Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro, Dominic Purcell, Aden Young, Yvonne Strahovski
Written by: Gary McKendry, Matt Sherring, based on a book by Ranulph Fiennes
Directed by: Gary McKendry
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language and some sexuality/nudity
Running Time: 105
Date: 09/10/2011

Killer Elite (2011)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Oil's Said and Done

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Gary McKendry, who makes his feature debut, Killer Elite has enough good scenes to satisfy action fans, as well as those looking for a bit more depth, but as a cohesive whole, it's rather mixed.

Danny (Jason Statham) and Hunter (Robert De Niro) are professional assassins. While working on a new mission, Danny is stunned when a kid turns up in the line of fire, and quits the business for good. Some time later, he receives word that Hunter has been kidnapped, and he must accept a job in exchange for his release. The job is to kill three British SAS agents who murdered the sons of an exiled oil sheik. Danny reluctantly takes on the job, but unfortunately, an ex-SAS man, Spike (Clive Owen), who is part of a secret organization called the "Feather Men," is hot on Danny's trail. Worse, Danny's new girlfriend Anne (Yvonne Strahovski) is now also in danger.

The action stuff is pitched to the lowest common denominator, using reckless, ramshackle shaky-cam to document the painstaking choreography. Meanwhile, the drama sometimes doesn't make sense; both the Clive Owen and Robert De Niro characters seem haphazardly thrown in. The movie sometimes has the feel that extra scenes were written and added at the last second to accommodate their star power.

Part of the time, it seems as if the movie is interested getting audiences to think about the world's pathological dependence on oil, and the extreme measures nations will take to get their hands on it, but at other times, the movie asks audiences not to think at all, and just enjoy the ride. It's a disappointing mix, but one that nonetheless delivers in fits and starts.
Best Buy Co, Inc.