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Blu-ray Review: ‘Killer Elite’ is Lackluster Release For Lackluster Film

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CHICAGO – “Killer Elite” is one of those home releases that makes me wonder about the future of Blu-ray. It’s clearly not an edition designed for fans of this awful action movie, even if one does assume that it’s a very small group of people since it has practically no special features. And there really aren’t any Blockbusters any more, buying these things in bulk with a design on renting them. So, why not just download it? With more and more people able to download in HD, lackluster releases like that for “Killer Elite” are going to be the first to go the way of the VHS tape.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray Rating: 1.0/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 1.0/5.0

As for the actual movie, I didn’t do a bottom ten for 2011 but this would have been on it if I had. Gary McKendry’s excuse for a spy action film is a loud, exhausting, cliched piece of nonsense. And with no special features to lessen the blow of the suckiness of the actual film, there’s nothing worth recommending here. If the HD transfer itself wasn’t typical-for-Universal strong, it would merit a very-rare 0 out of 5.

Killer Elite
Killer Elite
Photo credit: Open Road Films

The plot of “Killer Elite” from my theatrical review because, well, it hasn’t changed since it played the multiplex:

“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.

Killer Elite was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 10, 2012
Killer Elite was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 10, 2012
Photo credit: Universal

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.”

Action movies routinely perform even better at home than they did in theaters. Way back to the days of VHS, the most-rented and most-bought titles of the year have almost always been action, which means that there are going to be a number of people checking out “Killer Elite” for the first time. Please take my warning seriously. This movie is stunningly boring. With its “Action Movie Cliche Mad Libs” title, one would assume there was something at least B-movie fun about it. Nope. Don’t be fooled.

And if you’re one of the few fans of this critical and commercial bomb, you should be even more furious than those of us who hated it. Don’t be mad at me. Be mad at the studio who thinks you don’t care enough about your movie to even include the theatrical trailer, much less interviews or behind-the-scenes featurettes. A few deleted scenes is all you’ll find. If you even go looking in the first place.

“Killer Elite” stars Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro, Yvonne Strahovski, and Dominic Purcell. It was written by Gary McKendry and Matt Sherring and directed by McKendry. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 10th, 2012 and is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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