouse, leading to the ultimate showdown amongst three expert snipers. First, Lincoln forces the crime boss Tao reenact the bank robbery hostage taking, and unlike four years ago, this time Lincoln successfully kills Tao and saves the hostage. In the final gun battle, most of Hartman’s team is wounded or killed, and Hartman volunteers to sacrifice himself and draw Lincoln’s attention, allowing OJ to kill Lincoln and become the best sniper in the SDU.

Reviewer’s Note:
The Sniper revolves around with a rookie cop turn professional sniper in the Special Duties Unite (SDU) and recently released from prison, an ex-sniper seeks revenge against his former squad because no one support his testimonial when he fires the shot at crime boss Tao, when he really saw him releasing the grenade pin.

Nothing much about it. It’s just exciting to see their breathing precision in while sniping with accuracy. 

One response to “The Sniper (2009) – REVIEW

  1. Taiwanese action movies really have a great potential. They have great effects and exciting plots.

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