Killer Elite Preview

Jamie and Patrick sit and watch Citizen Kane. Tears pour down their faces. It’s beautiful. “It’s Citizen Kane by a length!” The announcer calls as the horse crosses the finish line. The mayor pounds them on the shoulder, “She’s a real classic. These horses are so fresh. We’re doing boffo business!” Patrick wipes the tears from his face. Indeed, what they have accomplished is boffo, but even he can admit that they really should stop fooling around. While it seemed important to establish themselves in their new town, this whole racetrack business is really more of a Bad Movie Twins thing. He turns to Jamie to tell him to get the DVD player warmed up for some CK action, but he’s annoyed to find him talking once again with Jamie, the cowgirl they have been using to corral the horses that are a little too fresh. “Hey Patrick,” Jamie (the cowgirl) says, “me and Jamie were talking about catching a movie. I think it’s called Big Ass Crane. About a sentient crane that threatens Houston.” Patrick scowls, skeptical about how good BAC could possibly be. “I really want you to come, too,” Jamie (the cowgirl) says, placing her hand on Patrick’s. Patrick is startled (he’s a happily married man with 6 children!) and looks down at his Good Movie Rulez. Rule #5 – Love Triangle. “Uhhhh, no,” Patrick says quickly, “Why don’t you go back to the house and watch Citizen Kane together?” He adds helpfully. The Jamie’s nod, warming to the idea. “More like Citizen Crane, right?” Jamie (not the cowgirl) says, playfully. Patrick breathes a sigh of a relief and changes Rule #5 to Love Story. “Yeah that’s elite,” the mayor says looking over his shoulder. “It’s not elite,” Patrick says mockingly before putting on his sunglasses. “It’s killer.” That’s right! Not the best segue into a movie about ye olde assassins, but it’ll have to do. I feel like in my head I conflated this film with Righteous Kill. I was fully expecting this to be about police officers or something. But it’s not… it’s about something totally different. Let’s go! 

Killer Elite (2011) – BMeTric: 21.7; Notability: 40 – BMeTric: top 32.4%; Notability: top 14.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 25.0%; Higher BMeT: Jack and Jill, The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Shark Night, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, The Roommate, The Darkest Hour, Hellraiser: Revelations, Conan the Barbarian, Abduction, I Don’t Know How She Does It, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Zookeeper, Apollo 18, Twixt, The Dilemma, and 61 more; Higher Notability: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Green Lantern, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Hop, Cars 2, The Smurfs, Your Highness, New Year’s Eve, Red Riding Hood, Jack and Jill, Battle Los Angeles, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Sucker Punch, I Am Number Four, The Hangover Part II, In Time, Johnny English Reborn, Larry Crowne, Priest, and 17 more; Lower RT: You May Not Kiss the Bride, Hellraiser: Revelations, Jack and Jill, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, The Roommate, A Little Bit of Heaven, Hick, Abduction, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Dream House, New Year’s Eve, Trespass, Honey 2, Red Riding Hood, Creature, Season of the Witch, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Atlas Shrugged: Part I, The Darkest Hour, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, and 40 more; Notes: That is a shockingly low Notability now that I look at it. A film like this just feels like it should have 70 well known people in it. – 3.0 stars – “Killer Elite” is inspired by a story that ingeniously finds a way to explain why two teams of ex-SAS men would want to kill each other. That doubles the possibilities for casting, and here Jason Statham and Clive Owen, who in fact have no reason to dislike each other, are engaged in a deadly game of international murder. Robert De Niro plays a hostage taken by a sheik of Oman, who uses him to settle a score neither team has any reason to care about, so basically what’s at stake is their professionalism.

(Wow. What a zag by Roger. Although this would have been prime time “good for what it is” Ebert, so actually it makes a lot of sense.)

Trailer –

(I remember this trailer so distinctly. Specifically the flip with the chair onto Clive Owen. Incredible use of Rock you like a Hurricane as well.)

