Film Review: Fortress: Sniper’s Eye (dir by Josh Sternfeld)


Fortress: Sniper’s Eye is a sequel to the 2021 film, Fortress.

If you haven’t seen Fortress, the plot goes something like this.  A group of mercenaries take over a resort that is populated by retired spies.  Robert Michaels (Bruce Willis) and his son, Paul (Jesse Metcalfe), have to set aside their difference and work together to defeat Frederick Balzary (Chad Michael Murray).

Meanwhile, the plot of Fortress: Sniper’s Eye goes something like this.  A group of mercenaries take over a now-closed resort that was once populated by retired spies.  Robert Michaels (Bruce Willis) and his son, Paul (Jesse Metcalfe), have to continue to set aside their difference and work together to defeat Frederick Balzary (Chad Michael Murray).

Now, to the film’s credit, Sniper’s Eye does admit that it’s largely recycling the plot of the first film.  When Balzary and his henchmen show up for a second time, Paul exclaims, “Didn’t any of you die!?”  It’s a funny line and one that shows that Sniper’s Eye is aware that it’s all a bit ludicrous.  Whatever other faults the film may have, you can’t complain that it’s not self-aware.

Unfortunately, when Balzary and his people invade for the second time, Paul is hosting a gathering with his fiancée and his future mother-in-law.  They’re all taken hostage.  Because Robert was wounded while rescuing Balzary’s wife from some killer Russians, he spends most of the the movie providing encouragement from a hospital bed.  Fortunately, towards the end of the movie, he is able to get out of bed and help out his son.  Paul is obviously happy to see his father and the viewers are happy to see Bruce Willis actually doing some action stuff.

Needless to say, Willis is going to be the main attraction for most viewers.  (I imagine a few One Tree Hill fans will be watching for Chad Michael Murray.)  Sniper’s Eye was one of the film that Willis completed before announcing his retirement from acting.  Knowing what we now know about Willis’s health and the conditions under which he made his final films, watching something like Fortress: Sniper’s Eye can feel awkward.  I cringed when I saw Willis in the hospital bed, looking tired and talking about how he was getting too old to play the hero.  At that moment, it felt as if the character and the actor became the same and it was a bit difficult to watch.

That said, Bruce Willis gives a convincing performance in Fortress: Sniper’s Eye.  He may not have the same charismatic swagger that he had when he was healthy but Willis does still look credible sneaking down a hallway while carrying a gun.  Even though the action scenes all use a rather obvious stunt double, Willis is still convincing in his role.

As for the rest of the film, the pacing is abysmal and the performances are uneven, with Jesse Metcalde making a bland hero and Chad Michael Murray going overboard as the main villain.  This is another film with a jumbled timeline so I feel sorry for anyone who is looking away from the screen whenever the “Two weeks later” title card flashes by.  On the plus side, the resort scenery was nice to look at and Natali Yura gave a convincing performance as Balzary’s wife.  As far as Bruce Willis’s later films are concerned, Fortress: Sniper’s Eye is superior to American Siege but comes in far below both Gasoline Alley and A Day To Die.

One response to “Film Review: Fortress: Sniper’s Eye (dir by Josh Sternfeld)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 8/8/22 — 8/14/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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