Killer Elite Blu-ray Review

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Reviewed by Cas Harlow, 27th December 2011.
If you want to see Robert De Niro, kicking ass, shooting people and stealing scenes in a straight action-thriller – for the first time in over a decade – then Killer Elite delivers... up to a point. Almost everything else about it is lame and ineffectual, handicapped by its own mishandling of the source material upon which it was based – a purportedly true story of mercenaries, assassinations and a league of ex-SAS soldiers with a shady agenda – and poorly delivered by the debut director and debut screenwriter, who really should not have been handed the keys to this brimming-with-potential project. As an outright Statham action-vehicle there is simply not enough action, and his lead character is near-impossible to get behind given the heinous acts that he carries out on innocent people; as a cleverer-than-average action-thriller, the more intelligent plotting and character development is similarly derailed by ineffective twists and inexcusable plot holes. Both Statham and the generally reliable Clive Owen do not appear to have a clue as to which one of them is playing the good guy, nor which is supposed to be bad – and audiences will similarly be confused; this kind of confusion may work in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but, despite the 80s period setting, this is not the thuggish cousin of that thinking-man’s spy thriller. No, Killer Elite is a fatally flawed action thriller with brief moments of standout action, some clever individual scenes, a couple of unexpected plot twists, and a generally cool contribution from Robert De Niro (the first in years).

On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get average video and audio, as well as a fluffy, throwaway set of extras that appears to omit some of those listed on the upcoming US release. If you’re drawn by the cast, and enjoy your actioners, then this is far from a bad rental, but I’d definitely recommend checking it out before committing it to your collection.

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