DirectorsGary McKendry – ( BMT: Killer Elite; Notes: How bizarre. He directed an Oscar nominated short, then this, then one more short and then … literally nothing else? That seems insane. He one effort was a Statham, Owen, De Niro picture?)

WritersMatt Sherring – ( BMT: Killer Elite; Notes: And this guy just has a single other thing in development maybe? How did this thing get made?)

Ranulph Fiennes – (BMT: Killer Elite; Notes: He wrote the book … this movie is based on a book. And this guy is nuts. He was a famous adventurer, and tried to blow up the Dr. Doolittle set as some sort of protest.)

ActorsJason Statham – ( Known For: Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre; F9: The Fast Saga; Wrath of Man; Snatch; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Furious 7; The Italian Job; The Meg; Collateral; The Fate of the Furious; Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw; Furious 6; The Expendables; Spy; The Bank Job; The Expendables 2; The Transporter; Death Race; Homefront; Wild Card; Future BMT: The Pink Panther; War; The One; Turn It Up; BMT: The Expendables 3; Crank; Killer Elite; Crank: High Voltage; Mechanic: Resurrection; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Ghosts of Mars; Notes: Was on the National British Diving Team. One funny story I remember from a podcast I listened to in like 2011 was that a comedian’s ex-girlfriend was dating Statham and he wanted so badly to hate him, but it turned out Statham is hilarious, really nice, and extraordinarily handsome, so he actually just ended up really enjoying the few times he’s met him.)

Clive Owen – ( Known For: Sin City; Closer; Inside Man; Children of Men; The Bourne Identity; The Informer; Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; Gosford Park; Trust; Anon; Shoot ‘Em Up; Croupier; Last Knights; Ophelia; Close My Eyes; The International; Duplicity; Blood Ties; The Song of Names; Bent; Future BMT: King Arthur; Gemini Man; The Pink Panther; Derailed; Elizabeth: The Golden Age; Beyond Borders; The Rich Man’s Wife; BMT: Killer Elite; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Closer (remember that guy?). He ended up almost being as famous for starring in The Knick than anything else. Was Bill Clinton in American Crime Story?)

Robert De Niro – ( Known For: Joker; Goodfellas; Heat; Taxi Driver; The Godfather Part II; American Hustle; The Irishman; Cape Fear; Once Upon a Time in America; Casino; Sleepers; Silver Linings Playbook; Stardust; The Deer Hunter; A Bronx Tale; Limitless; The Untouchables; Raging Bull; Jackie Brown; Ronin; Future BMT: The Family; Great Expectations; Shark Tale; Meet the Fockers; The War with Grandpa; Little Fockers; Arthur and the Invisibles; Hide and Seek; Showtime; Analyze That; The Fan; 15 Minutes; The Comedian; Stanley & Iris; BMT: Amsterdam; Dirty Grandpa; Killer Elite; Righteous Kill; The Big Wedding; New Year’s Eve; Grudge Match; Godsend; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Dirty Grandpa in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Notes: Y’all know De Niro. Six time nominated for Best Actor (won twice for Raging Bull and Godfather Part II). And he’s still working. Mostly it is in comedies as a mea grandpa or something, but he still will show up in things like The Irishman and Amsterdam.)

Budget/Gross – $70,000,000 / Domestic: $25,124,966 (Worldwide: $57,084,522)

(Oooooof there it is. Why would you give $70 million to an unproven director and writer. Wait … what year was this made? See 2011 it feels like they were already not funding dumb stuff, so how did this slip through?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (35/127): A rote, utterly disposable Jason Statham vehicle that just happens to have Clive Owen and Robert De Niro in it.

(I mean … slammed? Now it makes a bit more sense. So they thought they could elevate it, but it just ended up wallowing in the mud with Statham. No offense to him, they said it not me.)

