JASON STATHAM CLIVE OWEN ROBERT DENIRO
The last time Robert DeNiro starred in a really good, solid movie was 2006’s The Good Shepherd, which he also directed. To a new generation of movie watchers, he is just an old guy who lands in crappy movies. Killer Elite is a bad movie in sheep’s clothing; using Oscar nominated actor Clive Owen (The Boys Are Back, Trust) and DeNiro, the film makers attempt to draw the viewers attention away from Jason Statham (The Transporter, Crank), who is nothing more than an action star with attitude and raspy voice. First time feature film director Gary McKendry, along with lots of “based on a true story” bits and seemingly factual times, dates and places, suggest this is an important film, as well as an entertaining one. For the first hour we buy that.
The world is in chaos, the battle over oil rages between large countries and those smaller Middle Eastern countries who control it in the 1980's. That’s how the film begins, as we see specially trained killers Danny Bryce (Statham) and Hunter (DeNiro) escape from a deal gone bad, forcing Danny to retire from this dangerous and unforgiving means of work. Years later he is working on starting a life in Australia when Hunter is kidnapped and he is forced to take the deal of a vengeful man who will only release Hunter if his fallen sons are avenged. Danny must not only kill these three men but tape their confessions, make it look accidental and leave no trace. All the men he must kill are former members of the British SIS who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets contained.
The cinematography and editing have taken a page right from The Bourne Identity or The Green Zone. As far as looks go, it passes; it is filmed nearly entirely in Australia. However, with far too many characters, back dealings, subplots and locations it is easy for a viewer who just wants to see an action movie to get lost in the transference. On the other hand, savvy scenes like using a loaf of bread as a silencer or back flipping on top of someone while tied to a chair keep the audience awake, at least. Former model and Olympic diver Statham, like many actors who do what he does, only knows how to play one character, whether he is in a Guy Ritchie flick or running around in a hospital gown.
I’m disappointed to see Clive Owen back in the type of movie that made me discredit him to begin with, his risky roles in films like Closer or the softer father figure performances in Trust and The Boys Are Back turned him into a respected actor. Killer Elite should end at an obvious point, but 20 extra minutes are tacked on and really rip the wool off the wolf, revealing the fact that this is more like a fourth installment of The Transporter than anything based on a true story. In fact, the info given after the film basically says the writers are just guessing at the majority of the events they proclaim to be “true”.
Final Thought – Don’t be fooled by DeNiro and Owen; in the end it’s just another Statham action flick.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody