Killer Elite Review

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1981. Danny Bryce (Jason Statham), a retired assassin, is coerced into putting together a kill squad to go after several SAS officer a sheikh believes killed his sons during the Oman war. Spike Logan (Clive Owen), an ex-officer, works for the Feather Men, an Establishment cadre out to keep what happened in Oman secret.


Remember that Simpsons where Homer rents Paint Your Wagon because anything with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood is guaranteed to be a no-brain killfest? Here’s that same effect from Jason Statham and Clive Owen, Britain’s hardest blokes, in a clunky, sprawling effort (Oman, London, Paris, Australia) loosely inspired by Rannulph Fiennes’ memoirs, The Feather Men. A hit man (Statham, doing Stath schtick) takes one last job because his mentor (Robert DeNiro) is abducted by a dying sheikh who wants revenge on the SAS men who killed his sons. An ex-SAS fixer (Owen, with a comedy moustache and false eye) is retained by a cabal to keep secrets buried and ex-soldiers safe. They clash, but not often enough. Lots of extraneous characters (both leads have verminous sidekicks to do the unpleasant things that stas would lose audience sympathy if they did themselves), terrible dialogue (‘killing’s easy - living with it is the hard part’), a story that never sorts itself out and lead actors on autopilot. An Australian film, hence the surprisingly high number of Aussie accents among the SAS and mercenary characters. The title is poached from the 1975 Sam Peckinpah spy movie – it’s one of Peckinpah’s weakest films, but still much, much better than this.

A few good stunts, some tolerable brooding and one nice, if silly desert chase. But not essential.