Killer Elite is set in 1982 and follows the story of Danny (Statham), a hitman who gets tired of the game and retires. He is called out of retirement when his mentor/partner/father figure (De Niro) gets kidnapped. The man who kidnapped De Niro demands that Danny assassinate three former SAS (the British equivalent of Navy Seals) members. Meanwhile, another former SAS member (Owen) investigates the assassinations of his former team members.
Now, De Niro may have top billing, but his role is basically an extended cameo. Clive Owen actually plays a fantastic villain (anti-villain). That’s the interesting thing, there’s no straight-up good guy or bad guy. Even the extremely stereotypical Arabic Sultan who kidnaps De Niro to get revenge for the death of his sons is worthy of sympathy. Owen is just looking to avenge his comrades that Danny kills and Danny’s just killing them to get his mentor/partner/father figure back. And Jason Statham uses a goddamn loaf of bread as a silencer.
The film overall is pretty mediocre, half the cast phones it in, the other half hams it up and neither are really noteworthy or worth your hour-and-a-half. The movie tries so hard to be much smarter than it actually is. It’s a Jason Statham action movie, not masterpiece theater. It’s also more 80’s than I’d care for. One thing I will say about Killer Elite is that Clive Owen’s mustache is incredible.
Killer Elite tries to scrape too much out of what amounts to a pretty simple story. The plot twists are needless, the complexity is needless, the run time is needless, the trite and shitty dialogue is needless- well, needless to say, you shouldn’t see this one.
The movie might have gotten by on its locales, decent cinematography, and surprisingly good action scenes-, but the atrocious script and dialogue dooms the movie to abysmal mediocrity. As Statham puts it: “Killing isn’t hard. Living with it is the hard part.” Well, Jason, making Killer Elite isn’t hard, watching it is the hard part.
The movie is dull, trite, and unnecessarily bloated . It tries super-hard to be so much more than it unfortunately ends up being. It’s much more than another Transporter clone or Statham vehicle, but much less than the sum of its parts. It had a lot of potential, but floundered it all with an over-convoluted plot and stupidly pointless twists.
That’s it for this week, join me next week as I head to the cinema to review what’s sure to be a better movie- or at least one worth talking more about: 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.
Meanwhile, be sure to check out my science column: Trope-ic Thunder
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