Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“He’s like a father to you, right? You don’t do this, he’s a dead man.” That’s how ex-special ops agent Danny (Jason Statham) is brought out of retirement to try to save his friend and mentor Hunter (Robert De Niro) from certain death at the hands of ruthless, powerful men seeking revenge and retribution in the action movie Killer Elite.
Trusting only two other ex-special ops who are now mercenaries-for-hire, Danny sets out to kill three assassins after taping their confessions of the murders they committed. This puts Danny up against a secret military order, operating under the auspices of British Intelligence, and their leader, a cunning ex-agent named Spike (Clive Owen) who’ll stop at nothing to protect the men he served with.
Covering the globe from the Middle East, Paris, Australia and London, Danny and his team gather information about their three targets and set traps for them, trying to stay one step ahead of Spike and any other operatives who could stop them.
Based on a true story, Killer Elite is an action-adventure thriller with a solid cast that suffers from a flimsy, uninteresting plot. The writing is weak, with one dimensional characters who the audience has seen way too many times before. Jason Statham as Danny delivers the same silent, threatening performance he’s done before in other films such as Crank and The Transporter. There is absolutely nothing new here from him on the screen.
Clive Owen is effectively menacing as Spike the ex-agent whose only redeeming value is the loyalty he feels and shows to his ex-comrades in arms. Perhaps the worst thing about the film is the complete waste of a great actor, Robert De Niro, who basically sits most of the action out – with the exception of a brief, failed escape attempt early in the film – waiting to be rescued or released.
Another big problem with the film is the uninspired action scenes featuring shootouts and fistfights which have been choreographed and directed much better in other superior films. There’s no real sense of tension or drama, and the pacing is choppy.
Unoriginal and uneven, Killer Elite is a forgettable action film which you should forget about seeing altogether.
Killer Elite hits theaters on September 23, 2011 and is rated R for strong violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.