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Killer Elite

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Jason Statham, left, in Killer Elite
Jason Statham, left, in Killer Elite

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

With a beefcake physique that suggests oncoming bodily harm, Jason Statham would've made a great '80s action hero; it's no coincidence that the bullet-headed Brit seemed at home in the Reagan-era reunion tour The Expendables. Acknowledging that the Transporter star could have kicked much ass in the days when Schwarzenegger was king, and having to actually endure a nouveau muscle-neck magnum opus, however, are two different things, as this tough-guy-cinema throwback amply proves. Danny Bryce (Statham) is revered in the world of ultra-violent globe-trotting espionage. But as much as blowing up stuff real good beside his mentor (De Niro, feisty) gives him a purpose, Bryce is tired of "the life." His short-lived retirement ends when his buddy is kidnapped by a vengeful shiekh who wants the bastards who murdered his sons. One of the killers, Spike (Owen), isn't going to go gently into the night.

Cue black-ops missions, simian chest beating, tonsorial offenses (Owen's mustache is the film's real villain), clever quips and too many Bourne-ish elbows to the face to count. By the time Statham beats the snot out of someone while still tied to a chair, the Clancy-lite political skullduggery and schlocky dialogue (Variations of "We end this today!" are repeated several times) has worn down your patience. A few awesome firefights does not an action film make, and even De Niro's Ronin-esque interlude can't shake the feeling that the thrill, like the '80s, is gone.

Follow David Fear on Twitter: @davidlfear

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Written by David Fear
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