Sunday, 11 September 2011

TIFF '11 - KILLER ELITE


Killer Elite is based on a "true story." But why is Jason Statham running around with Robert De Niro and Clive Owen?

To be honest, I have no idea. 

Director Gary McKendry's feature debut is the dramatization of Sir Ranulph Fiennes's The Feather Men, a novel that is probably a lot more deserving of your attention than the adaptation. I haven't read it, but I imagine most everything is better than Killer Elite. Come to think of it, a film adaptation of Good Night Moon would likely be more exciting than this steaming pile of whatsit. Hell, a cow jumps over a goddamn celestial body! Where's my agent? 

I don't really know where to begin, so let's just state the bottom line: Killer Elite is an uninspired waste of time and money — so much so that I'm shocked it's as bad as it is. Clive Owen is, like, a good actor, right? Yeah, okay. So is Robert De Niro. Even Jason Statham's Crank series is fun! So what the hell is wrong with the film? 

The script, man. Phew, the script. It's actually terrible in the way that only a fourteen-year-old boy could devise one: "Let's have this person stab this other guy in the back! Figuratively...and then literally! Then the stabbed guy gets up from the ground, lifts off his mask, and it's the President — but it's not the President, because really, the President is actually dead!...Or is he?" 

It's something like that, except with the British SAS, some oil sheiks, and many boring assassinations. I take myself for someone who can follow a movie pretty well — but seriously, I'm still not sure why anything happens at all in that film. Money? I guess...? Power? Cover-ups? Needless to say, it's super convoluted and I suspect is unlike anything Fiennes originally intended — at least, in presentation and plotting. It's pretty difficult to trace motivations when everyone turns on their ally for poorly explained reasons. 

Okay, here's an attempt at a summary: Statham's mission is to kill three ex-SAS men who have incurred the wrath of a oil sheik living in Oman. The time is 1980. Cue moustaches and sunglasses. Clive Owen plays the guy who tries to stop it all, while De Niro bookends the show by phoning in a few run-'n-guns and lame jokes. 

Add it all together and you may have a pretty interesting recipe for a decent action film, except none of it is and it all falls flat on its silly, bloated face. The film also showcases some of the worst facial hair to ever appear on the big screen, and will be used in future reference as a collection of ridiculous aviators that somehow everyone wears. 

I dunno, guys. Someone peed on the celluloid again, and I'm not sure on where to point the finger. Probably in the writing and direction, but the speedy, ADD-editing doesn't help either. Disappointing. 

Now who wants to see some cows jump some moons? 

1/4

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