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KILLER ELITE is a true story taken from the book 'The Feather Men' by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, adapted for the screen by Matt Sherring, and directed with an eye toward speed by Gary McKendry. The bit of history that the film addresses is the aftermath of the Dhofar Rebellion launched in the province of Dhofar against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, which had British support, from 1962 to 1976. It ended with the defeat of the rebels, but the state of Oman had to be radically reformed and modernized to cope with the campaign. The fact that three sons of the Sheik of Oman were killed by the British leaving the Sheik with a strong need for revenge so that he can regain his kingdom by sending his remaining son to a safe land is the springboard for the film's plot.

Before the film's action begins, the Sheik has taken hired assassin Hunter (Robert De Niro) captive because he failed to kill the murderers of his three sons. The film opens in 1980 the exiled Sheik (with his remaining son Bakhait - Firass Dirani) hires Hunter's pupil Danny (Jason Statham), a retired member of Britain's Elite Special Air Service, to kill the three assassins of his sons. A private organization of ex SAS tasks men headed by Spike (Clive Owen) is assigned to protect the British assassins. Covering the globe from Australia to Paris, London and the Middle East, Danny and Hunter, two of the worlds' most elite operatives, are plunged into a highly dangerous game of cat and mouse - where the predators become the prey.

There is plenty of incredible action in the form of one-on-one fights between Statham and Owen, car chases, and other acts of derring-do to keep the film rolling. At times the plot gets muddy and some of the characters are not well defined - those played by Domenic Purcell, Aden Young, Ben Mendelsohn and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in particular. And of course there is the requisite romance between Statham and Yvonne Strahovski, which helps soften the film periodically. But basically this is an action film; the main reason it is of such interest is the fact that it is based on a true story - a story whose history is shared in the closing credits. Definitely a film for Statham/De Niro/Owen fans! Grady Harp, January 12
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With a cast that includes Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro you would expect an exceptional film. It is a good film, filled with action.

This film is said to be based on fact and not fiction. It is far fetched in some ways, but with the recent assassination of a scientist in Iran, presumably by the Israelis or the CIA, I find it more believable. Two teams of ex-SAS men are trying to kill each other. Or, at least, Jason Statham, has been asked to kill four ex-SAS men, and to make it look like an accident. He agrees to this mission to save the life of his mentor, played by Robert De Niro. Clive Owen, is from a group of men called the 'Feather Men' who are hired to protect ex-SAS men from retribution. A little convoluted, but all in all simple to follow. Each team has become hired killers after their stints in the SAS, and this is not a game for amateurs. De Niro is being held hostage by a sheik in Oman. Statham travels all over th eworld to hunt for his prey. He has a team that is first rate, and some of the action is complicated and breath taking. What holds this film together are the characters and the plot. We can see the action in many films, but the plot and the acting here are superb. All of the killers realize it is their professionalism that keeps them going. Face to face combat and high technology are all a part of this play.

I liked this film, and as a spy novel/film afficianado, much of it seemed realistic. Of course, the director/writer took liberites, but that is necessary in this type of film. There is a little bit of love interest, and that creates a huge problem for one of the men,. The rest of the teams do not mention family, and it would seem in this kind of world, loners would be the best killers. I would have expected this film to do much better at the box office. I only heard about it once it was on DVD, and I wonder about the back story.

Recommended. prisrob 01-14-12

The Mechanic

Bent

The Score
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on November 29, 2011
In 1980, a wealthy Omani business man in exile hires retired contract killer Danny, played by Janson Statham, to kill the SAS soldiers who killed his sons. A private organization of ex SAS men tasks Spike, played by Clive Owen, with protecting them. Unlike most action movies this one has a good plot, and is perfectly cast. It also contains one of the best fight scenes on film.
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Although it shares nearly the same title as Sam Peckinpah's film, "Killer Elite" beyond the fact that it involves government affiliated assassins has nothing to do with the film. "The Killer Elite" (Peckinpah's film) is based on the novel "Monkey in The Middle" by Robert Rostand while THIS film is based on a "nonfiction" book by Sir Ranulph Fiennes called "The Feather Men".

