The more I roll this one over in my head, the more I kind of hate it, which is really strange because it stars three actors I truly love, even in their worst work. Daring to say it's based on a true story (adapted from Ranulph Fiennes non-fiction book The Feather Men), KILLER ELITE shows us the world of spies and assassins and how they are just as often used as pawns in powerful men's games as they are tools to do their dirty work. Jason Statham plays Danny, a special ops agent who has gone into hiding with his girlfriend (Yvonne Strahovski) after his last job turned his stomach just enough for him to want to leave the life behind. But when his mentor Hunter (Robert De Niro) is kidnapped, he was come out of exile to do one last job for the kidnappers so his friend can go free.
If you asked me to pass a test on exactly what the plot of KILLER ELITE is, I couldn't do it, at least not after one viewing. It has something to do with breaking into the most feared British military organization, the British Special Air Service, and eliminating a few of its agents, members of a splinter cell know as the Feather Men, led by Spike (Clive Owen, sporting a very poorly chosen porn mustache). There are a handful of derivative action sequences, a couple of genuinely original ones, and a whole lot of yelling and posturing and puffing out of chests. And after a while, I just got sick of it.
For a film whose plot has us going all over the globe, the entire production feels very low rent, and not in a gritty, interesting way. Statham is used to existing in this environment, so he comes out seeming cooler than everybody else. But I like Statham when he's being more physical, so just having him pointing guns and shooting at people is not as entertaining. The dude is the world's premier action star right now; let him be active.
The other problem with KILLER ELITE is that the deeper we get into the plot, the more the film goes from action to talk talk talk. If you have to spend huge chunks of your movie explaining the story rather than letting it play out, you may want to consider simplifying things just a wee bit. First-time feature director Gary McKendry has no sense of pacing, the film looks unintentionally messy, and in the end, the entire production feels choppy and senseless. Yeah, in just the time it took me to write the relatively short review, I've grown to hate KILLER ELITE even more. There are so many better films out there; see one of them instead please.