Friday Fisticuffs: Killer Elite (2011)

My two favorite Anglo action stars in one movie? How could I not love Killer Elite? I’ve expressed my love of Jason Statham’s movies several times here on the blog, but I’m also a big fan of Clive Owen’s action roles. He’s got a suave coolness followed by a savage punch that makes for a great combination. A guy by the name of Robert De Niro also starred, I think he must be new to the whole acting thing.

Based on a true story, the movie follows Statham, an assassin who retires but has to do a series of jobs to save his friend De Niro’s life. This puts him at odds with a secret society of former SAS agents that includes Owen. As you would expect, this puts them at odds and leads to a series of shoot-outs, car chases and ass kickings that made for a wonderful viewing experience.

In addition to the stars and the story, I liked how director Gary McKendry didn’t mess around. He knows that this isn’t your first rodeo, so he gets through some of the tropes very quickly. We start off with a job going bad and Statham wanting to retire. Cut to a year later, he’s living in Australia rebuilding a house, but gets word that De Niro’s in trouble so he’s right back in the game. Boom. That’s literally the first 10 to 15 minutes of the movie, maybe less. Statham and his team which includes Dominic Purcell (who I didn’t know was British) then go about killing a trio of men who killed the sons of another man while Owen tries to figure out their identities. It sounds like it might blow past things quickly, but let’s be honest. Everyone knows how these things go. One of the great difficulties in watching these kinds of movies is seeing the exact same scenes over and over and over again. Killer sees the error of his ways and eventually decides to become normal. He then starts a normal life, which is difficult for him because he secretly loves/misses killing, but eventually gets sucked back in. It’s important to the story, but that doens’t mean it can’t be told with a quickness.

I’m not that biggest car chase fan, but I liked the ones in this movie. They’re quick and to the point and some of them end surprisingly, which I appreciate. The gunplay is spot on. Then there’s the fight scenes. There aren’t a ton of them because, unlike something like Crank or the Transporter movies, this is less of a fight-scene movie and more of a dramatic crime telling. But, the ones between Owen and Statham are always fun and look pretty painful.

All in all, I really enjoyed this movie. Cutting through so much of the BS–or at least presenting it quickly–scored huge points for a film that already had them with Statham, Owen and De Niro in the cast. As much as I liked this one, though, I’d love to see these two guys in one of the crazier type action flicks. Maybe Owen can appear in Crank 3 or Statham in Sin City 2! Or, better yet? Chev Chelios/Dwight crossover!

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