Killer Elite

28 Jan

Director: Gary McKendry

Writers: Matt Sherring (screenplay), Ranulph Fiennes (book) (inspiration)

Stars: Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro

Motion Picture Rating: R

Runtime: 116 minutes



Jason Statham ventures a little further away from his no nonsense action routes with this one and certainly improves on the usual quality of co star with Clive Owen and Robert De Niro. However, he remains a man of few words, hard stares and flying fists. Also, he stars in another fairly simple international action movie as the tough guy trying to break free from his violent past.

Killer Elite is based on a controversial book by ex SAS officer Ranulph Fiennes about the fallout of the UK’s counter insurgency role in Oman in the early 1980’s. Fiennes was there and released a book in about it in 1991. More specifically, about Arab funded assassins out for revenge on ex British SAS officers such as himself who served in Oman. Fiennes’ claims remain extraordinary, are disputed by many, and even he described the story as ‘factional’. In this movie Statham plays one of the ‘80’s assassins out to put right the SAS wrongs on behalf of a shadowy Arab sheik.

This is standard Statham action fair, but with surprisingly few thrills. The main reason for that is the core material. The film is positioned upfront as “inspired by a true story”, but that’s not helpful. The story is very hard to believe, the characters are all one-dimensional and yet there are nods to bigger picture ‘80’s politics. It’s a bit of a mess – neither straight action romp fest nor Tinker Tailor like slow burner. Owen is reasonable as ever, De Niro is superfluous and Statham is Statham, but with ‘80’s styling. Not very good.

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