My wife and I had finished watching something pretty good on N..F x (yes, that can happen), and she then called it a night while I decided to check out some stupid B (C or D) list action movie. I've sometimes been pleasantly surprised. Although usually not. This movie falls into the not category. Or make that NOT.
I gave it a rating of two only because I only give ones when I'm offended. This wasn't offensive. It was just all the other bad and irritating things a truly bad movie can be: boring, pointless, derivative, fake, cheap, slapdash, cheesy, cliché-ed and ... in the end ... barely having any claim to be either a war movie, or a sci-fi movie. I'm usually offended by attempts to become philosophically deep ... scenes thrown in to drive home some drively political "message". But this movie, while it almost tried, made such a lame attempt at it that it was basically inconsequential to the rest. Almost tried, is a good definition of this entire production. It doesn't even try.
This movie doesn't need a spoiler alert, because the ending is so obvious that even the premise and the description of the first 20 minutes gives away the ending.
Take away the so-called sci-fi touches, this is just an American sniper in -- someone suggested Afghanistan -- but definitely some middle eastern country, battling ISIS or the Taliban. His unit has been wiped out, and now he's alone and the only way to escape is to ... stay where he is and scan the desert region endlessly, and watch the camp of the bad guys, endlessly. If you removed the scenes of him looking through his scope and not seeing much of anything, you'd cut this movie down to an hour. Sometimes, just for whatever (to get a bit of food or water maybe) he goes down and attacks the camp, miraculously killing anyone he comes across. Nothing's believable. He's immortal. He can be in a firefight with 20 bad guys shooting at him with automatic rifles, and he takes them out with karate kicks, a pistol, or a knife. He actually gets captured at one point, that that of course was no problem. A slight diversion, and he's rescued.
Just for the sci-fi dimension, he's supposedly on some planet. For some reason, he's supposed to be a good guy, although you're left wondering how the good guys can be that, when they are the ones who have invaded this planet and the people who are there are "insurgents". There's no attempt to deal with this ambiguity. It's all just boo-rah ... including recuperating your dead.
The sci-fi thing is provided by some 2001 Space Odyseey command ship which, like a spy satellite, can watch the sniper's every move. But they don't do anything up there but comment on how great he is, or how he's in terrible danger all the time, and make plans to save him but never can for reasons that no one bothers to really explain. The actors playing the command ship scenes, which consists of some black painted plywood set, have nothing to say but ... well, there he is, getting into a cave, or there he is, running around, or whatever ... and the commander seems to know everything that is happening, including the sniper's motivations and plans. It's remarkable.
And remarkably lazy ... or just stupid ... writing. Some people call this sort of thing uninspired. But that's a term you'd use for someone who is perhaps capable of being inspired? This is obviously the level of writing you get from someone who is only capable of the most cliché-ed ideas. Nothing is original. And the director really can't do anything with it but throw in some lame fight scenes, long survey-the-desert sequences, and drop a few "alien"/human socio-cultural "exchanges. And there's a really bad guy, actually two ... a bad/bad alien guy who looks like he's straight out of Kabul, and the good/then bad human guy, to I guess show that this whole human adventure on this planet is bad? Or? ... And there's a very sexy alien princess this sniper is suddenly protecting, thrown in, to make sure there's SOME reason for the sniper to seem like a hero.
I get irritated when I see this sort of thing. OK, I get it. This provided work for some people. But ... wow ... what gets me is that these types of Netflix filler fodder aren't put through some sort of quality process. The writer of this thing should never be given any more money, ever, for full length movies. There are probably several hundred other aspiring writers who could have provided something more interesting. Or at least not so laughably cliché-ed.