50.9 F
Sunday, January 29, 2023
HomeBlogPopcorn Parent Movie ReviewsMovie Review: Killer Elite (R)

Movie Review: Killer Elite (R)

killer_eliteKernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernal

Length: 105 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Age Appropriate for: 16+. Violence, language and sexual content, like some female toplessness and implied sex scenes. It’s not so vulgar or graphically violent (although there are stabbings, bullets to the head, and other methods of murder) that older teens will be overwhelmed, but it’s not the kind of thing you want a younger teen to experience, either.

Jason Statham never learns, does he? ‘Killer Elite’ is exactly the kind of absurdly idiotic action film Statham always stars in, but Clive Owen and Robert De Niro really have no excuse.

By Roxana Hadadi

 “Killer Elite” is a movie defined by macho facial hair. Jason Statham sports the same rugged stubble he always does, like when he was (another) professional killer in “The Mechanic.” Robert De Niro shows off a grizzled, unkempt uber-beard. And Clive Owen’s absurdly pencil-thin mustache should get its own acting credit. Literally, it’s amazing.

But it’s a bad sign when my favorite part of an action movie is its leading men’s facial hair, isn’t it? It’s just that “Killer Elite” is so goofy, so dumb, so unintelligibly plotted and so shamelessly terrible that there is really nothing else to praise. The movie is supposedly based on a real story, which British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes adapted into a novel, “The Feather Men,” in 1991, but the whole thing smacks of escapist irrelevance. It’s such a confusing, idiotic picture that after a screening a few weeks ago, some of my colleagues and I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out what actually happened in the movie. “Killer Elite” is about 100 minutes long. It should not take 20 percent of a movie’s runtime to muddle through its ineptitude.

And yet, here we are. “Killer Elite” moves at an intensely rapid pace, delivering a story that you will need to take notes to comprehend (or just don’t even try and pay attention to the fight scenes instead). Danny (Statham), a retired member of Britain’s Special Air Service, worked with mentor Hunter (De Niro) for years as a professional assassin, but quit the game after beginning to realize the impact of his kills. After moving to Australia to start a new life — and a new romance with gorgeous former schoolmate Anne (Yvonne Strahovski) — Danny is pulled back into the game when he hears Hunter has disappeared.

Where’s Hunter? Taken captive by a sheikh in Oman, of course! Furious over his son’s death at the hands of four SAS agents, the sheikh kidnaps Hunter to lure Danny out of hiding; if Danny kills the four men responsible, the sheikh will let Hunter go. The catch, though, is that all the deaths have to look like accidents; they can’t be traced back to the sheikh, or the deal is off.

While Danny musters up his team — the quieter, tech-savvy Meier (Aden Young) and more bombastic muscle, Davies (Dominic Purcell) — to start infiltrating the clique of retired SAS members, he’s simultaneously being pursued by nemesis Spike (Owen). A former high-up in the SAS who now works with the Feather Men, a shadowy, somewhat official government group whose main responsibility is to protect ex-SAS members from revenge, retaliation or other danger, Spike soon figures out something sinister is going on to members of his old team.

And when the questions start leading to Danny and his men, it’s Spike chasing Danny, Danny chasing those four ex-SAS guys, the sheikh lurking ominously in the background, Hunter looking bored in a desert cell, etc. It’s a web of men dancing around each other, ready to pounce and fight at any second, but for a movie built on the constant thread of impending violence, where’s the tension?

There really … isn’t any. “Killer Elite” follows a standard formula where the dudes stalk one another, and then they confront each other, and finally they beat each other up. The ending leaves things open for a sequel, which means nothing definitive actually happens, even though a bunch of bodies pile up. We’re supposed to care about these people, but why? Danny is so calm and stoic that you rarely glimpse a real person in there; thanks to movies like this, I really consider the idea that Statham is just a macho robot created to star in countless action flicks and date endless supermodels. The character of Hunter is smart, I guess, but learning more about his and Danny’s friendship would make each of their backstories more believable. And Spike is, as his name suggests, nothing more than a mad dog. Owen seems to be enjoying himself, really reveling in the smackdowns with Statham — plus, that mustache! — but just because it looks like he’s having a good time doesn’t mean we will.

And you won’t. Great moments are scattered here and there, like when Danny does a weird flip out of a window, even though he’s tied to a chair and was being tortured by Spike, but haven’t we come to expect such unbelievable feats of testosterone from Statham? “Killer Elite” has all the right manly parts, but just like a jacked-up guy on steroids, there’s nothing real behind all those muscles.


- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Tips From our Sponsors

Stay Connected


Most Read