Thursday, September 29, 2011

Killer Elite

Lo and behold, Killer Elite starring Jason Statham, Robert De Niro, and Clive Owen was underwhelming. I was hoping for another surprise a kin to the Statham-led The Bank Job from a few years back. This is not that.

Statham does his thing. He doesn't stretch. No on ever asks him to. I finally convinced myself to check out Killer Elite because Clive Owen was in it and I am definitely a fan. No one really phones it in, but it is also clear no one is able to rise above the material. Start the cliches. Jason Statham plays a hit man who leaves the profession after a child witnesses one of his hits. Check. It humanizes our criminal protagonist. He's pulled back into one last job. Check. He reluctant to leave his new life for the one he left for good reasons. He's in love with someone who doesn't understand what he does or did for a living. Check. Our protagonist needs to be conflicted, doesn't he? The antagonist with the upper hand circles protagonist and delivers needless exposition instead of winning? Oh, oh, oh! Check. I've seen it before and better, even from De Niro in The Score.

To make matters worse, the trio of stars are forced to deliver mediocre dialogue throughout and the story hinges on moments of illogic or convenience to move the plot forward. The film claims to be based on true story, but I'd rather see something I can believe.

I like Jason Statham. He's likable and baddass enough to root for, but after seeing the movie and taking into consideration it's historical roots, I can't be the only one who would rather see a movie starring Clive Owen's former SAS officer protecting former SAS officers and the interests of the secretive "Feather Men" society. Ditch the cliched hitman plot that we've seen enough times to recite ourselves and show us the part of your project that holds real fascination and intrigue. Don't make De Niro run around and take down henchmen. It worked in Ronin, but that was a long time ago.

Somethings work. I can admit to the thrill of seeing a knock-down-drag-out brawl between Statham and Owen. I also enjoyed...well, that's really the highlight. Meh. Oh, and Owen rocks that mustache.

"The script is a mess. It's an object lesson in taking a nonfiction book ("The Feather Men," about a cadre of ex-British Special Air Service operatives) and making a hash of it." - Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune


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