Mercenary assassins Danny Bryce (Jason Statham), Davies (Dominic Purcell), and Meier (Aden Young)must save their colleague Hunter (Robert DeNiro)who is taken prisoner for a failed assassination. If Bryce, Davies and Meier don't complete Hunter's mission (for which he was promised $6 million) to assassinate the killers of the Sheikh Amr's sons, they'll kill him. Complicating Bryce's mission are "the Feather Men" a group of former SAS members who protect their own. Their enforcer Spike Logan (Clive Owen) is sent to investigate and prevent the killing of its members.

A well made thriller from first time feature director Gary McKendry, "Killer Elit" positively bristles with energy and features something a bit unusual for a thriller of this type--actual character development. It's not enough that the action sequences are well designed, many unique and well shot the fact that McKendry and screenwriter Matt Sherring create a compelling thriller with a solid story and solid performances. There have been some compliants about the various subplots in the film slowing down the action with exposition and I'd disagree. I found it to be a nice combination of the parranoid thrillers from the 1970's and early 80's combined with the more recent action driven ones. I suspect that those complaining about the exposition don't care for those more paranoid spy thrillers from another era.

The one flaw with the film is that it could have been trimmed a bit but that's a minor complaint at best. The characters, acting and action sequences more than make up for a slightly bloated running time. At it's best "Killer Elite" reminds me of some of John Frankenheimer's strong later thrillers.

The DVD looks quite nice with a solid presentation. Colors are on the cool side (and reflects the original theatrical presentation of the movie). Audio is extremely active with a nice, immersive 5.1 mix.

It would have been nice to have a more special features such as a commentary track unfortunately all we get are 13 deleted scenes.
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on January 11, 2012
Killer Elite is a highly entertaining action thriller that should appeal to anyone who enjoyed The Expendables and, maybe, also appeal to those who aren't interested in straight-forward action films, but enjoy more high-brow international espionage thrillers. Make no mistake about it, though, the action in this film is non-stop and, best of all, it's old-school. By that I mean, you can see the hits landing in the hand-to-hand fight scenes and when there's a car-chase, you can follow the action with some sense of direction. The acting in the Killer Elite is also praise worthy. Statham plays just about the same role he always plays, but, you probably alreay knew that. However, Statham plays that role better than just about anyone else currently. His acting, in that role, has always been solid for an action star, but in this film he seems to have improved. Deniro adds a touch of class in the mentor role. Deniro's as charismatic as ever, no complaints. Owen's very-good as well, but there are many excellent performances from actors whose names didn't make it onto the front-cover, among them are Aden Young and Dominic Purcell as members of Statham's team. In conclusion, I'd like to add that Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper were two of the very few mainstream film critics that gave a positive reveiw to Killer Elite during its theatrical release. In time, I think many, many more people will come to agree with them.
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on March 13, 2012
While this film is not all that bad and there is some pretty good action, it still leaves a great deal to be desired. For one thing it is nothing like the original which while also fairly forgettable, Sam Peckinpah did direct it with enough style to give it merit. In that version James Caan plays an Ex-CIA commando that is injured and must regain his mobility before he can resume his duties, Through a great deal of the film he's coping with his injuries and gaining new strategies in training. This film bares no resemblance at all with the original except where the title stands and the fact that the characters have job simularities. The trailer contains nearly every scene of action that is included in the film except maybe one I can think of. And when you know De Niro's name is connected with it and he's one of the main characters you really expect a good deal more. All in all it's a pretty familiar story and done a lot better in other films.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 25, 2012
This perfunctory action film opens in Mexico with a hit squad comprised of Jason Statham, Robert De Niro and Dominic Purcell taking out some high ranking guy in a limo. We don't know who he is (politician?, drug lord?) but the scene closes when Danny (Statham) comes face to face with the young son of the guy he just killed. I guess this is the critical point when Danny decides to retire.

