Rated: R For violence. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: January 29, 1993 Released by: Columbia TriStar
Tom Beckett (Tom Berenger) is a legendary and lonely Marine Sniper. On a mission to kill a Colombian drug lord deep in the hostile jungle of Panama, he is assigned a spotter, Richard Miller (Billy Zane), an ambitious young National Security Council bureaucrat. Miller, an Olympic silver medalist, has the skill to kill but he is not prepared for the Central American jungle with Beckett.
Director Luis Llosa, a Peruvian who began his career as a film critic and is well known in Latin American, has crafted a tense psychological drama laced with fast action scenes. Beckett's life is his job. He is skilled and dedicated to his mission, and like Dirty Harry, his partners don't always return. Becket also suffers from reoccurring hallucinations which are burned in his mind from past assassinations. During that time he is vulnerable and in danger. Miller's liabilities are more obvious. He has never killed and avoids the opportunity early on in the mission. The liabilities and differences between the two, along with the tension of the jungle and the enemy, make for an exciting film on two levels.
Extremely well-made and well-performed, the film has a problem. There are probably not enough acton scenes for action lovers, and the action may drive away more thoughtful audiences.