The original Stephen Hunter novel Point of Impact has been around for several decades now and it has gotten a lot of usage including a feature length movie (The Shooter) and now a TV series on the USA Network. The series has a couple of big name executive producers, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and John Hlavin which gave it a decent budget and high expectations.
We went into the viewing of the first season with an open mind to see just what they were able to do with the retelling of the same story yet again. To be honest, we were pleasantly surprised! The acting is pretty good and the screen writers did a good job adapting an older book to modern times, but yet they kept the general plot of the book intact. The original novel had a Bobby Lee Swagger that was a Vietnam veteran, obviously that would not work today so the new Bobby Lee Swagger is a veteran of the global war on terror. Many of the plot elements were the same as is found in the book and since the format of a 10 episode TV series gives a lot more time to tell the story than a 2 hour feature film, it worked out better than the movie in terms of sticking semi-close to the book.
There were times where the series moved a bit slow and awkward as several holes were left in the story, but overall it was still a good story and kept us entertained. In terms of the sniping, there was obviously a technical consultant involved as they got many of the details right in terms of the ballistics and rifle equipment, and even the correct reticles for the scope brands portrayed on top of the various rifles. But the writer and director took a lot of artistic liberties for the story, which were sometimes hard to watch, especially in the last few episodes. It may be unrealistic to expect exact details in every aspect of the show…but we can still hope it’ll happen some day.
Unfortunately, we were disappointed in the portrayal of sniping fieldcraft in the show. In other words, there was no fieldcraft portrayed. Once again the portrayal of an elite sniper was one of a person that could shoot really far and that was about it. There were countless number of times in the ten episodes where any experienced sniper would have used proper fieldcraft and camouflage to accomplish what Bobby Lee was doing. Yet there he was in his ball cap, t-shirt and cargo pants running through the wilderness. It would have been even more dramatic to show him using proper fieldcraft to accomplish what needed to be done. The closest you get is in one scene where he is behind a bush and under a camo net… oh, and still wearing his ball cap. Another time he did smear some black face paint on his face…while in the forest and wearing all black. Additionally, if you are trying to remain unidentified in the public, why not shave and cut or dye your hair so you don’t look exactly like the wanted pictures? Just saying…
The show is rated M, mainly for the language and blood, there is no nudity and very little sexual content. The content and language was tamed down in later episodes, we are assuming due to USA Network requests after they picked up the pilot. Season 2 is rated TV-14 and not M. Additionally, season 3 was also picked up, and while we are not sure, we would imagine these next seasons follow some of the other Bobby Lee Swagger novels from Stephen Hunter. We will have to watch and find out.
Again, it was a solid effort and worth watching purely for the entertainment value and there are a few good uses of sniper rifles and sniping content. Just don’t expect a complete accurate portrayal of sniping or how an expert sniper would do it.
Sniper Central 2018