Killer Elite Blu-Ray Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Despite the title, Killer Elite has nothing to do with the 1975 film “The Killer Elite” that starred James Caan and Robert Duvall (and was a far better film by the way) other than the fact that both films deal with private assassins who work for covert government agencies. This is titled as being based on a true story but you always have to take those claims with a large grain of salt. Danny (Statham) tries to retire from the business but when he hears that his former partner Hunter (DeNiro) is being held captive in Oman, he comes out of retirement for one more job. A wealthy but exiled Sheikh wants Danny to hunt down and kill the three men who killed his three sons in the Dhofar Rebellion in the 1970s in order to gain Hunter’s release. The problem is that the three men are all highly skilled former British SAS agents. Danny recruits two other former partners, Davies (Purcell) and Meier (Aden Young,) to help in the job for the $6 million dollar contact the Sheikh is offering. On the other side a secret group of wealthy businessmen, and former SAS agents known as the Feathermen is looking to do what they can to protect their own and have tasked their enforcer Spike Logan (Owen) to track down and stop the assassins.
What might seem to be a fairly simple plot gets muddied up halfway through the film with one twist after another. There’s betrayals and double-crosses galore leaving you to wonder just who the good guys and bad guys are. Of course the answer is neither as both sides learn they are essentially just pawns in a game of big government ambitions. The film seemingly reached its end and then you realize there is still nearly an hour left.
Director Gary Mckendry is at his strength when we’re seeing the characters interact with each other. Unfortunately the energy in the first half of the film cannot be sustained over the second half and McKendry begins to recycle scenes over and over. After seeing Danny beat the crap out of the Sheikh’s bodyguards three times you’d think the old man might have hired some with a little more skill. The final ½ hour evaporates into typical car and foot chases and it’s too bad as this could have been a solid action film but as it is it is merely ordinary.
Look, Statham is never going to win any acting awards and I hate how directors try to shoehorn him into romantic scenes. He is what he is, and that’s essentially an 80’s action star for the 21st century. As for Robert DeNiro, the guy can still give great performances but this isn’t one of them. DeNiro seems only too comfortable with settling into old guy supporting roles anymore. If I had to hear him call Statham “kiddo” one more time like an affectionate grandfather I would have tossed the blu-ray disc out the window. Dominic Purcell gave the most enjoyable performance as the hard drinking and wisecracking Davies.
In the end, Killer Elite is a good hour-long film stretched out to nearly two hours and it doesn’t have enough going for it to sustain it over that length.
Deleted Scenes (9:43) – There are 13 deleted scenes but since they only run a total of less than ten minutes they are very short and don’t further the film in the least. These are mostly completely throwaway scenes like Danny practicing his knife throwing in the woods or receiving a package in the mail…real exciting stuff!
Mania Grade: C+
Blu-ray: Killer Elite
Starring: Jason Statham, Robert DeNiro, Clive Owen, Dominic Purcell
Written By: Matt Sherring
Directed By: Gary McKendry
Distributor: Universal Home Entertainment
Original Year of Release: 2011
Extras: See Below