A year later in 1981, Danny has moved to Australia and taken up housekeeping with Anne (Yvonne Strahovski, TV's "Chuck"). She's gorgeous of course, but you wouldn't know it here. She is pretty much wallpaper in a roomy cotton dress most of the time. Danny must travel to Oman to rescue his friend Hunter (De Niro) who is being held by a sheik. So here's the deal. The sheik will release Hunter if Danny will fulfill Hunter's original job. That is to kill 3 British SAS (Special Forces) officers that were responsible for killing the sheik's 3 sons during the conflicts in the late 1970's. This is never clear when or why. Just that they are dead and the Brits did it.

But, these guys can't just be killed. They must confess first and Danny must provide proof. Danny gets his old buddy Davies (Purcell, the best thing in this movie) and another guy (Aden Young) to help out. There's a $6 million reward if they pull it off plus the release of Hunter. My head starts to hurt trying to figure out who is on which side. Something about a double top secret SAS squad controlled by some old farts in suits.

Somehow Clive Owen is involved as the main foe of Danny. But then Spike (yes, that's Owen's character) is all for Queen and country. Spike is also the only one who has a chance of beating Danny in hand to hand combat. This movie is a convoluted mess. Even with a stellar cast this film is just a time waster. Statham is as good as it gets in action adventure and Owen is always good. But De Niro is miscast and is obviously here for a paycheck. They are not the problem. Based on true events, the entire concept is just an incoherent bore the way it is written.

The Blu ray disc is sharp and clear. The DTS-HD Master Audio is solid if not spectacular. I was expecting a bit more for this type of movie. Special features are spare. Some deleted scenes and not much else.
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VINE VOICEon February 27, 2012
This is a very good action flick set in the early 80's. The sets are well done and the period costume design is close enough to make me nostalgic. Of course, this is a 2011 film done using modern equipment that makes actual 80's film quality pale significantly by comparison.

As a period piece set in the early 80's this Killer Elite (no relation to the 70's film with the same name) is a winner. This is a fun film with a good amount of action and even some SAS action.

For some real SAS action from the early 80's one cannot do better than the 1982 film Who Dares Wins -aka- The Final Option. Who Dares Wins (1982) ( The Final Option ) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - Australia ]

Who Dares Wins features many actual SAS chaps and featured a great many scenes shot in actual SAS training facilities. Fun stuff.

To my mind, 2011's Killer Elite and 1982's Who Dares Wins make a great double feature.

An important point: Blu Ray does not have the same regional encoding as DVD's.

Cheers,
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on February 8, 2016
I really enjoyed this film as a movie buff this is a top notch action film. One of Statham's best the film delivers a solid cast Clive Owen and Robert De Niro. The performances are good and the story is good too all of this makes up for a great action film, this is not a B film it's an A film. It doesn't just thrive on the action but the story and characters as well.
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on January 4, 2013
I usually like Jason Statham movies and then add Clive Owen and Robert De Niro to the list and you know the movie is bound to be good, I love action movies. That being said I didn't think i would like this movie as much as I did.
In movies, especially action or 'assassin' movies the killing is pulled off with pyrotechnics and flashy fight sequences and over the top gun battles.
This movie did have it's fair share of car chases and some really impressive fight scenes, but the part that I found stuck with me the most, was just how intimate (for lack of a better word) the killing was. In most movies killing is distanced or in the heat of battle or there is a reason for the killing in the first place some justification for why the person deserves to die. A basic revenge plot line. This movie gave you no such thing, while I rooted for Danny (Jason Satham) I found myself feeling empathy for his targets. They were soldiers, maybe they did some questionable things, but they were following orders and in war I can only assume that things get messy and the lines get blurred very quickly.
I also found it interesting how the character's interacted with one another, and their varying view points, Clive Owen with his taking the death's personally, these were soldiers fellow ex- SAS and the fact that a team of killers was taking out men who had sacrificed for their country was very personal for him.
Danny in some ways had a much colder outlook which matched with who he had been and what he had done in the past, these killings were just a means to and end, the release of his long time friend and mentor and yet at the same time you knew he was struggling with his 'newly' aquired conscience.
Over all this movie was wonderfully done.
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