Sniper is a 9-film franchise, and we just got to watch the most recent addition with Sniper: Rouge Mission.
The 9th in the franchise is a thrill ride, full of action, espionage, betrayal, laughs, and revenge. There are familiar faces, all-new action, and various exciting plots. The A-plot is familiar if you’re a fan of the series, while the B-plot is relevant, timely, and full of revenge. Lastly, the C-plot is a twist you don’t see coming and a dash of a love story. Sounds like a lot, I know but what’s great is that it’s only an hour and forty mins. The Mission: Impossible franchise better take some notes.
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All of this is thanks to Sniper‘s director, Oliver Thompson, who had a vision and brought that vision to the right people with the tools to bring it to fruition. One of those right people was Ryan Robbins, who plays Zero, the veteran in this franchise. You may recognize him from the high-fueled, 80’s punk action drama Deadly Class, the sci-fi action thriller Apollo 18, or the Adrian Brody-led film Wrecked.
The Illuminerdi was lucky enough to speak with Ryan, and trust us when we say he deserves his flowers NOW. He has done so much and knows even more. Our only regret was not asking “Orange Shasta or Fanta?”. Check out our interview with Ryan right here!
Ryan Robbins Talks Sniper: Rogue Mission And More
First off, thank you. Thank you for giving me the time. I loved the film. I really did. The action sequences, the story itself? It was good. Let's get into it. A nine film franchise, that's what we're dealing with. How many Sniper films did you star in? Ryan Robbins: I only started in eight, with my first one. So that was my second. Talk about your experience with this Sniper film this time around. What separates this experience from experiences prior? Ryan Robbins: I think definitely comfortability. We got into this one, we've formed friendships beyond the film, real friendships, after the first film. So there was a real easy banter between us, especially between Chad and I. And we were able to sort of get Zero away from being the... Both Zero and Brandon have been loaners. And we wanted to bring them together in an old school buddy cop action movie kind of way. And you see the style of the film and stuff, pays a lot of homages to those great films of the eras gone. I think that was the other thing. And also I think being able to expand on Zero's sense of humor a little bit and bring some of that levity and bring some of the humor out of Brandon, As well. That's definitely something that we saw. It just pretty much translated from what was happening behind the camera, to what we actually got to see as far as the experience of you guys having fun with making Sniper, and you touched on the humor itself. I love the fact that this time you did bring it out a little bit more. Was that something that was pretty much provided through Oliver Thompson, since he kind of wrote this and... Ryan Robbins: Yeah. We call Oliver the architect of the Sniper verse. And Oliver, although he didn't direct eight, Assassin's End, he was there all day, every day. And he wrote it. And him and Kaare Andrews, who I have great love and respect for, who did an amazing job on Assassin's End. They had a really good connection and they vibed really well. And so moving forward, we knew Oliver was going to direct this one. And like I said, friendships were formed, real friendships. Oliver and I became friends. Chad and I became friends. Sayaka... we all just stayed in touch. And the minute we finished eight, we were already talking about nine and we were like, "What are we going to do? What do we want to do?" And Oliver's amazing that way. And he saw some of the things that we had played with in eight. And then he wrote that, he wrote that into my character going forward. I was going to ask about his directing style and what he added to Sniper: Rogue Mission, but you pretty much answered that one right off the bat. Ryan Robbins: Well, one of the cool things that he did, when we did Assassin's End, was it was stylized very uniquely. It was different from the franchise prior. What that allowed us to do is sort of take the gloves off with how we want to play with this genre, right? So when Oliver decided... He had a very specific direction for this one visually. And even I was like, "I'm okay, I'm just going to go with it." And then when I saw it, I was like, "oh damn, this is incredible." Like "you did that? Oh, that's the shot you were talking about." I didn't know. There was shots where I was like, "Why are you way over there? Okay. I just trust you. You do your thing." And then I saw the movie was like, "oh, that makes so much sense now." That's how much we trusted Oliver. We were just like, "oh, you want to put us on a rooftop with the camera a mile away? Whatever. Sure, man. Cool." And then you see the shot and you're like, "that's amazing!" That's definitely something that I noticed a lot with the film. For instance, there's a great fight scene in the alley between Lady Death and everything like that. And it's just the movement, the quickness, all these moments, all these steps, the fight with you in the hallway where it goes from you guys up close, you kind of step out of