Killer Elite (2011)

I never thought that an action vehicle with Jason Statham would be ever be based on a true story.

Danny Bryce (Jason Statham), a former British special ops tough guy forced to come out of retirement when his mentor (Robert De Niro) is kidnapped by a ruthless criminal. Enraged, Danny has to dodge three top assassins.

So with a pretty interesting premise, three cool dudes, and what seems to be lots and lots of guns, this film seemed destined for total awesomeness. However, it’s all just dull.

The first major problem this film runs into is the script is very dull and doesn’t really bring anything new to this cool premise. I expected there to be a lot of twists, turns, and people ending up being who we didn’t expect them to be, but instead this just went for the usual silliness that we have come accustomed to for our action thrillers.

Another big problem with this film was that a lot of the action they put into this here film, is it is all filmed with that annoying hand-held shaky-camera crap that doesn’t look good at all in any film, and looks especially bad here. The reason it looks so bad here is because there are so many close-ups with every action sequence and it’s so dark to the point of where I have no idea what’s going on. The best example was when Statham and Owen first have their big duke-fest but you can’t tell who’s doing what to who, because they’re both wearing black and I kept trying to wonder who was throwing who, or who was stabbing the other in the chest.

However, I will say that the film does use it’s action to it’s ability and features a lot of cool, violent, and overall fun action to support it’s somewhat bad writing. There’s a car chase here that looks really cool because it’s filmed in what seems to be a 1970’s gritty Paris, and a lot of it all really seems cool to look at and if you need something to hold you over while watching, the action is right there for you. I’m talking to the dudes when I write this.

Jason Statham plays Danny Bryce, and basically does what he does best: kick ass, and say witty punch-lines after wards. However in this movie, they try REALLY hard to make you feel sympathy for Danny by tacking on a love interest for him, and trying to make us see him as “a killer with a heart”. I mean Statham is good at what he does but the way this film made him to be some sort of sweet-heart who killed random-ass people, I just didn’t really believe his character as a whole other than the fact that he could beat just about everybody up.

Clive Owen is pretty vicious here with his 70’s porno mustache and the name of Spike as his character. Owen seems like he came prepared to kick some ass with this role and does a great job with every scene he gets but I couldn’t help but think that he could do so much better with this role in another movie, that wasn’t as dumb as this one. I also have to say that Robert De Niro here as Hunter, Danny’s killing mentor, didn’t really do much for me here and it was such a shame because he gets about 15 minutes up on-screen and doesn’t do much other than that goofy, scrunched up face. This character could have really been played by anybody and at one point, I actually kind of forgot about his character which is a real sign to tell De Niro that he needs a new agent if he’s going to get crap roles like this.

Consensus: The action is fun and the boys deliver it pretty well, the problem with Killer Elite is that the writing is too dumb, the editing job is way too choppy for you to even know what’s going on, and in the end, it seems like this was just another dull and almost forgettable action flick that Statham seems to bring out about 3 times a year.



  1. I’m sorry to hear that this isn’t great as I had quite high hopes for a roughty-toughty mindless shoot em up. I totally agree with your observation about the shaky camera trend – I really don’t like it at all.

  2. I agree 100% with the shaky cam problems. Stunt coordinators and the actors spend many hours rehearsing these fight scenes, I wish directors would shoot it in a way that the audience can see what is going on without getting motion sickness.

  3. sounds like it is what I expect it to be, action packed-popcorn flick fun that, while regular for Statham, and reminiscent of earlier Owen, does nothing less than continue to bring De Niro down after films such as Machete, Righteous Kill, and Stone.

    • He wants to do something good, I can tell, but he just keeps falling quicker and quicker down the latter. It’s fun but nothing really mind-boggling. Thanks!

  4. I agree with your review, Dan. In my review I hit on a few of these, although I had a lot of issues with the assassination of military officers. The premise put me off. I also agree that DiNero was completely forgetable.

  5. It’s a shame that this was such a bad movie! I was definitely looking forward to it, and have been debating whether or not to see it the past couple days while it’s still out in theaters. I think I’m going to have to let this one slide, unfortunately. Thanks for the heads up!

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