Action movies are getting increasingly less interesting because there are only so many ways you can beat up another person and these films have weak plots, which only consist of going from pointless action scene to pointless action scene. In good hands, an action movie can be fast-paced, thrilling and even interesting. However, “Killer Elite,” is a prime example of how stale this genre can get when in the wrong hands.
“Killer Elite,” directed by Gary McKendry (“Everything In This Country Must”), is based on a book written in 1991 called “The Feather Men,” written by Sir Ranulph Fiennes and is supposedly based on a true story about a group of people called “The Clinic” who go on a mission to kill members of the British Special Air Service (SAS). However, the hit men are never referred to as “The Clinic” in the movie. The head of the group is named Danny, played by Jason Statham (“The Mechanic”) who is put on this assignment so he can free his friend Hunter, played by Robert De Niro (“Limitless”) who is being held captive by the men who want the SAS agents dead.
Danny is assisted by his friend Davies, played by Dominic Purcell (TV’s “Prison Break”) and Meier, played by Aden Young (“The Tree”), while ex-SAS agent Spike, played by Clive Owen (“The International”), tries to stop them. It’s a straightforward plot for an action movie, but the film tries to hide that. So instead, they throw in weird plot turns that don’t make any sense because the character motivations don’t make any sense and then the audience is left confused about what’s happening. It doesn’t help that half of the dialogue is mumbled beyond comprehension and the dialogue that is audible is nothing more than confusing plot exposition.
Since the plot is hard to follow, the fight scenes don’t carry any weight. You’re not sure why they’re fighting or over what, so it doesn’t matter who wins or loses. It makes it even worse when out of all of the fight scenes in the whole movie, the only one that’s even creative is toward the end. The rest of the fight scenes are uninspired and bland. The movie is boring, which is the biggest mistake an action movie can make.
The fight scenes could carry more significance if the characters were given back stories, clear motivations or at least distinct personalities. The acting is average, which is what one expects from this type of movie. Statham’s been playing this part for most of his career, so he’s not exactly challenging himself here. De Niro isn’t even in half of the movie, so he’s never really given a chance to shine. And Owen tries so hard to make something good out of the material, but there’s only so much he can do. One would think that a movie with these three stars in it would be more compelling or at least fun, but instead it is just a waste of their talent.
If you want to go to a brainless, uninspired action movie, then “Killer Elite” is for you. However, if you want to see an action movie with an interesting plot, well-defined characters or quality action, then go see something else.