Reviewer Highlight: Clumsily directed by Gary McKendry and poorly written by Matt Sherring, rookies both, the convoluted movie collapses under the weight of its own cliches. – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Poster – Killer Snore-lite

(I like the orange, but that’s about it. Old school framing and the scene itself is just a bunch of people standing around in black and white. Very middle of the road. C.)

Tagline(s) – May the Best Man Live (A, but sarcastic. Like a cheeky A.)

(Wooooow. That is a punch in the gut right there. May the best man live. It’s so close to a self parody that maybe it’s perfect. Maybe it’s the best tagline of all time and you will never know it.)

Keyword(s) – good

Top 10: Good Will Hunting (1997), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), The Great Gatsby (2013), Hot Fuzz (2007), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Man on Fire (2004), The Nice Guys (2016)

Future BMT: 67.1 Phat Girlz (2006), 63.2 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 60.6 Like a Boss (2020), 51.8 Playing with Fire (2019), 51.6 The Boss (2016), 51.1 Johnny Be Good (1988), 50.7 The Hot Chick (2002), 50.0 Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), 48.4 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 47.2 Barney’s Great Adventure (1998), 45.1 Fly Me to the Moon 3D (2007), 44.9 Fantastic Four (2005), 40.4 No Good Deed (2014), 39.5 Good Burger (1997), 37.2 The Great Wall (2016), 37.0 Stroker Ace (1983), 36.3 Milk Money (1994), 34.7 Mad Money (2008), 34.3 Mo’ Money (1992), 32.1 Good Deeds (2012)

BMT: Epic Movie (2007), Fantastic Four (2015), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), Cool as Ice (1991), Cool World (1992), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Hot Pursuit (2015), The Fly II (1989), One for the Money (2012), Fire Down Below (1997), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Fire Birds (1990), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Be Cool (2005), Chill Factor (1999), Money Train (1995), Hot to Trot (1988), The Golden Child (1986), Righteous Kill (2008), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), The Wizard (1989), Fresh Horses (1988), Killer Elite (2011), Hunter Killer (2018)

Best Options (Amsterdam): 45.1 Fly Me to the Moon 3D (2007), 21.7 Killer Elite (2011), 12.0 Great Expectations (1998)

(Yup, there weren’t much options. Great Expectations had a slightly better showing maybe to continue the streak, but we couldn’t pass up Killer Elite.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 6) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jason Statham is No. 1 billed in Killer Elite and No. 1 billed in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 6. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Sir Ranulph Fiennes, an English adventurer, polar explorer and former S.A.S. man is the author of The Feather Men, the novel on which this film is adapted. Although he has often claimed the novel was a true story, the families of the real dead S.A.S. men named in the novel who died on S.A.S. exercises, and the S.A.S. themselves publicly attacked it as sick exploitation and complete fiction. The S.A.S. even went on the record to disown both Fiennes and the book, with Lieutenant Colonel Ian Smith telling the Daily Mail “It was utter bullshit”, the figment of a fertile imagination. What was really upsetting, was that it was making a story out of a tragedy.” Maggie Denaro, the widow of one of the dead S.A.S. men said of Fiennes, “It’s time he grew up. He’s made his money out of the book. He should come clean. When the book came out saying Mike had been murdered, we knew it wasn’t true. But that didn’t stop our children from being upset when other people believed it.” Although Fiennes claims he sent a manuscript of the book to the S.A.S. and the families of the dead men, who gave their approval, they have all unequivocally denied his claim.

The controversy over whether the story is true or not has as many twists as the plot itself. As mentioned above, all the families and the S.A.S. denied they had been consulted or involved in any way with the book. However, an article the Daily Mail Online was forced to include an amendment when the widow of Major Mike Kealy admitted she had read and approved of every page that related to her husband.

Robert De Niro is the only American born actor in this film.

In the scene where the SAS are going on training in the Brecon Beacons, they are seen wearing the incorrect uniform for the period. In 1981 the British Army wore 1968 pattern Smock, Combat but here they are seen wearing P84 smocks which did not start being rolled out until circa 1985.


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