The pReview Re-viewing of..
by Jeff Finck
The premise: I assume the entire premise is Jason Statham fighting Clive Owen to the death while Robert De Niro looks on from the side line like a New York City Caesar. What really is transpiring, though, is that a former British Special Forces badass gets caught up in a deadly cat and mouse game with an assassin called Spike. He then has to use his fury and fight his way to the top to take down Spike and his lackeys before they.. do.. stuff.
Killer Elite is another movie, once again, based on true events. This is not only based on true events (or is claimed to have been, halfheartedly, from what I've read), but also based on the book, "The Feather Men" by an author/adventurer (seriously) named Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who I am assuming is related directly to (if not, just plain is) Lord Voldemort.. I mean, Ralph Fiennes. Most people I know (well.. most people I know who are, in fact, me) tend to groan when I see "based on a true story." It prompts me to go and do a little research, that way I don't go in completely blind to the fact that someone is just pulling the celluloid over my eyes. In my research for this film, I found that the story, as mentioned before, was only partially released as "true." Which is lucky, because I am not of the mentality that reality is stranger than fiction. I have never seen a dinosaur attack a lawyer. And I highly doubt that in my lifetime, I will ever see a "gang bang." Apparently there was some controversy around the truth of the book, as such, I guess that may extend into the movie, as well. Luckily, I am so elated that this isn't in 3d, I just don't care that this is going to piss off the 20 people the book did! (Although, my condolences go out to anyone whose life was actually affected by the events of the story. What? I'm not a complete bastard!)
In any case, we open with an utterly fist-worn faced Danny Bryce (played by the Mean Machine, himself, Jason Statham) bound in a chair letting Spike (the brutally suave, Clive Owen) know that they both apparently have a lot in common. This is, of course, completely scoffed at by Owen. What's cool is that, even though Clive Owen's Spike doesn't realize it yet, they have soooo much in common! They were both born in the 60s, they were apparently born within an hour of each other (geographically), they both look ridiculous with mustaches, and not to mention (but I will any damn way), they both have cameos in The Pink Panther remake!!!! I don't even have to mention any more similarities after that nugget of knowledge! There is a good chance that he may have meant their characters, further investigation is needed. But! As you can see, they're all buckets full of commonality. The only difference, as pointed out very dramatically, is that Clive Owen now has a gun in his hand and Jason Statham doesn't. To add insult to injury, Owen also points out that he is not tethered to a chair, and that Statham clearly is. Free from confinement, Owen then aims the aforementioned pistol at the fettered Jason Statham.
The constantly cool under pressure Statham takes his character and in a whirlwind of violence and legs, flips and punches Clive Owen in the body with the entire chair. Exciting stuff! I will say this right now, if you are on the ground, weighed down with mustache, and have recently been punched in your body with a man-sized body-filled chair, it is hard as damn to shoot and hit a moving target. This fact is solidified with poorly placed shots fired from Owen at Statham who then punches a second floor window in its face with the cumbersome chair, and crash lands on the ground in a daring escape.
Presumably years later, a phone rings in a dark room. Danny Bryce (Statham), his face now lightly bearded, all cleaned up, and blood free, answers the phone. It would appear that however long it has been, Spike (Owen) has never let up, and this time, he is coming harder than he has ever come before. (Yep, I said that. I'll say it again!) He has captured a man called Hunter, Danny Bryce's old mentor, or father, or dear friend, or old guy he knew once.. Hunter is smartly, to be sure, played by Robert De Niro. Now, not only has Spike forced Hunter to make what looks like a science project layout on cheap poster board, but he has also shrunk him down and trapped him in a polaroid picture! After we learn of Spike's amazing control of time and space, we get our first hint that G.I. Joe may be crossing over with the Killer Elite, as Heavy Duty from G.I. Joe, lets Danny know that if he doesn't do what Spike says, Bobby D is totally dead. Oh no!
