WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Chris Kyle is the most deadly sniper in American military history, and American Sniper gives us a glimpse into the late veteran’s journey to legendary status. After the September 11 attacks, Kyle (Bradley Cooper) leaves his rodeo days in native Texas for the Navy SEALS. During his multiple tours in the Middle East, he quickly climbs to the top of the pecking order, becoming the most lethal sniper by a long shot (no pun intended) and earning tremendous respect from his comrades. However, even the legendary Kyle himself is not immune to the terrors of war, having had to make tough decisions in the seemingly innocent women and children he had to gun down. As his war experiences begin to take their toll on Kyle’s relationship with his wife (Sienna Miller) and two children, Kyle learns that the hardest battle he has to fight might just be within himself.
WHY WATCH IT: It is hard to go wrong with a war movie with Clint Eastwood at the helm. There is a decent amount of action scenes interspersed with sufficient family scenes to develop Kyle’s character and the emotional stakes at hand. Needless to say, the sniper scenes are pretty badass. Cooper himself bagged an Oscar nomination for his solid performance as the macho but scarred soldier. He might not be close to winning the gold statuette, but he holds his own.
WHY SKIP IT: No one wants to see that awkward scene with the fake baby. On a more serious note, American Sniper fails to truly strike an emotional chord with the viewers, even if we do care somewhat for Kyle and his family. With Kyle spending half of the movie away from the battlefield, action fans will grow impatient with the family scenes. People want to see a slick Clint Eastwood war flick, but that is only half of American Sniper. And as much as we appreciate Kyle occasionally trading his sniper rifle to be a rifleman on the ground, we paid to see a movie about a sniper. There are just not enough scenes with Kyle behind the scope.
Rating: 3.5/5 (TALK-o-meter: “Good, not great.”)