Vic's Flick Picks
(3 Popcorn Boxes)
As far as sniper movies go, this is not the best I’ve seen. You can watch Enemy at the Gates (2001 starring Jude Law and Ed Harris) for a better sniper film. As far as characters go, Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller are amazing as Chris Kyle and his wife Taya.
Chris Kyle (Cooper) was raised in Texas with a strong belief that duty to family and country is vital – and you can’t quit when duty calls.
After a romance goes bad, Kyle enlists not only in the Navy – even better than that – the Navy SEALS. Jinkies. After SEAL training he meets, falls in love with and marries Taya (Miller). On their wedding day Kyle’s unit gets orders to ship out to Iraq. Jinkies again.
Now we are halfway through the film. The slow pace and unnecessary detail from director Clint Eastwood is one of his recurring downfalls in recent movies. We didn’t need to know of the barbaric traditions and exhausting training SEAL candidates go through. We’ve all seen G.I. Jane.
In-country, Kyle gains the reputation of a ‘Legend’ for his accuracy as a sniper and his ability to protect the ground troops who are going through random homes (𠇌lear 10 buildings an hour” the lieutenant guy says) and making sure there are no insurgents. Military strategy baffles me – this is where they live, of course the insurgents are here somewhere, but that’s a lot of homes.
Kyle doesn’t like the accolades; he’s just here to protect the men. Oh, and take down his arch nemesis, Mustafa (Sammy Sheik – who has crazy long eyelashes), the Iraqi sniper.
We sit through many hours – okay, minutes – of Kyle establishing his legendary reputation. And then some minutes of his return stateside and not adjusting well to civilian life. And then he goes back to Iraq for another tour of duty. And then back home…I think you understand the monotony. Chief Chris Kyle does four tours of duty. Four. His patriotism and sense of duty to his country are astounding. His husband and father sense of duty is not as strong, and Taya will take him to the mat for that.
Three boxes out of five for American Sniper. I thought the story, while inspirational, took much too long to get to the point. In fact, there is no point, this seems to be a slice of “war is hell” and good guys are dying honorably. The performance of Bradley Cooper is worth the ticket price and wedging yourself into those horrible seats down front and off to the side at the theater because everyone in the greater Birch Run, Frankenmuth, Bridgeport area is in the theater with you.
American Sniper is rated R for strong and disturbing war violence.
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I have never been a huge Bradley Cooper fan. That is, until I saw his performance in this outstanding 2013 drama starring Christian Bale.
LAST WEEK’S MOVIE TRIVIA
Liam Neeson has made a name (and fortune) for himself as an action hero. But I remember way back in 1993 when he skillfully played this title Edith Wharton character and brought tears to my eyes. Ethan Fromme.