Summary: Twilight Time’s Blu-ray release of The Killer Elite would be worthwhile all on its own what with the great quality of the presentation and the inclusions of the excellent commentary and featurette. When you add the inclusion of Noon Wine to the package and the commentary that goes along with that, however, the disc goes from worthwhile to essential.
Excerpt: Once upon a time, before he went trekking out across the Arctic and Antarctic, Sir Ranulph Fiennes was a British army officer who served in a proto-version of the Special Air Service and--according to him anyway--was targeted for death by mysterious mercenaries. The story itself was met by credulity from the special forces community but assassins versus SAS is just too juicy an idea for a good action movie producer to pass up. So we get the "Killer Elite.
Excerpt: The Film When a guy's resume includes two Crank -fests, two Expendables movies, and three installments of Transporter , it's hard to expect anything too high caliber. Sorry Jason Statham; we're just looking for a high kill count and a few cool action scenes. Statham delivers in Killer Elite , but the movie gets a slight kick in the pants (literally) from quick appearances by Clive Owen and Robert De Niro.
Excerpt: It's easy to make assumptions about Killer Elite , which comes off in advertisements as just another generic Jason Statham vehicle (that's an Audi 8, right?). In actuality, this "true story" is a smart spy thriller with a 1980s setting and a 1970s action sensibility. Danny (Jason Statham, The Bank Job ) and Hunter (Robert DeNiro, Raging Bull ) have been contract killers long enough to know when its time to call it quits.
Excerpt: If Killer Elite , based on the novel The Feather Men , teaches us anything it’s that spies and rogue SAS agents like to look in rear view mirrors. Oh, and they sit in cars all day waiting for people. Sure, that’s sort of the point, staying out of sight and all that, but Killer Elite rarely pushes forward with any legitimate tension from those scenes.
Conclusion: Making his feature-length debut, director Gary McKendry delivers an entertaining espionage crime-caper with the usual thrills and action, but the movie also tries to include an intriguing plot and good characterization into the mix. With Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro in the leads, 'Killer Elite' is, in the end, an easy, guilt-free way of killing a couple hours.
Conclusion: Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro? Killer Elite could have been so much more; should have been so much more. Instead, it wastes its A-list cast, hobbles along on a bum leg, and has to contend with everything from a generic genre script to problematic performances, stilted plotting and some dim-witted dialogue. Universal's Blu-ray release steadies its aim, though.
Excerpt: Jason Statham and Clive Owen have both excelled at being entertaining in even their dumbest projects, from Statham's unfettered cool in something like Death Race to Owen's smarty-pants charm in something like The International . But none of it is any help in Killer Elite , a movie so sloppy and lowest-common-denominator that it's even got one of those lazy late-career Robert de Niro performances that, sadly, are a pretty sure indication of awfulness these days.
Excerpt: Statham plays Danny, a former member of Britain's Elite Special Air Service. When his former mentor and close friend Hunter (De Niro) is captured, Danny takes it upon himself to fulfill the conditions of Hunter's release. His mission: kill three government assassins behind the murder of an oil sheikh's son.