Inspired by true events, Killer Elite centers around a retired special forces member (on the UK side in Britain’s Elite Special Air Service) who is forced out of retirement when his mentor is taken alive. His task is to kill 3 assassins in retribution for their deeds in relation to the murdered sons of another power player that is responsible for taking his mentor hostage. Get all that?
Anyway, this film is basically a Jason Statham vehicle featuring Robert De Niro and Clive Owen. Unfortunately, even though it’s based on a true story, it still plays out like a typical Statham action film. Very formulaic without any big surprises – he was out, now they pulled him back in, he has a disgruntled girlfriend, his mentor is in trouble, he’s up against impossible odds, Clive Owen is trying to capture him, the bad guys want him dead, etc., etc.
There’s obviously some talented people involved here (De Niro, Owens is good in here too) so you’d think they’d try to come up with at least some new element to keep this fresh. Nope. They made the same movie we’ve seen a thousand times now.
Not to say this film is poorly done, it’s not. The production value is great, the talent puts in some decent performances (although Statham is his usual cookie-cutter self), and the writing is very average for this kind of film. But that’s the key word that nails the experience of watching this movie – average.
This movie tanked at the box office and it’s pretty evident as to the why – I think people are just sick of seeing the same damn films over and over again. If you’re in the mood for not thinking, not being challenged, not being surprised, and you just want the same vacuous experience you’ve had time and time again, then you’ll want to check out Killer Elite.
reviewed by Sean McKnight