Something Old, Something New for Sony’s ‘Sniper: Reloaded’22 Apr, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey
Actor Chad Michael Collins (Lake Placid 2) was in eighth grade when he first saw the original 1993 Sniper film, and he vividly recalls the opening scene with Tom Berenger’s sniper character assassinating a Panamanian rebel leader, before being extracted by helicopter.
Seventeen years later, Collins plays the sniper’s son in Sniper: Reloaded, out April 26 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. And while actor Billy Zane’s character was the understudy sniper to Berenger’s character all those years ago, this latest “Sniper” sees the student become the teacher.
“We worked really hard to get Billy Zane for this film. The idea was to revive and re-imagine the franchise, to provide enough links to the original, but offer something new,” said director Claudio Fäh (Hollow Man II). “I thought it was a great story of destiny, revenge.”
Instead of the jungles of South America it’s the jungles of the Democratic Republic of the Congo this time around, with Sgt. Brandon Beckett (Collins), son of renowned sniper Thomas Beckett, under orders to help United Nations forces rescue a farmer trapped in rebel territory. A mysterious sniper kills everyone but the sergeant, and he’ll need the help of sniper instructor Richard Miller (Zane) to track down the assassin.
“It was awesome [working with Zane],” Collins said. “He’s an incredibly knowledgeable veteran who wants to make every scene the best it possibly can be. Every scene was a three-person pow-wow, with me, Billy and Claudio.”
Fäh said that Sniper: Reloaded served as a “vehicle to introduce Chad as a Tom Berenger substitute.”
“Once you really begin rooting for him, we bring back Billy, and that’s when it becomes a bit like a buddy, action film,” Fäh said.
To deliver the lush forests of the Congo in the film, Fäh, Collins and team headed to South Africa for filming, and shot on several game reserves. The real-life animals the cast and crew encountered during filming helped make the end result feel more real, Fäh and Collins agreed.
“It was an amazing experience,” Fäh said. “I approached the whole thing with a sense of wonder.”