If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Hello Fellow Spilldos! I was... somewhat fortunate enough to catch an early screening of the movie "Killer Elite" yesterday. Have you heard of it? it only has TWO of the hottest modern action stars Jason Statham and Clive Owen to what looks like they will be kicking the shit out of each other, AND it has the legendary actor Robert De Niro (we will forgive your FOCK YOU movies). That sounds fucking BAD-ASS. So whose at the helm of this Bad-ass project (can i say BAD-ASS some more)? A newbie that nobody has heard of? uhh.... okay well that's fine, these actors look like they could pull their weight in a film of this caliber. So an action film that has THREE big name actors mean mugging for the camera, starring in what looks like an action packed assassin cat and mouse movie... and what's that?...this is based on a true story? SO THIS SHIT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?! sounds great! so what's this sucker about?
Essentially, this movie is about Danny Bryce (Statham) and his mentor/partner Hunter (De Niro), who are both spec-ops agents. at the end of one of their missions, Danny decides to quit, because he has some kind of epiphany when he can't bring himself to kill a kid. Now fast forward to a later date, Danny receives a picture of Hunter, who was captured by a terrorist(sorry i forgot the terrorist's name). So Danny flies down to the terrorist's village to see what's going on. Turns out Hunter wouldn't do the job that the terrorist asked him to do, which was to kill the three former S.A.S operatives that killed his three sons, but not to only kill them, but get their confessions and apologies on tape, and to make sure the deaths look like an accident so that there are no connections that can be made. They offer Danny $6 Million and the release of Hunter if he takes this job. After trying to refuse, he figures that there is no way out of this job and decides to take it. Cue Spike (Owen) who is an ex S.A.S operative, who tries to prevent Danny from killing them. Then begins the cat and mouse assassin game. The premise had me sold! this sounds like it could be a fun movie...right?
Sadly...no. Aside from the interesting premise, everything in this film was just straight up bland. When the movie opens, it starts off with a bland action sequence of Statham's 'last' job, and then the Title of the movie pops up. Now watching this sequence, i said to myself "oh... okay well i hope the action gets better then that later on in the movie." and it does... just barely...and near the end of the movie. Every action scene in here just lacks inspiration and creativity. In the first encounter of Statham and Owen, it was poorly shot and lacked intensity. They try to do that Jason Bourne style of shooting, where it's a hand held camera shaking all over the room to add grittiness and realism to the fight sequence. But it was dark, the close ups made it hard to tell what was going on, there were too many cuts, and i think the camera man was Michael J. Fox (ouch! sorry Marty, i love you to death, but you made the Nike Air MAG $5,100 just so i couldn't buy a pair, and live out my fantasies of being part of Back To The Future). There was just nothing new to bring to the table. Each action set piece in here doesn't draw you in at all. Right when it's about to start, right when you think the movie is going to gather momentum, it stops. This leads to the problem of pacing. The pace in this movie isn't necessarily slow, it just feels awkward and disjointed. The story itself progress fine, but the movie as a whole feels choppy.While i keep bashing you over the head with how bland the action sequences are, I guess you could make the argument "well it's supposed to be based on a true story, so they need to make it real and not over the top." i can agree with you there, but that doesn't excuse it from making them half-assed and not exciting. It is possible to make an action sequence realistic, exciting, and creative. it's been done before. Take this clip from the Bourne Ultimatum for example:
KILLER ELITE never reaches this caliber of intense, raw action.
If you're like me, you like your action movies either one of two ways:
A. if you're not going to be character/plot driven, you should go heavy on the wild and guns blazing
B. if you're not going to be wild and guns blazing, develop your characters so we can cheer them on as the movie progresses
KILLER ELITE never reaches either end of that spectrum. Every character in this movie is two dimensional. The performances here are not bad. they do just fine, but they aren't really given much to do. Statham pretty much does what statham does best. A hitman who doesn't want to hit anymore, but is forced to do so. But in this movie, they try REALLY hard to make you feel sympathy for the character by tacking on a love interest for him, and trying to make us see him as "a killer with a heart". but in the end, he is just how he started, a killer with a heart. there is no arch to his character, and although Statham doesn't do a bad performance, the character he was given was bland. What about Clive Owen? Again, Clive Owen does what he can with what little he has to do. His character is also two dimensional. He's the guy that wants to do the "right" thing, and like Statham's character, is tired of all the killings. They made him have a missing eye so we as an audience will think "oh... he's been through alot." But really, he is limited into what he can do with the limited character. And to the biggest disappointment of them all... Robert De Niro. My gosh, talk about a WASTE OF TALENT. He has about 10-15 minutes of screen time, and even worse, this character could have been done by ANYONE. They could have gotten a no name actor to play that role, and it probably would have had the same impact. Hell either you or I could have done it. Of course if i did it, there would be the question of "HOW THE FUCK DID A 19 YEAR OLD FILIPINO KID, TRAIN A SPEC-OPS AGENT!?" But at least it would have given people something to talk about. They give Owen and Statham little to do, they give De Niro ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do. His character is soo forgettable, you forget he's in the movie at a certain point. what a shame to have such a legendary actor play the most forgettable role in perhaps his whole career. Every character in this movie is very straight forward and bland, which is NOT what you want in a movie like this.
CLOSING COMMENTS: there's not much to say about a movie that has nothing to offer. the movie wasn't offensive, but at the same time it wasn't good. There was one cool action sequence near the end involving Statham tied to a chair, Owen at gun point, and a no name in the room beating the shit out of each other. But other than that, bland action, bland characters, bland direction. Everyone involved in this project seemed lazy and uninspired. But the thing is, i did not get angry or offended. I was just bored. The action wasn't very fun, and we weren't spending enough time with the characters on an emotional level to really care about any of them. honestly... you should just skip this movie when it comes out in theaters and watch some thing else. so what's the verdict?