Bradley Cooper is locked and loaded in the first trailer for "American Sniper," the fact-based drama about Navy SEAL and sharpshooter Chris Kyle, and he finds nothing but trouble in his crosshairs.
Set to the sounds of a slowly building heartbeat, the taut 2½-minute clip puts Cooper on the battlefield as Kyle, a Texas native who served four tours of duty in Iraq and became known as the most accurate marksman in U.S. military history. His lethal aim even earned him the nickname "the Devil of Ramadi" from Iraqi insurgents.
In the trailer, which you can watch above, he faces a life-or-death decision as he spots a woman and a child who appear to be preparing to blow up a squad of his fellow soldiers.
Based on Kyle's bestselling 2012 memoir, "American Sniper" is directed by Clint Eastwood, whose unadorned style and longtime fascination with themes of duty, morality and masculinity seem well-matched here.
The film also stars Sienna Miller, Max Charles and Luke Grimes.
If Cooper's aim is true, he could earn his third Oscar nomination in a row (after 2012's "Silver Linings Playbook" and 2013's "American Hustle"). "American Sniper" represents a passion project for the actor, who has been working to bring the story to the big screen for some time, since before Kyle's tragic death in February 2013 at the hands of a troubled veteran.
Warner Bros. will open "American Sniper" in limited release Dec. 25, with the film expanding on Jan. 16.