"Killer Elite" is Anything But Elite [REVIEW]
“Killer Elite” is the new action thriller starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert DeNiro. It is no different than most action films and, especially, those starring Statham. I love Jason Statham, he kicks ass, brings a physical presence to the screen, and he does it all with such cool, convincing delivery. Nothing says "badass" like being a leading man in Hollywood with a British accent and stage six male pattern baldness (according to Bosley’s Hair Solutions). The only complaint I would have is that Jason Statham plays himself in every single film. There is no real dynamic. Then again, this doesn’t bother me or his fans because we show up to see him do just what he does. Kick ass.
“Killer Elite” is about Danny (Statham), a former S.A.S. agent and Hunter (DeNiro), his father-like figure in the field. Together they pull off covert operations around the world in the late 70’s and 1980, the year that the film takes place. When things go wrong, Danny swears his killing days are over. We find him a year or so later living in a Winnebago in Australia. It is there where he receives a letter containing a photo of Hunter as a prisoner. Danny travels to meet those who sent the letter. It is there that he finds out that a sheik is using Hunter as a bargaining chip. He wants Danny to kill those who are responsible for the murders of three of his sons. The sheik only has six months to live and he wants these men brought to justice before he kicks the bucket. These men are all former S.A.S. agents. Danny’s mission, should he choose to accept it, is to travel to England to murder these former agents. He must make it look as though they are accidents. These deaths can’t be traced back to the sheik and the one son he has left. These men must also confess their guilt on video before being disposed of. Danny accepts.
Danny assembles a small team of a couple of old buddies and together they will pull off these hits. Only they are discovered by a shady individual named Spike (Owen). Spike is part of an even shadier committee that overlooks… well I don’t know what the hell they overlook. This happens to be a part of the film that isn’t covered enough but then again, I didn’t really care. What I was there for, like everyone else in the theater, was to see some badass action. And “Killer Elite” had some of that. Especially when Spike and his cronies get hot on the trail of Danny’s team and the bullets start flying along with some bone crunching violence. And, of course, what former spy vs. former spy thriller would be complete with out some twists and turns and a few knives in some backs. But is it worth seeing in the theaters? Not really. This is a nice instant queue flick. It is something to watch if you are a die hard fan of action films or Statham.
The unfortunate thing about the whole movie is the wasted talents of the lead three actors. Clive Owen is an Oscar nominated actor who has flaunted his chops before in the likes of “Closer” and “Children of Men”. Robert DeNiro is a legend, but mainly for what he did a long time ago, certainly not anything in recent years worth mentioning. And I wish Statham would give himself something different. He has charisma and can deliver a line just as good as a punch, a kick, or a nice flying leap off a high building. We have enjoyed him in “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”, “Snatch”, and “The Bank Job” which slipped under too many folks radar.
All in all, “Killer Elite” is far from being an elite film. It is another paint-by-number action film that will be forgotten in a few weeks and fished out of the $4.99 bin at Best Buy this time next year.
Rating: ** (out of *****)