Great action, feather-light plot

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IOL Killer Jason Statham in Killer Elite


DIRECTOR: Gary McKendry

CAST: Jason Statham, Robert de Niro, Clive Owen, Dominic Purcell, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje,


RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

RATING: 2 stars

Theresa Smith

Jason Statham and Clive Owen in a low down, dirty showdown. Great news for action fans, though, to be honest, it is only in two scenes.

Still, it’s great fun when they do start pummelling each other, because they spend a good part of the film dancing around each other as shadowy assassin (Statham’s Danny) and master spy (Owen’s Spike).

Inspired by Ranulph Fiennes’ book, The Feather Men, Killer Elite, the film draws on events in Oman in the Middle East in the 1980s, to put forward a story about four SAS soldiers pursued and killed by a hit man hired by a sheikh for revenge.

The deaths are supposed to look accidental, and the sheikh kidnaps Danny’s mentor Hunter (de Niro) to force him to take the job.

Spike works for the Feather Men of the book’s title, which refers to a shadowy group of spies within the SAS who figure out what is going on and try to stop the assassinations.

Danny is trying to get out of the assassination game, but values Hunter’s life enough to try to do a good job.

He is aided and abetted by Dominic Purcell, hiding behind an astounding moustache, straight out of a 1980s B-grade cop action flick. Owen’s bushy Magnum-look has nothing on Purcell’s scene-stealing Fu Manchu.

Everyone sticks to their natural accents, so it’s a great mix-up – about as much of a mix-up as the plot, which is rather muddled. The scriptwriter presupposed the audience knows a lot about Oman in the early 1980s and won’t mind a film with no real storyline because let’s face it, this is all about the action.

It’s about Statham kicking ass despite being tied down in a chair and 1980s action film high jinks because that’s what this is. Cheesy, filled with bad guys with accents, moustaches and cool jackets and good guys who can’t shoot straight, even when their lives depend on it. The music rocks out in suitably 1980s style and there’s nothing elegant about the car chase sequences.

Guys, as long as you can stay awake between the reasonably well choreographed action sequences, you’ll be good to go. Girls, only if you’re really a huge Statham or Owen fan.

Once you’ve walked out of the cinema, all you really remember is that chair sequence.

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