Killer Elite review by Captain Video

When they make a movie based on my life story, I want Jason Statham to play me. Why Jason Statham you might ask? Is my life an action packed adventure? No. However, I have this theory that Jason Statham could make something as dull and ordinary as my life story seem interesting. But after watching Killer Elite I am having second thoughts about my theory.

Killer Elite is allegedly based on a true story. (Although I tend to think that anyone who writes a book purporting to be an ex-special forces person is indeed anything but ex-special forces.) Danny (Jason Statham) is an elite murder for hire mercenary along with his buddy/mentor Hunter (Robert De Niro) who travel the world making their living by stopping others from living. Sadly the De Niro character doesn't get enough screen time and he is underutilized in this film. However as "Mercs" go, Danny and Hunter are the best of the best, in fact you could call them the Killer Elite.

On a routine job, in the middle of some foreign country, the job goes bad, and as every professional hitman with a heart of gold knows, you don't neutralize kids. And even more importantly, you don't hesitate. Danny's hesitation will come back to haunt him. (Note cliche #1) As a result of the job gone bad, Danny gives up the mercenary lifestyle and returns home to Australia. There he falls in love with a childhood friend and tries to lead a normal life.

The aging Hunter (Di Nero) is unable or unwilling to give up the lifestyle and eventually tries to do one job too many. Hunter is caught and imprisoned, and the only person that can get him out is - you guessed it - Danny. Our reluctant to get back in to the killing game hero (cliche #2) has to take on the job that no one else will in order to get his buddy back. This latest job is no ordinary hit, these are honor killings for an elder that has been kicked out of his oil rich lands (cliche #3, ok I am going to stop counting now). To avenge his family on his deathbed, he hires Danny to kill the Special Ops Commandos that killed his son. Killing the best of the best is no easy feat, so Danny builds a team that can help him accomplish his mission and free his friend.

There are a few drawbacks to this film. For example, there are no likeable characters. Everyone is a killer, I think we are supposed to like Danny because he tries to minimize the collateral damage to the innocent. But everything is shades of grey with no black or white. While the shades of grey is a nice philosophical statement it doesn't make for an interesting movie if it is not handled properly. And in this movie it just doesn't pull it off. Also the love story is weak, there is no connection between Danny and his new girl and no chemistry. Additionally, the buddy story is weak no real sacrifices are made, just risk taking. It seems the film was switching between a buddy flick and a love story and missed both marks.

The Commandos aren't just sitting targets, in fact they have their own guardian angel group (which reminded me of Star Chamber) that quickly realizes that someone is after a few of their own. Spike (Clive Owen) is an ex-special ops commando that is assigned to neutralize the neutralizers. So this isn't just a game of cat-and-mouse it is cat-and-mouse-and-dog with a little twist about oil money and politics thrown in for good measure.

Not only does Danny have to deal with figuring out how to carry out his mission without getting his crew and himself killed, he is also facing domestic troubles back home since his secret day job means that he can't share everything with his new love. Can he save his buddy, keep his new love safe from this world of murder, keep the needless killings to a minimum, and quite this lifestyle? Of course, we are talking about the Killer Elite after all. Will he have to kill the killer "Spike" (Clive Owen) that is only defending his men? You'll have to watch since I won't spoil that for you.

This film is not like the Transporter series, or even the Crank series. It is trying to be smart & action packed, if you are looking for pure action, this isn't the film for you. If you prefer political intrigue / conspiracy theory and plot twists mixed into (or watering down) your action films, this might be for you.

This film squeaks in as a seven since watching this is still better than a night of reality TV. While I still would consider letting Jason Statham portray me in my life story, I would make sure the script was tight and stick to the highlights.

7 out of 10 Jackasses
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