Film Review: ‘Killer Elite’ Mistakes Cliché For Action
CHICAGO – “Killer Elite” is an exhausting, nonsensical, illogical, loud collection of action clichés masquerading as a modern action film. It features characters less three-dimensional than most cartoons doing and saying things that are only done and said in movies. Bad movies. Really bad movies.
From the “based on a true story” text that reminds us that the world was in a state of chaos in the early ‘80s to the opening scene that offers the only reason to like killer Danny (Jason Statham) – he doesn’t kill children! – “Killer Elite” doesn’t just exploit clichés of the genre, it feels like it wouldn’t exist without them. Danny is soft-spoken and loyal to his mentor Hunter (Robert De Niro) so that makes him a good guy. Who cares that he’s a killer, right? As long as he looks longingly out airplane windows and remembers the happier times with his lovely girlfriend (Yvonne Strahovski), we’ll go along with him. Never mind that he’s boring, annoying, and kind of dumb.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Killer Elite” in our reviews section.|
Danny gets caught in an international drama when Hunter is taken hostage by the sheik of Oman and our hero is forced to execute the SAS agents who allegedly killed the sheik’s other sons. He has one remaining offspring and he wants to make sure his enemies know that he best not be messed with after the sheik dies. Danny gets a team together, including the larger-than-life Davies (Dominic Purcell) and their activities soon draw the attention of Spike (Clive Owen), an agent wondering why his people are getting killed.
Based on author Ranulph Fiennes’ novel, “Killer Elite” is reportedly inspired by a true story, which makes the blanket of clichés that have been thrown on it all the more annoying. Some of the details of “Killer Elite” may have gone down in something resembling this manner but I’m sure it didn’t happen with this degree of cheesy dialogue and gigantic plot holes. It also didn’t go down with another lazy performance from Statham and work from De Niro that proves yet again that he’s purely in it for a paycheck. He looks about as believable holding a gun as my grandfather would at this point and delivers his lines in such a lazy manner that you can practically hear him calling his limo to get to his next paycheck gig while his co-stars deliver theirs. He’s just not there.
Photo credit: Open Road Films