Killer Elite (2011)
With Clive Owen and Robert De Niro on board in a period piece allegedly based on a true story, this should have been pretty fun and one of the higher quality Statham movies. Alas, that is very much not the case. I do very much enjoy a few of the fight sequences and the rare times that Clive and Statham are on screen together are pretty cool, but this a very meandering movie that could easily have been shortened by a third or more. Given how much I like romances and the guy winning the girl and living happily ever after, I really could have done without every scene with Statham and Semi-Hot Random Australian Chick. If I had to guess, those scenes are likely there to give us a hook into Statham's character and a reason to root for him, but there really isn't anyone to root for at all.
Unfortunately Statham's goal is to bump off a whole squad of SAS men, which he inevitably does, but that makes it mighty hard to give a big fist pump every time he does one of them in. I actually quite enjoy ambiguity and movies where there aren't any clear-cut good or bad guys can be really interesting, but once again this really isn't the sort of movie that works well for him. Statham's character is laid out well enough and his motivations are pretty clear, it's just really hard to get behind him and care. He needs to be doing the Harrison Ford thing and hunting down everyone who ever wronged him or looked at him funny, not assassinating a bunch of people he's never met just because some geezer is holding his inept friend hostage.
Speaking of his inept friend, really really didn't care for De Niro here. This is smack dab in the middle of De Niro's dark ages where he's taking on really questionable movies. Trying to play against type? Keep an aging career going? Drug debt to repay? The reasons really don't matter, it's just sad when you see a great actor phoning it in like he does here. Probably could have had more entertainment from a cardboard cut-out of De Niro than we get from his screen time.
Clive would have probably been more fun to watch if he weren't actively working against Statham and serving the Geezer's Circle Jerk Club, the closest we ever get to actual bad guys. It was very much like watching a detective show where you're supposed to root against the detective figuring out the case. Thankfully whenever Statham and Clive are on screen together (or chasing each other), there's excellent energy and some pretty fun action sequences, but it's really too little and much too late. By that point, I've already mentally moved on to wondering which movie I get to watch next and hoping it will be better than this one.
Badassery Quotient - 7
There's some pretty fun spy shit and plenty of random gunfire, face-punchy, and car-chasey to be had and that's all the better. Given how sedate the pace of the rest of the movie is, it feels more like the movie has the action version of Tourette's than any sort of well thought out screenplay.
Rewatchability - No Thanks
Yet another throw-away Statham movie. Surprise, surprise. It's not horrible, it's not great, it just sort of lies there and silently pleads for you to put it out of it's misery. No real reason to recommend this to anyone or ever watch it again. Hmmm... That seems oddly familiar. Perhaps in the future, I should just copy & paste in the "Rewatchability" paragraph from one of my other reviews to save time.
Up next - Safe. Hey! It's another Statham movie that came out in the theaters that I couldn't muster up enough interest to go see. Wheee! No interesting hook that I can see. It's sad when the best hope you can muster is that the movie will be better than one you hope to never watch again. Woot.