the elevator, you're in the hallway, it's just silhouettes. And you guys are moving so quickly and then thrown back over into the elevator. It felt like a scene from John Wick, but even amped up higher. How much training did you have to do for that? Ryan Robbins: Well, I think Chad and I, we train year round anyway. That was my first day on set, by the way. That elevator fight scene, that was the very first thing I shot, I was straight into it, like 12 and a half hours or whatever we were filming. We had really good, amazing, amazing stunt team. Johnny was incredible. Our guy from Sniper Eight, Brett Chan brought his like best guys to the table. The hits, all the hits group. And then Winnipeg, where we filmed had this incredible pool of actors and stunt folks. And it was nice to see fresh faces. And everybody worked so hard and you see it in those fight scenes. I got there... We only really had a handful of days to rehearse those scenes and those beats, but that just goes to how amazing and professional that team was. My old buddy, Shawn Beaton, he was there as a fight choreographer, co-coordinator and him and I have developed a shorthand over the years. So it was really helpful for me to have him there as well. But man, it was crazy. I like to get down and dirty. I like to do as much as I can. Careful what you wish for. But that's the thing. At the end, Oliver's like, "Careful what you wish for. We're going to put you in an elevator and nothing you can do." Like Jack Kingsley's my stunt double, and Jack took some big hits for me, but mostly they're like "it's you, go for it." With all that you've been through with this film and just the series of them, what do you think you've learned about yourself by playing this character? Ryan Robbins: Well, I think I've learned that I bring more of myself to characters than I like to believe. I like to think I do. Somebody had asked me if Zero and I were similar and I was like, "nah, we're... Oh, wait a second, man, maybe." I guess we're both impatient. We're both hothead. we both had a strong moral compass, very principled individuals. But these movies have sort of reinvigorated my love for making films. And I did not anticipate that going in. I thought this is going to be a super fun job. This is going to be great. But they remind me that filmmaking can still be fun, that we could have a good time while we do this. And we can, can still tell a really solid, important message, but we can also have a good time doing it. And we can also let the audience off the hook from time to time and bring in some levity. So the audience isn't drowning in sorrow for the entire film, because that's not what these films are about. These films are a perfect 90 minutes of just raw entertainment. We want you to feel it in your heart. We want to give you something to latch onto. Something that matters, something that's important. But we want to entertain you throughout the thing. We want you to just have popcorn and soda and not have to think about the problems that you're having and just be entertained for a good 90 minutes. And then away you go. What's happening when the camera isn't rolling definitely translates to it. Just like you're saying right now, talk to me about the chemistry between you guys, with Josh, Jocelyn, Mary Jane, everyone. Ryan Robbins: So fun. When I found out Josh signed on, I was elated because I love Silicon Valley and I love his character on that show. And he's amazing. Then when I found out we got Dennis, and the Colonel, here's the Colonel, and it's Dennis. And I was like, "what? This is incredible." And then Dennis was the one that reminded me the Tom Berenger connection. And Tom and Dennis had done Major League together. And I was like, "oh, yes!" Now I get to get regaled with all these tales from a legend. And then Brendan Sexton III is just incredible. And then Sayaka, you want to talk about how fun it is, so Sayaka does such a good job at Lady Death, just being so just intense and terrifying. And the minute you yell, "cut" this big disarming smile and she's so fun and lovely and happy. And you're like, you're amazing. Yeah. Honestly, Jocelyn Hudon, who came in and played Mary Jane under crazy circumstances, and she killed it. And that girl herself is a legitimate badass. You follow her on Instagram and just look at the stuff she does with butterfly knives and nun chucks and fighting. She's crazy. And then she'll ballet dance from a ballerina. It's ridiculous. It takes a lot of research and bringing everything together. For yourself, you are a sniper assassin in this film. How good are you in real life with long distance shooting? Ryan Robbins: I did play a sniper on a TV series called Following Skies for a number of years, so I did have some experience. But my rifle was a Barrett M82, so it was a 50 cal. So you shoot a mile with that thing. I've had some training. I'm Canadian, so people think we don't have as easily accessible firearms up here, but that's not necessarily the case. We can go to a range and we can fire. And I train with some friends of mine who are ex special forces. They take me out, and I'm a pretty good shot, man. To get to your point, I'm a pretty good shot. I don't know. You know, Chad and I have never... We should do