I admit it. I love Jason Statham. What’s not to like about the guy, or rather, the characters he plays? Good-looking in a way that, thankfully, doesn’t shriek metrosexual, he’s physically nimble, able to throw off a smart one-liner while pumping lead into an adversary, or jump off a rooftop to what should be impalement, only to land on his feet. I was very psyched, then, to receive Killer Elite as a review assignment.
Well, let’s just say that not all Statham movies are The Transporter. Or The Bank Job. The plot, based on a much-disputed book about the exploits of a British spy, is about secret agent Danny (our man Jason) who, having retired early, is lured into yet another “final” job to rescue former partner Hunter (Robert DeNiro, who must really need cash). He’s got to find the killers of a sheik’s sons, get their confessions on tape, and dispose of them. Then he gets $6 million and his old pal.
Granted, there’s a lot of heart-pumping action, and the sight of Statham escaping sure death by vaulting himself, tied to a chair, from an upper story window in a cityscape peppered with steepled prominences. But mostly, Killer Elite is a confusing mess, plagued by terrible dialogue and not enough Statham. Clive Owen (who also must really need cash) plays Spike, a Brit agent charged with bringing Danny down. Watching Owen, I can’t help but think, wasn’t this guy in Croupier? Closer? Children of Men? What happened? Despite the minimally decent action sequences, Killer Elite can’t get past its crap script and lousy direction, both courtesy of Gary McKendry.