Monday, June 25, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Killer Elite (2011) *½

R, 116 min.
Director: Gary McKendry
Writers: Matt Sherring, Ranulph Fiennes (book “The Feather Men”)
Starring: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert DeNiro, Dominic Purcell, Aden Young, Yvonne Strahovski, Ben Mendelsohn, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Whiteley

Penny Thoughts is supposed to be a briefer forum in which I can comment more succinctly about the movies I watch at home. In order to achieve this with my thoughts on the international espionage thriller “Killer Elite”, I’m going to have to confine my comments to the opening action sequence. In fact, I think I can make my point with just one detail of that scene.

We meet a team of mercenaries on the job. They are lead by Jason Statham and Robert De Niro, but there are two other members of the team. Dominic Purcell only functions as a lookout in this scene. He tells the rest of the team when their job is going down. The other merc is Aden Young, playing the team’s explosives expert. It’s an assassination job. There is a motorcade lead by motorcycles followed by two limos. The target is in the second limo. The powdermonkey waits for the cycles to pass and ignites the first limo. This cuts the second limo off from the motorcycle protection so Statham and De Niro can come in with guns and finish the job. So I ask, why not just blow up the second limo and be done with it?

One might argue that the smart way may not be as exciting as what they did in the movie. I contend that the mercenaries could do their job the smart way and the screenwriters could still make it interesting and exciting. It’s possible that not everyone in the limo would die in the explosion and the Statham and De Niro characters would still have to go in for close range execution.

It wouldn’t have been difficult to write the scene in a smarter way and still allow for high suspense. There’s a lack of imagination here that permeates the entire film. The filmmakers settle for clichés and plot holes in a story based on real events that could’ve been a good action movie. I don’t blame the actors. They do their jobs, but the script needed another rewrite with someone more used to adapting true stories rather than Hollywood action clichés.

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