that. We should go to a range. Chad and I should go to a range. I'd be curious to see it, because I know Chad is a good shot. I'm a really good shot with a handgun, I think. I say, really good, I should be more humble. I'm a good... I'm okay. I'm pretty good. Don't be humble. We're talking, we're having a conversation. Say what you are going to say. Ryan Robbins: I'm pretty good. I can hit the target upside, I can hit a target upside down. Speaking of shooting, I understand you lent your voice to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Ryan Robbins: No, that was Chad. I wish I got to do that. And Chad's so cool about that. He'll go online and play with the fans as his character and they just decimate him most of the time. But yeah, he... Has Chad brought you in into playing it yourself? Ryan Robbins: I didn't play it until I spoke to Chad about it. And then yes. Chad is a gamer though. Chad loves all kinds of games. More so than me. I like a good video game, but Chad, he's crazy with the Dungeons and Dragons and stuff. And he's so he's so knowledgeable about that stuff. It's super fun. I could talk to him about that stuff for hours. That's Chad's, as I call it, geek out. What's yours? Ryan Robbins: Comic books. Okay. What are you reading right now? Ryan Robbins: I'm about to start Rick Remender's The Scumbag. I've been very slowly going back through Seven To Eternity because I don't want it to end. So I'm sort of refusing to finish it. Yeah. I'm a big Rick Remender fan, and I'm really grateful to call him a friend. We did a series called Deadly Class together, but I was a fan of Rick's before that. Black Science and Low and, of course, the Deadly Class comics. But also, what I'm doing now is I'm rereading Sandman. That's probably my favorite comic of all time. And I started watching it on Netflix. I love it. Neil Gaiman had said that the fans who've read the books think they know what to expect, but we got to make sure that they don't always know what's coming. So they've changed some things from the comics to the series. Even some storylines. But I'm down, man. I'm in it. I'm loving it. Because my whole life I was thinking, he's uncastable. Morpheus is uncastable. The closest I ever thought maybe back in the day, maybe Paul Bettany. But other than that, he's just uncastable. And then they found him. Holy cow. So good. I've got to ask you: Marvel or DC? Ryan Robbins: Marvel. What character do you have your eye on that we need to go ahead and push a campaign to get you as? Ryan Robbins: Well, everybody always says Wolverine. Everybody always tells me. I think just because of my size, and I'm Canadian and this whole situation. Growing up, I was a huge Spider-Man fan. My buddy Kaare Andrews, he wrote this amazing four piece comic strip called Spider-Man Reign. And it was about old Spider-Man, older Peter Parker, after everybody's gone and he's retired the suit. And I love that comic so much that I was like, "man, one day, maybe one day I can play old Peter Parker." But then they did such a great job with all the multiverse stuff. And the animated stuff was just so amazing and meeting all the different spider folk. I was like, "Man, you can't touch it. You just can't touch it anymore." And then the last Spider-Man movie, Tom Holland is like the Robert Downey Junior of casting for Spider-Man, in my opinion. I think he's perfect. I think he's perfect. I think Robert Downey Junior set the bar for casting for Marvel. And Marvel's been very aware of that and I think they're doing a pretty good job. Night Crawler was my favorite X-Man. I used to be a circus performer so I think that's why. I do like DC. There are a lot of DC characters I like. But do you know Pat Mills and the 2000 AD stuff? I want to play Sláine. He's the 2000 AD... I don't know. He's Pat's Conan or Lobo or Wolverine, and he's this Irish folklore beast of a man. I had this wonderful conversation with Pat and he said to me, "If this ever got made as a movie, you're my second choice." And I was like, "I don't need to ask who the first choice is." But he told me, and it's Tom Hardy, because of course it is. Yeah. You know, well maybe. But a guy can dream, a guy can dream. I love those movies so much. I love great cinema, but I also love great entertainment. I think when the Russo brothers got board with Marvel, they started just killing it and just so good. And then with Taika, or TD with the Thor stuff, come on, it's crazy good, right now. Taika is so good, he got Idris Elba to come back. That's how good he is. How good Taika is, right? Think about that. And Idris, rightfully so. I mean, he was underutilized and everyone knew it. But then, I'm like, "I'm gone now." Oh man. Honestly, I can talk to you for hours. But I know I can't. I missed being able to speak to you during Deadly Class, so I'm glad I got to speak to you now. Ryan Robbins: Yeah, man, likewise. And by the way, Illuminerdi, it's the best. It's so good. I love it so much.
If this interview was any indication of how great the latest Sniper movie is, you better go and see it ASAP. You’ll stay glued to the edge of your seat but left wanting more. Sniper: Rouge Mission is available on Blu-Ray, VOD, and Digital today.
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