Killer Elite

5 Oct

Killer Elite’ based on a ‘factional’ book by the name of ‘The Feather Men’, written by Sir Ranulph Fiennes; is a dramatic illustration about three Special Air Service (SAS) officers assassinated by an elite hit squad to avenge the death of ‘Osama lookalike’ Sheikh Amr’s (Rodney Afif) three sons in Oman.

After a ‘job’ where he shoots a man in front of his son in Mexico, mercenary Danny (Jason Stathom) decides to retire (“I’m done with killing”) in Australia when he is forcefully hired by Sheikh Amr to finish the job his imprisoned mentor, Hunter (Robert De Niro) couldn’t. Along with Davies (Dominic Purcell) and Meier (Aden Young), he goes along hunting three SAS officers for confession and execution. A secret society made up of former operatives to protect their interests gets wind of this and their watch dog Spike Logan (Clive Owen) is put on the job to get to the bottom of it. Political oil interest is thrown in to the mix to put a third angle to proceedings.

Jason Stathom

With a pack of talented actors to boot, your expectations towards what seemed like a typical action film is quadrupled with every teaser you see. Directed by Gary McKendry, this British film throws dozens of plots and twists at you hoping to come out looking smart like the Bourne series but instead gets a little bruised and bemused managing to stay afloat with fast paced action. Unfortunately the camera work by Simon Duggan doesn’t put much of the action in the right light with hand held shaky cinematography keeping you too close to the action leaving you a little confused. The screenplay by Matt Sherring is cliché-ridden thanks to done-to-death characters and to some extent obtuse dialogues (“The killing is easy, living with it is hard.”).

Clive Owen with The Feather Men

Jason Stathom as ‘Danny’ generates nothing different from the usual ‘the man who can take on a whole army’ act that we’re so used to seeing him do. Pitted against Clive Owen, he does take a beating here and there but looks unscathed right after the fight is over. Clive Owen delivers the best performance in the film and the dogfight chemistry he shares with Stathom is intensely entertaining. It’s a feast to watch him out shine the rest of the cast with a dead right act.

Robert De Niro with Jason Stathom

Robert De Niro was wasted with a role relegated to short burst of snippets in the beginning and end of the film. With no real space to breathe, it felt like a setup for promotional leverage for a good pay cheque in exchange. Yvonne Strahovski as Danny’s love interest back home, ‘Anne’ was shorthanded into the script at multiple points to show the emotional side of our lethal killer, which falls flat instantly. Gladly there was no ‘damsel in distress’ moment and Yvonne Strahovski goes through the motion without a tripping over.

Yvonne Strahovski as Anne with Jason Stathom

Dominic Purcell and Aden Young provide sufficient support to Stathom and have their respective moments to shine, though only Dominic manages to leave a lasting image. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the Agent, and Rodney Affif have standard unintelligent roles.

Elite hit squad : Jason Stathom, Aden Young and Dominic Purcell

Even with all its imperfections, the film works to an extent. The suspense is held together well with unexpected character twists and well choreographed action scenes. The story may not be the smartest one around, but it doesn’t dumb itself down just to be universally accepted. Even with a slightly humdrum acting display, the chemistry between the male actors is enjoyable especially with no clear good side to root for. It might not be a cult status film but it manages to leave an imprint in your head.

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One Response to “Killer Elite”

  1. CMrok93 October 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    It’s an uneven mix, though it still delivers in fits and starts. However, I just wish they did more with the opportunities of they had of having De Niro, Owen, and Statham in the same film. Nice review.

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