Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Killer Elite

Leaves Barely A Scratch

Director: Gary McKendry
Writers: Gary McKendry, Matt Sherring, Ranilph Fiennes (novel "The Feather Men")
Cast: Jason Statham, Clive Owen. Robert De Niro, Dominic Purcell, Aden Young, Rodney Roberts, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Yvonne Strahovski

SYNOPSIS: After an assignment that nearly costs the life of a child, assassin for hire Danny retires to the Australian countryside. When his friend and fellow mercenary is held as ransom, Danny is forced to take one last job - one that captures the attention of a shadowy group of ex-British covert agents covering up a bigger agenda.

REVIEW: Relative newcomer Gary McKendry writes (with help from Matt Sherring) and directs Killer Elite, a story based on the non-fiction book, "The Feather Men", written by Ranulph Fiennes. McKendry, with only the short film Everything In This Country Must, leads an ambitious charge to deliver a compelling action/intrigue based on the Fiennes' work.

Revolving around the exploits of a group of mercenaries, Killer Elite focuses on Danny (Jason Statham), a best-of-the-best killer, who decides to retire after a contract nearly costs the life of a child at his hands. Leaving his friends and fellow mercenaries behind, Danny looks to live in quiet respite in Australia away from the turmoil of the real world. But when his friend and mentor Hunter Robert De Niro) is captured and held against his will by Sheikh Amr (Rodney Afif), Danny is forced to return to the lifestyle he left behind to secure Hunter's freedom. The job consists of killing three British ex-military soldiers who killed three of four of the Sheikh's sons in the Oman war. As Jason begrudgedly carried out the contract, he attracts the attention of 'The Feather Men', a shadowy group of ex-military who still look to pull the strings while they wear their three-piece suits instead of uniforms. Spike (Clive Owen), 'The Feather Men's' liaison for all local wetworks around the globe becomes more persistent and obsessed as he fails to stop Danny from carrying out his contract.

A fan of Jason Statham from the Transportor series, Crank and The Italian Job, and Clive Owen from The Children of Men and Shoot 'em Up, both actors have proven they can carry out big action with fast fists and smoking guns. Add veteran actor Robert De Niro to the mix and you should have the elements of a great action flick. Unfortunately, even with Statham and Owen's permanent scowls and physical prowess, their gifts of ass-kicking is dragged low by poor execution of the 'intrigue' part of the story. De Niro, as Hunter, brings sarcasm as a form of levity - and it does get a few chuckles - but ends up being more of a distraction than anything else. His proper place in the story comes when he helps Danny by following Danny's girlfriend Anne (Yvonne Strahowski from NBC's Chuck), showing some true grit. Dominic Purcell (FOX's Prison Break) as Davies and Aden Young as Meier are standouts as the remaining members of Danny's crew, as well as Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (ABC's Lost) as the crew's agent for more work and information.

 A solid concept on paper, McKendry's pace of the story crawls by like a soldier shot in the gut and left to die in a hot desert landscape. Without the power and action appeal of Statham, Owens, De Niro and the others - and the decent action sequences sprinkled throughout the film - Killer Elite ends up being little more than a soggy Tom Clancy wannabe.

WORTH: Rental

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