Film Review: Killer Elite (or ‘Average, but in the grand scheme of things, so what?’)

Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling.

Despite getting average reviews at best, I liked the look of the trailer for Killer Elite and would not be deterred from going to see it.

I think I’ve discussed my issues with star ratings or indeed any sort of numerical rating for films and games, and I don’t use them myself. I mean, what is ‘5 Stars’? How do we judge it? If it means the best you can get – like North by Northwest – then by its very nature Killer Elite could never be rated 5 stars or 10/10. Yet because reviewers give out high ratings as if they are going out of fashion, when something gets average ratings the assumption is that’s it’s bad, when in fact 90% of the stuff we watch probably would be considered a ‘6/10’ at best.

So how should it be judged? Well, like anything the question is ‘Will you enjoy it?’. My mum recently inadvertently recommended a couple in their 70s go to see The Inbetweeners film (a film incidentally which I’ve seen but not reviewed yet). They were never going to enjoy it because demographically they were chalk compared to the Inbetweeners’ cheese. And lo-and-behold they didn’t, so while I might say the Inbetweeners was a good comedy film, they would say it was awful.

With Killer Elite, the question is simply ‘Is it a good high budget action film that keeps you entertained for a couple of hours?’

And the answer is yes.

What’s It About?

Photogenic Mitchell Brother Jason Statham plays Danny, a recently retired hitman who is brought out of retirement to save his friend and mentor Hunter (Not Al Pacino, the other one) who is being held hostage by an exiled Omani Sheik. The Sheik is dying and in exchange for Hunter’s life, Danny must kill the SAS soldiers who murdered three of his sons during the Oman War.

So, along with two of his former colleagues (one of whom is played by Acting Legend, Dominic ‘Link the Sink’ Purcell) he hunts down the soldiers in question.

But it’s not as simple as that. Former SAS soldier, Spike (Clive Owen) has become aware of his plans and sets out to stop him.

Cue two hours of fight scenes, showdowns, murder, dodgy acting and explosions.

And Chuck star Yvonne Strahovski getting to play an Australian in something that’s not a video game.

Oh, and Mr Ecko from Lost is in it too, playing a suited up Englishman.


Quite simply, you get what you pay for with this film.

I saw this film 9 days ago now, and the fact that I can’t really remember too much about it probably says a fair bit (first and foremost that I should write my reviews quicker). I did enjoy it though, it’s just that it wasn’t particularly remarkable.

Well, I say that, but there are two things that stuck out for me while watching the film.

The Acting of Dominic Purcell

As a fan of Prison Break, Dominic Purcell became a sort of ironic icon within my social group. His acting as tough-guy-with-a-heart Lincoln ‘Link the Sink’ Burrows was wonderfully crap (who could forget his delivery of the line “The Bridge! It Broke! The Bridge Broke”), so why the director of this film thought it would be a good decision to cast Purcell as a British Hitman shall become one of the great mysteries of the universe.

Purcell isn’t quite sure how to play his character – he drifts between bad English, Scottish and Irish accents and yet ironically is called The Welshman. Oh dear. The best part of his performance is the ridiculous early 80s wig/facial hair.

In fairness to him, if he’d played the part as an American, he’d had fitted in fine, and maybe if it wasn’t for his turn in Prison Break I’d be less inclined to mock. Still…that accent.

The Wardrobe of Jason Statham

This is a film set in the early 1980s and it looks pretty convincing for the period. Clive Owen sports the dodgiest moustache going for his part and in general people dress as badly as the fashion was at the time.

All except for Statham.

Watch the film and you’ll see what I mean. Statham is dressed in the most neutral clothing going. He could easily be playing a character in a film set yesterday. Absolutely nothing about him suggests he’s playing someone in the 1980s. In fact, if anything he looks out of place. Statham is one of these guys who sports designer stubble – it sets off the Hard Man look he’s going for. But there’s a scene in the film where he has to dress up as a Doctor to get some drugs from a London hospital. I would suspect that if a Doctor turned up to work in a hospital in the early 1980s sporting Statham’s stubble, then he’d not only stand out a mile, but he’d also probably be sent home.

So the whole thing begs the question of ‘Why’?

Why does Statham not dress in any way like someone from the 1980s? It’s as if he asked especially not to.

Oh those Hollywood Divas.

Final Thoughts

So apart from those two issues, what else is there to say?

Killer Elite is a pretty standard action film and deserves the 3 stars or 6/10s that it’s getting. But remember that people give films like 127 Hours and Bridesmaids high ratings for reasons best left to them. There’s nothing wrong with average.

If you go to see Killer Elite you’re in for an enjoyable film. It’s not the sort of film you’d go out of your way to see again, but that’s not a problem as far as I’m concerned.


One Response to Film Review: Killer Elite (or ‘Average, but in the grand scheme of things, so what?’)

  1. […] Green Lantern Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Harvey Hitchcock The Impossible Killer Elite The King’s Speech Lincoln Looper Marvel’s Avengers Assemble The Muppets The Passion of […]

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