Studio: Ambience Entertainment, Palomar Pictures, Omnilab Films
Publisher: Open Road Films
Format: DVD (reviewed), Blu-ray
Release Date: 18 July, 2012
Price: $24.98 – Available Here
Killer Elite is probably the most fitting title for an action movie starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro and Dominic Purcell. The film probably sold itself on its cast list alone, who really cares about the plot when you have a cast like that? Especially with the promise of action scenes, explosions, and pitting Clive Owen against Jason Statham, it seems that Killer Elite has everything going for it to make it a good action flick, so does it carry itself based on the actual film itself?
Killer Elite is based on ‘The Feather Men’ by Ranulph Feinnes, a book that revealed a big conspiracy theory behind an ex-SAS society. The truth behind the book is somewhat contested, but that certainly doesn’t stop it from being a good story, and also the perfect movie to be made into an action film.
The film is full of conspiracies, secret societies, and other intriguing things although to be honest they aren’t gone into enough to make then a truly interesting part of the story line. Still, there is certainly enough depth to them to set them apart from other action films, and the difference must be noted.
Killer Elite does depart from normal action films, though it does it in a subtle way that you only really notice if you think about it. One of the most noticeable differences between Killer Elite and your standard action flick is that there is no black and white to the movie, just a whole bunch of grey.
This is something that certainly shouldn’t be underestimated, most movies – action or not – can’t avoid falling into that pattern. It certainly helps that both sides of the movie have likeable, popular action hero leading men. It might actually throw you off a bit, not knowing which side you want to root for without the movie guiding you to who you should support.
The action parts of the film do well for themselves, bringing all sorts of violence, chase scenes, and interesting ways to kill people while making it seem like an accident. The main part of the story line involves killing some targets while making it seem like accidents, which sounds difficult but seems to be accomplished with a scary amount of success and with not that much planning. This isn’t any Oceans 11 where they stand around discussing plans, they pretty much just jump into it, leaving as much room to cover both separate sides of the story line as possible.
There’s also a romance story line thrown in there, but it doesn’t drift into the stereotype with that either. It does feel a little slotted in, like it could have been there or not and it wouldn’t have made a huge difference.
The camera work is fast-paced, a bit messy, and matches the style and theme of the movie perfectly. Exploring everywhere from Australia, to the Middle East, to England and the movie covers a bit of the scenery, although it also recognizes that the type of people who would be interested in the movie would really not care that much about the scenery.
The soundtrack to the film is a mix of English punk, Middle Eastern, and your standard full throttle action soundtrack. Its fairly enjoyable and a couple songs are bound to get stuck in your head. The soundtrack does a good representation of what the film is like, with that combination of cultures.
The special features include a Making of Killer Elite featurette and deleted scenes. Given that the movie has a run time of almost two hours its no surprise that it had to be cut down, and for those who think there are some plot holes and missing pieces, the deleted scenes are a good way to fill in the blanks. The featurette explores what went on behind the scenes of making such a balls-to-the-wall action film, and gives a nice insight into what goes into making such a film.
Killer Elite fulfils its action movie requirements, while also going above and beyond in terms of some twists on an old formula. It has some awesome action scenes, interesting plot developments, and the fact that it isn’t a Hollywood flick is somewhat obvious in the feel and how the story is handled. While there are some explosions, the film is a bit more subtle and the killing even seems a little understated at times.
Killer Elite is a great movie for those who enjoy action movies, but would like to see something a bit different, and who don’t mind a change from the norm.