30 September 2011 | dvc5159
Entertaining but not that dumb either
"Killer Elite", not to be confused for the Sam Peckinpah film of the same name, is basically Jason Statham being Jason Statham kicking ass, but this time he's facing off against Clive Owen and a bunch of other, more sophisticated bad guys. But since Robert De Niro showed him the tricks of the trade, it just couldn't get any more macho than it already is.
This movie is not just the typical shoot-em-up action fest. There is an actual espionage plot going underway, and though the screenplay isn't exactly original, the story unfolds in an engaging and intriguing way that I became concerned of the story for once and not just awaiting every action scene. The characters are fleshed out more often than most shoot-em-up movies of late. There's some beams of intelligence in certain scenes, though it's clearly not on the same level of the Jason Bourne movies. It tries hard though, and I have to give it credit for that. Was it really based on a true story? The film certainly doesn't say so, as it presents the somewhat complex tale as the usual Jason Statham ass-kicking fest. No comment there.
Judging from his previous movies I'd say "Killer Elite" is better than Statham's previous outings "The Mechanic" and the dreadful "Blitz". Statham is still great at being badass and here he is no exception, although he actually gets hurt in this film a couple of times. Clive Owen is the best and most convincing actor in the film almost giving Statham a run for his money. De Niro is low-key here but I suspect it's just a warm-up for his next big project with Scorsese. Yvonne Strahovski is just emotional fodder for Statham's character and her moments with him are somewhat clichéd but still, not cheesy, although knowing her role from TV's "Chuck", she deserves better. Dominic Purcell is also quite funny as one of Statham's assassin friends. The rest of the cast was not bad.
Production wise, the settings all look gritty and downbeat and someone's bound to get beaten up or shot pretty good in one of these sets. The music by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek is alright but by-the-numbers. Simon Duggan's cinematography is good too - until the fight scenes. We do not want excessive shaky camera during ALL of the fight scenes, Mr. Duggan. The epic fight scene between Statham and Owen was almost ruined because of this.
If there were some things that would make the film better, they would be - better dialogue at parts, more Owen, and much more De Niro. As it stands, "Killer Elite" is a pretty good, solid and tough action film, and will definitely score a home run with Statham fans.
I eagerly await Statham's "Safe" because I feel that film is going to be genuinely very good.
Overall rating: 69/100