American Sniper is the John Wayne war movie for the Iraq War, a designation that brings both good and bad consequences. First the good: it’s well-acted and the action sequences are impeccably staged, so no matter how you feel about the subject matter and the subsequent fallout, you can give director Clint Eastwood credit for delivering a gorgeous and heart-racing battle film. The problem arises when you step back and realize you are watching a classic western, where our protagonist Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is killing faceless enemy combatants to protect our freedom back at home. In a film that could have drawn much-needed attention to the experiences of our returning veterans (the most honest and poignant parts of the film deal with Kyle’s struggles with PTSD, returning home, and helping those with similar issues, even though Eastwood spends about ten whole minutes on that), Eastwood would rather focus on the exploits that gained Kyle the designation of deadliest sniper in US military history. I’m sure Kyle was more than his 160 confirmed kills, but you don’t get much more than that watching American Sniper, a film that’s more concerned with showing red spray than examining the man that’s taking the shots.