#241 / 365 – ‘Killer Elite’ – 116 mins
Cinema Challenge #98 / 115
Based on the same real-life events that inspired Ranulph Fiennes’ gripping best-seller The Feather Men, writer/director Gary McKendry’s globe-trotting action thriller follows the adventures of an ex-special-ops agent (Jason Statham) as he emerges from retirement to track down his missing mentor (Robert De Niro). But accomplishing that goal won’t be easy, because a master killer (Clive Owen) has dispatched a trio of fierce assassins to exterminate the hardboiled former agent by any means necessary.
Killer Elite script is poor, with the story feeling tired in places and the dialogue whilst enjoyable, again gets very tired peppered with clichés like, “Killing is easy, living with it is the hard part.” and this classic exchange between Danny and his handler, “I’m done with Killing.” “But maybe killing ain’t done with you.”. The writers also try to include a love interest for Danny, but they needn’t have bothered and as it never really gets off the ground.
However the main reason and the only reason to watch Killer Elite is for its action and in that one area the movie does manage to deliver. To be honest it would be difficult to screw the action up when you have seasoned hard nut Jason Statham and Clive Owen who is now seemingly developing a taste for the genre, going head-to-head. The film opens up with a thrilling sequence that shows of Robert DeNiro (who is criminally underused throughout) unloading an automatic weapon at the camera, to suggest something more epic in the story. Statham even manages to come up with inventive ways of beating the shit out of an opponent, whilst tied to a chair.
With a first-rate cast I had high hopes that Killer Elite would be something special. However the plot leaves you not caring much throughout for the characters, but the action scenes were filmed well enough to keep you entertained along albeit it a slightly overlong 116 minute runtime.