Hong Kong movie Sun Cheung Sau or The Sniper is about a young cop OJ played by Edison Chen. OJ’s life as a sniper began when he and his partner stumbled upon kidnappers. Unknown to them, the elite Hong Kong Police Sniper Team is already on the scene. Because of his excellence during that first action sequence, OJ got an invite to join the squad.
Then things turn ugly as the past goes to haunt the squad in the form of former top shooter Lincoln (Xiaoming Huang). He used to be best sniper of the team but a mistake landed him in jail. Now that he’s released from his incarceration, he wants to get back at his former buddies for not standing up for him during his trial.
One observation about The Sniper is that it introduced a lot of subplots that was unnecessary for the big picture. We know how snipers love their rifles more than their wives or girlfriends and the movie showed three significant others but they were not given enough time or explanation as to why they’re in that situation. First there’s OJ’s girlfriend who was in a single scene and never to be seen again. Then there’s Hartman’s wife who is in a hospital bed after attempting suicide for reasons left unexplained. And lastly there’s Lincoln’s wife who is haunting him most of the time. This might be the only female who has more than ten minutes of exposure in the movie. The plot might be not be great but then it’s a Chinese movie. People watch it for the action.
What’s refreshing about The Sniper is that unlike other sniper movies, we were not looking through the rifle scope most of the time. It shows that marksmen are dynamic as well. The action sequences were on target. It is bloody but not that over the top.
The Sniper is the first Edison Chen movie to be released after his scandal. It might feature an ensemble cast but Edison is definitely the star of the movie. He might be stereotyped as the young, arrogant and impatient type but he played his role well and The Sniper is a good comeback (or farewell) movie for him.