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Review: ‘Killer Elite’—secret agents, spies and a whole mess of guns

October 18th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Cathy Morgan

Kidnappings, special ops and a film packed full of guns and crime are what you should expect from just about any Jason Statham movie. Killer Elite is no exception, but it does take an interesting twist on its plot and location choices.

Based on a true story, our main character Danny (Jason Statham) is an ex-special ops agent of Britain’s Elite Air Service who is lured back into the business of killing in order to save his mentor Hunter (Robert De Niro). Danny is ordered to assassinate three men and make the deaths look accidental. This is further complicated by a secret British Society called the “feather men,” whose main objective is to protect the men that Danny is after. This is where Spike (Clive Owen), their right-hand man, come in, sent to do their dirty work without anyone knowing of the group’s existence.

As an audience, we are always left at a distance when it comes down to truly understanding the characters personally. Movies about spies are supposed to leave us with the thought that agents are always mysterious, so don’t expect well-rounded character development from Killer Elite.

What is unique about this movie, however, is how it was filmed. Statham is known for his impressive fighting and karate styles in his movie roles. Director Gary McKendry wanted the fights to feel more real, so instead of people jumping off walls and giving us Matrix-like action, Killer Elite shows us the real elbow throwing, biting and eye-gouging you would expect to see in a real fight. It makes the movie gritty and keeps the audience waiting to see what Statham is going to throw out next.

This movie takes viewers all across the globe, from Australia—where Danny supposedly lives in hiding—to his manhunt in London; we even jump into the Middle East, where Hunter is being held by a rich sheik whose oil has sparked a war with England. The scenery and location choices of this movie keep each moment fresh.

Killer Elite does give us those intense fighting scenes and explosions you look for in an action film, but it lacks some control when it comes to the camera work. It seems like movies these days are all about the shaky cam “experience” when two people are locked in combat, and I feel that takes away from the scene itself. Most of the time you miss what’s going on or it takes you so long to understand what’s happening that it’s already over.

My final thought is that yes, this movie is worth your buck. You will see some things that will take you by surprise, like Statham jumping out of a window backwards while tied to a chair, but overall it is still a generic action film where the hero gets his way in the end. Car chases and guns will always be cool.


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