As a guy, I like action films. It helps if they have some semblance of a plot, but let’s face it, the real reason to enjoy action films are all the explosions, gunplay, gratuitous use of F-bombs, and the sexy women who will probably either dress real sexy or lose their clothes at some random point. Hardly Oscar-worthy material, but hey, we just enjoy it for the entertainment value.
Killer Elite, the directorial debut of Gary McKendry and featuring a cast that includes Jason Statham, Robert De Niro, Clive Owen, Dominic Purcell and Yvonne Strahovski, is an action film that does have a plot, while still having all the good stuff guys enjoy in an action film. Based on the novel The Feather Men by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, another plus in the movie’s favor is that the actual movie is not you’d expect from what was shown in the trailers.
Statham stars as Danny Bryce, a mercenary who got out of the game after a job went bad in 1980. His retirement doesn’t last long, however, as he’s forced back into the game a year later to finish a job that his former partner, Hunter (De Niro) failed to accomplish. Danny must kill the three SAS agents responsible for killing the eldest sons of the disposed ruler of Oman, but must also make them look like accidents and do it all before said monarch dies. If he doesn’t, Hunter will be killed. But while Danny – along with the rest of his old team, Davies (Purcell) and Meier (Aden Young) – race to get the job done and rescue Hunter, they are being pursued by Spike Logan (Owen), the top agent of the Feathermen. The Feathermen are a secret society of former SAS agents who are dedicated to protecting their own, so naturally they don’t care too much for what Danny and his pals are planning.
This is one of those movies that’s hard to describe too much on the plot without giving too much away, especially since there’s an interesting twist towards the end. Trust me, you’ll have to see it to believe it, as it isn’t what you’d expect. That can be said about the whole movie, since as I mentioned, it’s much different than how it was presented in the trailers. Yeah, the kidnap angle is there, but as you can guess, the reasons behind aren’t what you’d expect, and what makes the movie all that much better. And you can’t beat the cast, either. Statham and Owen know how to play bad-asses, and De Niro is good in just about anything he does. Put them all together and it makes for some great interaction, dialogue and even some chuckle-inducing moments (De Niro’s “watch” line speaks for itself).
An interesting aspect is that the movie is set during the early ‘80s, probably when the original Feather Men novel (released in 1991 and supposedly based on true events) took place. This seems to work in the movie’s favor, rather than simply just updating the events for modern times like some movies might have, as that was a time when things seemed a little more clear-cut. Not only that, but the ‘80s were practically the heyday of action films, as some of the best ones came out during those years and made stars out of the likes of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Van Dammne and many more. And despite the setting, don’t expect this to be a total send-up to ‘80s action films, as things are still a bit more realistic in terms of the characters, meaning there aren’t really straight-out good guys or bad guys, rather just guys either doing their jobs or doing what they think is right. Contrary to how movies portrayed the world in the ‘80s, that is how the world works, even back then, and it is nice to see some sense of realism in an action film, keeping it from getting cheesy and cliche.
Killer Elite comes packing more than a punch with it’s 1080p transfer. While at times it can give the gritty feel it’s done so in a way that’s proper for the film and most likely director intended. Blacks are black enough that you won’t notice hardly any film grain except in a couple instances between Clive and Jason. Overall you just won’t find much to complain about on this release. Another great action flick on blu-ray.
The audio on this blu-ray is definitely top notch. Bullets flying by everywhere can definitely have that affect! While the rears can engulf you during fire-fights, it’s the fronts and center channel that carry the bulk of this load. Dialogue is crisp and well received. You won’t find too much to gripe about if listening in a 5.1+ set up.
Don’t blink or you might miss it! 13 deleted scenes …
Depending on how you like your action movies, Killer Elite might not be for everyone. Still, there seems to be something for everyone, and plenty more to keep things different. So whether you want something different or just a fan of any of the cast, give this one a look. You’ll definitely find something you’ll enjoy. The video and audio quality are top notch blu-ray, while the supplements leave a alot to be desired though. Overall if you’re an action movie lover I think there is something you will find to like in this movie with these all stars.