Thursday, March 13, 2014

Killer Elite (2011) Review:

Jason Statham and Robert De Niro both have their respective fan bases. They both have made films that have defined their career. Did anyone ever expect to see these two pair up in an action spy thriller? Mmmmm, hard to say. It's also hard to say what convinced both of these actors to even consider playing a role in this story. It's questionable to what really works in this film. There are pluses but in the end, it doesn't satisfy like the trailer originally promoted.

Jason Statham and Robert De Niro
The story is based off of a book written by Ranulph Fiennes - claiming about a secret agency of highly trained killers set out to right the wrong of someone else's trouble. At least, that's what could be understood, and this is where the movie just doesn't work. The story is very messy, convoluted and long. Both writing and directing positions were given to first timers. Matt Sherring's screenplay of the book is very disoriented. For the first quarter of the film, the setting consistently changes from country to country no more than a minute each. The audience will feel like there isn't a real footing in where the story takes place.  Adding to that is Gary McKendry's direction which follows Sherring's hopscotch writing.

Along with that comes some weak character development. Stathom and De Niro play a duo who have a history together in the business of killing others but not enough information is truly given on either character. De Niro's character states he has a family and children but is never explained to how his family deals with what he does. Same goes for Statham - his wife, girlfriend (she was never labeled), originally there was friction between them about not being fully open about one’s life but then by the 3/4 mark, the topic was just dropped. Ummm, ok. Also, there really wasn't much chemistry between the actors. A big reason for this was that De Niro was barely on screen. His presence was only about a fifth of the running time.

Also Statham's character has other connections that he uses throughout the plot which aren't given much of a background either. It's kind of strange that advertising it as a De Niro and Statham film, you'd expect to see them quite frequently. But no. What was interesting to watch in this film was the overall area that the story finally took place in as the plot finally settled. This movie comes off more as a British made film than American. Kind of like Stand-Off (2013) where the majority of actors were Irish. For here, the majority of actors are British. It's a different listening experience, especially when various American words are replaced with British jargon. It gives the audience something to pay attention too.

Clive Owen
Along with that, leads to Clive Owen, who isn't anymore defined as a character as to Statham or De Niro, yet Owen's character is perhaps more fun to watch because of his stiff upper lip, discolored eyes, bushy mustache and British accent. Owen also gets into multiple scuffles with Statham because, well that's the action oriented part of the movie. To say the action is bad wouldn't be appropriate. The action scenes are well executed and somewhat inventive but since the characters aren't defined well enough, it can be hard for a viewer to really appreciate who the protagonist is fighting. Attempting to help elevate the entertainment is Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek's score to the film. Their music does contain some pieces that are relative to the scene at hand but also contain frequent screeching violins and that may annoy listeners. It's not poorly made but it could use improvement. All of it is just average.

The entire crew to this film tries, from the actors to music department but the inconsistent plot lacks control and focus to what little it had to begin with - making just an average action film.

Points Earned -- > 5:10

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