Wednesday, February 15, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: Killer Elite

2011, Gary McKendry -- download

This was not the movie I expected it to be from the trailers.  In those trailers I saw another Statham staple, a guns and kungfu extravaganza with humor and weird characters. Clive Owen's mustache was the expected weird character.  What I didn't know is that it took place in the 80s, explaining the cheesy stache.  Also, it was more of a political thriller than a kungfu-y romp.  Even the guns were not as prevalent as I expected.  It was deceivingly thoughtful even if the politics of the piece took more of a backdrop to the killer vs killer focus.

So, we have Statham and DeNiro as hired guns, maybe "company men" but more likely just freelancers. Statham has a change of heart after shooting a father in front of his child and decides to retire, much to DeNiro's chagrin.  He returns to rural Australia to reconnect with a farmer's field and Chuck's girlfriend (Yvonne Strahovski) but is immediately dragged back into the fray via a shaikh who has kidnapped DeNiro and wants to force Statham to assassinate a bunch of SAS soldiers who killed his sons during the Dhofar Rebellion in Oman.  Deep breath.  That is the background to a story of scheduled hits, foul ups and retribution.  The political aspect of a bunch of ex-SAS power brokers from the Dhofar Rebellion, calling themselves the Feather Men, is disappointingly downplayed to up-play the fights between Owen and Statham.

The movie is shot with a dirty, grungy sensibility like I view all euro movies from the 70s and 80s.  The characters are rough and mean and tough.  Their actions are uncouth, not a single 007 tux wearing killer elite in the bunch. Dominic Purcell's Davies is lifted completely from his Prison Break persona into a vivid sod of a killer referred to as The Welshman but making me think of a drunken Newfoundlander with his constant references to "me son".  Owen is himself, cool and controlled but scary in his anger.  Of course, who else would Statham be but himself or nobody would see the movie.  It solidifies that these are not nice guys, not the ones to root for and that their lives are most deservedly shortened.