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Movie Review

Killer Elite

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.

Reviewed by: Joseph Yates
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Action Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
September 23, 2011 (wide—2,900+ theaters)
DVD: January 10, 2012
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Open Road Films

friendship

rescue

assassins

murder in the Bible

death

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring: Jason StathamDanny Bryce
Robert De NiroHunter
Clive OwenSpike
Ben Mendelsohn
Yvonne Strahovski … Anne
Dominic Purcell … Davies
more »
Director: Gary McKendry
Producer: Omnilab Media
Ambience Entertainment
Current Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Open Road Films

“May the best man live.”

The Feather Men

“Killer Elite” is a film based on the novel The Feather Men by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, supposedly based on a true story. Two men, Danny (played by Jason Statham) and Hunter (played by Robert De Niro) start the movie on the trail of a target they are trying to assassinate. Danny gets to the crime lord in his car, but a child is present in the vehicle and witnesses the murder. Sick of the violence and blood, Danny gives up being a hitman and retires to Australia for a normal life. But he soon gets unwillingly pulled back into it when his old partner and friend Hunter is held hostage by an Arabian sheik.

“Killer Elite” is rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity. The film is about assassinations and is violent constantly, some of which is very graphic, with blood and gore. I counted 43 f-words, 23 sh*t, 7 a**, 3 h*ll, 2 b*tch, 9 b*st*rd, 2 p*ss, and several misuses of Jesus” and God’s names, but none paired with d-mn.

When a main character is sneaking through a target’s house, we hear the target and a woman upstairs having sex and moaning. Later, we see a secondary main character having sex with a (presumed) prostitute. There is no sound here other than a song, because the antagonists catch them off guard. Several characters use crude terms for male anatomy.

I have seen many violent movies, including “300,” “The Expendables,” “The A-Team,” “Memento,” “The Losers,” and so on. However, “Killer Elite” is possibly the most violent film I have ever watched, next to “The Passion of the Christ.” Initially, my thought was to dismiss the movie because of its extremely dark premise and very prevalent gore. All the while, something kept coming up and grabbing me—Danny was fed up with the violence. He tries numerous times to get out of the assassin game, but gets unwillingly pulled back in. Here we have a man that, despite doing this for years, has become sick of killing. He has seen how pointless the violence is and how little it accomplishes. When he gets pulled back into the assassin game, he tells his partners to not harm anyone except the targets. Even then, Danny is so tired of the killing that he spares the life of a target, taking a image of the unconscious man to fake the killing.

Danny has seen what we already know. Scripture says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). And yet, even though he sees this, he never quite fully turns his back on the violence, remarking to an antagonist who threatens him at the end of the film “I’ll be ready.”

“Killer Elite” appears to be another brainless, macho action flick, at first glance. When you watch it, you may see a whole different ballgame. Don’t get me wrong, Statham and De Niro act their parts well, even when it comes to Danny’s girlfriend. However, the combination of the extreme content with the inability of any character to find full redemption, lessens the quality of the movie. The violence doesn’t concern me as much as it normally would, because the film teaches us something, this time. However, that lesson can only be gained by viewers with a strong stomach. This is not for the faint of heart.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—It’s a great thriller, a bit different from the original book, Feather Men by Ranulph Fiennes (third cousin of actor Ralph Fiennes) where the ex-SAS team is targeted by a group of mercenary assassins known as the Clinic. To track down the Clinic, a group of four men (the Feather Men) are recruited, so they can also avenge the death of their former pals.

The movie is a kind of vice-versa story telling, more from the assassin’s side, where one of the assassin Danny (Jason Statham) is the protagonist. It’s really violent, yet gripping and an edge of the seat action packed thriller. Robert DeNiro has nothing to do in this film, I think he is more or less a guest star, definitely not for children. If you are a fan of action thrillers like “Green Zone,” give this film a try.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Cyril Thomas, age 32 (United Kingdom)

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