Movie Reviews

Killer Elite: Tough guys finish in the middle

By Zul AndraMovies - 19 October 2011 9:14 AM | Updated 9:27 AM

Killer Elite: Tough guys finish in the middle

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Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Firearms that seem to not run out of ammo, fireworks from explosions, foul language and fiery sex: These are the parts of a sum that makes any film watchable. But is it worth watching? That’s another question altogether.

Killer Elite’s main appeal lies is one simple fact: Seeing Jason Statham and Clive Owen beat the crap out of each other. Robert De Niro is in there to provide balance to the story and to prove that his grey hair can still take all that red blood splatter. But as the credit rolls, the only thing that the all-star trio is left with is a bruised fist on one hand and an overtly messy script on the other.

The film is an adaptation based loosely on the events detailed in retired British Special Air Service (SAS) member Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ novel, The Feather Men. Fiennes claims that the book was “based on actual events.” It is naive to believe that everything in the film (or even the novel) actually happened in real life. It is even more naïve to believe that you could actually fight while being tied to a chair, escape out the window with it and walk away unscathed after landing on a van. That’s what Danny Bryce (Jason Statham) did after trained ex-special force member Spike Logan (Clive Owen) missed a shot like 5 feet away.

The biggest miss is not in the plot as it starts out simple. Bryce’s mentor, Hunter (De Niro) gets kidnapped by The Agent (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) because he failed a job. Bryce meets a dying sheikh from Dubai who wants him to kill three former SAS agents who murdered his sons. If Danny completes the job, Hunter will be released.

Killer Elite

This is all too easy for Statham--who else can take out an army of baddies in minutes without any commercial interruptions. But the sheikh decides to make things difficult for him and throws a curveball—Bryce must videotape the murderers’ confessions and make it look like an accident.  So now Bryce must not only be equipped with guns but also a video camera –such a hassle for a super assassin.

Logan (Owen) on the other hand is part of a secret society of former operatives that protect their own, and he’s not too happy that his homeboys are getting ruffled. The society is called The Featherman because apparently their touches are so very daft. But Bryce and his quickly assembled team are having none of it, and kills all the men (and other inanimate objects) that get in their way. Logan tracks him down and when they meet, they share witty tough guy one-liners and smirks.

The other miss is what comes in between the fun guy stuff like things getting blown up, sex, car chases, shootouts and punch ups. Throw in political motivations, military campaigns that revolve around oil, conspiracies, Bryce’s flashbacks, and unnecessary complex character relationships when all you really want to do is to see someone getting shot.

Killer Elite

The shootouts seem to take on an empathic nature. Not many people die here, they are either shot in the arms or the legs but rarely the head. Perhaps they could ‘live to tell the tale’ to their mates back in their badass military base.

The fight scenes are fun to watch. Seeing Statham and Owen throw each other is invigorating, and seeing veteran De Niro still packing a punch brings a tear to the eye.

Other than the senseless action, everything else didn’t quite make sense. That’s where most tough-guy movies fall in between.