American Sniper - movie review

Firstly war is a difficult thing to stomach and the act of killing someone is not something that is pleasant.
If one uses a missile, or engages in air to air combat, the act of killing is quite different from killing someone up close and personal. On the other hand, using a high powered rifle, with the aid of a scope, the act of killing is both distant, and yet up close and personal. You have a second or even more from firing to impact, and life comes to a standstill during these seconds. The sheer act of breathing becomes a loud noise that can drown out even the largest canons, and you can literally see the effect of your shot.

Having fired everything from a 5.56 to a 7.62 to LAWs, 88mm RR and even a 105mm, each one is quite different. The 5.56 has little kick, and yet does a lot of damage from a rifled barrel. Small wound in, a terribly huge exit wound. The 7.62 can kick like a horse, and that is one aspect in which Bradley Cooper doesn't quite get it right, as he is unable to contain the kickback and it is unlikely that he hit the target, unlike the person he was portraying.

So is the American Sniper a hero? That's the question you will ask yourself after watching this gripping tale of a true life sniper who had more than 160 kills, and left his mark on the Iraq war. Perhaps even more so, was the impact the war had on him as he got better at what he did, and yet suffered the consequences of his efforts.

So is this the Oscar winning effort that some have touted, well, that's debatable, and honestly it's no Saving Private Ryan, but I found it as gripping if not more so than Hurt Locker. Given that it was based on a true story, it made the show a little more palatable, despite the flaws and the "fake baby" fiasco was a mere distraction and it didn't bother me.

The highlight was of course the protagonist, who was well played by Bradley Cooper, and he really put on the kilos to look like the person he was portraying. Pity about his gun handling skills, and I wonder why he had no spotter, and his idea of cover and concealment was a little less than meticulous. However it's truly impressive to shoot and hit someone at 2000 yards, and that Tac 338 rifle can do some serious damage. The furthest shot with a 7.62mm I have done is about 450m, and the shot went through the brick wall like a heated knife through cheese.

As for the surround engineering, well, I think Hurt Locker was better, but there is plenty of action and usage of surrounds, and like Des, I think it's a nice disc to keep, Black Friday 2015 perhaps?

For war movie aficionados, it's a solid show, and signals the continuation of the shift from the portrayal of war as a totally ugly thing to allowing for some bravado, and judging from the reception thus far, American audiences no longer feel a need to subscribe to those movies where can only be shown to be nasty. There's no chest thumping here, but it does go some way to showcasing the quiet hero that Chris Kyle was.

Again, war is not nice, killing someone whether from the front or back is something I hope I never have to do, and it changes one significantly. RIP Chief Kyle.


I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.


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