Published Sep 22, 2011How does one make a dime-a-dozen Special Ops war film worthy of seeing in theatres? Director Gary McKendry answers this question by taking a novel, supposedly based on real-life accounts (The Feather Men by Sir Ranulph Fiennes), and transforming it into an explosive action-thriller starring balding, aging actors who convey the robust solipsism of being a man's man in this month's Killer Elite.
Inspired by true events, Killer Elite takes place during 1980 after the Iranian Embassy Siege. When Hunter (Robert Deniro), an elite special operative, is held hostage, Danny, a recently retired ex-special ops agent, must hunt down and kill three assassins from London in order to save his long-time mentor and friend from execution. However, Danny and his team must confront the ruthless, cockeyed leader of a secret military society (Clive Owen), who is hell-bent on protecting the soldiers and hit men on Danny's kill list. A prolonged and dragged out game of cat and mouse ensues.
In his first full-length directorial debut, McKendry attempts to blend surreal and realistic depictions of actual events into an action-packed thriller that regrettably ends up gearing itself specifically towards men whose reactions to the news of a sequel to The Expendables included the word "booyah."
Even with an impressive list of headliners, Killer Elite's characters fail to muster any sense of intrigue without bullet spitting phallic symbols in their hands. This is mainly due to the fact that McKendry's hollow script lacks any character development whatsoever.
The viewers are meant to understand the strong bond between Hunter and Danny simply from an awkward conversation about eating iguana tacos early in the film. The audience is also supposed to believe Danny is a character to empathize with merely because he thinks about his horse-riding girlfriend every so often before meticulously planning a kill.
Killer Elite does manage to throw in a couple of well-shot car chases and one-on-one combat sequences. Unfortunately these moments aren't enough to satisfy anyone who's not easily entertained by actors showing off their aviator sunglasses and leaping from explosions, making this a perfect theatrical candidate for the September dump month. (eOne)