Snipes (2002) - Synopsis
“SNIPES” is an action-thriller set on the streets of Philadelphia, it is a journey through the
rap music industry and those who’ll do whatever it takes to stay on top of the game.
It’s the story of Erik Triggs, a teenager who’s got a problem with authority figures and a reputation as Philly’s top “sniper” - the term used for a subculture of kids that record labels employ to plaster the city with promotional materials. Erik is currently working for Ill Wax Records, a company founded by notorious ex-street hustler Bobby Starr. Ill Wax may be coming off a string of flops, but Starr is convinced he’s found the golden goose in his latest discovery of Prolifik, a rapper whom Erik idolizes. Prolifik’s first single is burning up the charts and Bobby Starr can’t wait to rush his debut album out to the masses - but first Prolifik has to finish it, and lately the studio sessions have yielded nothing but infighting and more delays.
Meanwhile, Erik has a best friend named Malik with his own delusions of rap-star grandeur, and when Malik needs studio time to finish up his demo, Erik “borrows” a set of keys to the Ill Wax recording studio. They sneak in late one night, only to walk in on the aftermath of a shootout: walls streaked with blood and two corpses riddled with bullets. Erik and Malik flee and make a pact to keep what they’ve seen a secret - they weren’t supposed to be up there, and Erik’s on probation. As far as they’re concerned, it never happened. And when they realize the next day that the bodies have been disposed of and the crime’s been covered up, it’s as if it never happened.
But someone is aware that Erik and Malik were in the studio that night, and believes they were involved. Soon Malik turns up dead and a pack of goons are staking out Erik’s house. Erik goes on the run, seeking out his co-worker Cheryl for help. He realizes he’d snapped some digital pictures outside the studio, and in one of the shots he unwittingly photographed the true killers as they left the building. The picture is too vague to establish their identities, but provides them with the clue they need to begin their search for the truth.
But the studio murders were only the beginning of what turns out to be a much darker and more complex conspiracy. Erik discovers that Prolifik has been kidnapped (or so it seems) by a gang he used to run with, and they’re attempting to extort a half-million dollars from Bobby Starr for the safe return of the album’s master tapes. But as Erik comes to learn, nothing is what it seems. Caught in the crossfire between the kidnappers and Bobby Starr’s crew, Erik must rely on his wits to stay alive - and ultimately, to turn the tables on them all.
“SNIPES” recalls such classic thrillers as Marathon Man, Three Days Of The Condor, and Blow Out. A roller-coaster ride of twists and revelations that builds to an explosive climax, it sheds light on the dark side of a business fueled by greed and disposable heroes. In the end, it’s all about the hype - and in the case of Erik Triggs, the hype is a dangerous thing to believe.