Do you know what I love? Aerial shots of cities! Luckily, I get my money shot in a filler scene, right before Hunter tells Scarface.. I mean, Spike, that Danny is going to go all Wyatt Earp on his ass and bring hell with him. This does not bode well for ol' Spike, especially because the exchange is interwoven with shots of Danny Bryce ruining peoples' days with even more anger and violence than he showed Spike, the chair, or the window in the first scene. We're talking a multifaceted fighting machine! Danny uses his fists, his feet.. a door.. pretty much whatever he can use as a blunt instrument.
At this point in the trailer, we are under the assumption that Spike has Hunter locked up in some sort of "hard to escape" area. Yet, for some reason, they show this shot where he has only one lonely black and white monitor and a ham radio at his desk for security surveillance. No matter, though, because I'm sure he has an army at his disposal as they do show a helicopter defying gravity and even more people, who aren't Spike, getting kicked in the chest.
As we finally start seeing things like, "This Fall", "May the Best", "Killer", and "Win" flash onto the screen, we are treated by none other than The Scorpions "Rock You Like a Hurricane!" Rock us, they do. Clive Owen kicking people, Robert De Niro aiming guns, and Jason Statham putting other minor characters in their place as the tone of the trailer goes from: "Here's some story!" To: "Here's your face!" They show us another scene in which Danny starts driving a car all fast and furiously (YEAH!), reminding us that Jason Statham just cannot get out of being typecast as someone who drives a car well (see: three Transporter movies, The Italian Job, Crank, Death Race). All this, as Clive Owen tells Anne (Mass Effect 2 heroine and Australian hottie, Yvonne Strahovski, finally revealed in this trailer as possibly the only woman in the cast that has any major screen time) that he is finally starting to get a little bit of man love for how good Danny actually is. This, of course leads to the name "Statham" written on the screen, followed by Statham running, jumping, sliding, rolling, and dodging bullets and explosions to let *us* know how good he is. Then the name "Owen" bursts onto the scene, followed by showing us what a bad guy he's going to be. Owen's Spike is shown shooting, stabbing, and unnecessarily smashing a perfectly good coffee table for no reason at all! The cheek of it all! And finally we get "De Niro" tattooed on the screen, followed by what looks like De Niro's Hunter macking on some fools with his fists and elbows.
Amidst all these Man-splosions and acro-Man-tics, we do get a hint of sexuality (sensuality? I can never tell the diff), and we're given an underwater shot of someone's (probably Anne's) bikini clad bottom with a shirtless male. This seems a little misleading, however, as it is cut directly to a shot of Anne (still no visible clothing) and Danny (fully clothed. Well, at least some sort of jacket thing. He may or may not be wearing pants), with lips touching. Cut back to the action, we see Danny making a death defying leap, and dodging even more bullets! It seems like there should be some sort of joke about how another, more different character from Snatch was the Bullet Dodger, not Turkish. I don't know if I can pull it off, though, so I won't mention it.
(WARNING: pause-line-explosion moment coming up)
Danny: "What you doin'?"
Hunter: (having just killed someone, and looting the body) "I'm gonna get my watch back."
We are at least spoon fed a teaser of a final fight, along with a promise that the whole: I-tied-you-up / you-escaped / I-tracked-you-down / you-blew-me-off / I-kidnapped-your-mentor / you-rescued-him / I-kept-threatening-you / you-came-and-fought nutshell ends TODAY. The two alphas have their showdown and right before we smash cut to "FALL 2011", Statham gets one last Johnny Cage in and wrecks Owen's snack pack with a well timed (to the beat) and well placed (to the junk) upper cut.
There is a chance I will be doing horrible, life altering, world shatteringly bad impressions of both Clive Owen and Jason Statham for a week after seeing this, but hey, that's just what happens to me after seeing either of them in a movie. I'm looking forward to seeing this, as this is at least an original screenplay (despite being based on a book), and not a remake or a sequel! Or in 3d! Kudos to whoever decided this didn't need to jump on THAT band wagon. Well, Fingers crossed!
Release Date: September 23, 2011