Statham, Owen go head to head in ‘Killer Elite’

If you’re in the mood for a lot of rockin’ sockin’ action choreographed by people not wearing superhero costumes, “Killer Elite” is for you.

This movie has the enticing match-up of Clive Owen vs. Jason Statham. Owen, who has delved into drama and comedy, also has proven himself in physical roles in “Shoot ’em Up” and “Sin City” while Statham is probably the top action star today. When these two get together in “Killer Elite,” it’s not to hug it up to the beat of drums and sing “Kumbaya.” They basically want to inflict permanent damage on each other. If they were to become allies and team up with Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne, this trio would pave a swath of mayhem for miles.

In the give-and-take of the action film, there has to be a plotline to justify all the destruction, and these interludes do interfere with the flow of the excitement. “Killer Elite” is based on a supposedly true story that involves political intrigue and the dangers when professional killers get too zealous in their mission.

Statham’s character, Danny, is a top-notch special operations agent teamed up with a veteran mentor, Hunter (Robert DeNiro). During one of their missions, Danny almost kills an innocent boy, and this leads him to retire, a decision made even more rewarding when he returns to his home town and falls in love with a local woman, Anne (Yvonne Strahovski). After about a year of contentment, Danny receives a parcel that forces him back into the game.

The parcel contains a photo of Hunter, now being held captive by a sheik in Oman. The price being levied for Hunter’s release is high: Danny must track down three British agents in the elite fighting corps SAS who killed three of the sheik’s sons. They must present recorded confessions of their deeds and then be terminated in what looks like accidents.

Danny, after failing to spring Hunter, must take on the mission. He is teamed up with Davies (Dominic Purcell) and Meier (Aden Young).

Unfortunately, the SAS guys, knowing they could be targeted for reprisals, are in a high state of paranoia, and Davies’ snooping around, acting like a former SAS operative, arouses the suspicions of Spike (Owen).

Spike is associated with a secret group of old men who have their hands dirty and a lot of secrets to keep. These guys are similar to the anonymous bunch of greybeards who were in cahoots with the invading aliens in many episodes of “The X-Files.” Despite all the power this group has, it is not willing to assist Spike in tracking down and stopping Danny and his men.

Thus Spike is on his own, and stuck with assistants not nearly as sharp as he is. Inevitably, Danny and Spike go head to head in a brutal fight that in reality would have led to broken bones and a lot of bloodletting.

There are twists and turns, of course, with the usual subplot of Anne being threatened – which gives DeNiro a chance to inflict some damage in his role as Anne’s bodyguard. There are setups and betrayals leading to one more confrontation between Danny and Spike, two guys who could hold a stare-off for days, maybe weeks, with neither blinking.

Source: Pasadena Star News

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