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Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro, Dominic Purcell, Aden Young ... see more see more... , Yvonne Strahovski , Ben Mendelsohn , Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje , David Whiteley , Matt Nable , Lachy Hulme , Firass Dirani , Nick Tate , Bille Brown , Stewart Morritt , Grant Bowler , Michael Dorman , Daniel Roberts , Rodney Afif

A match-up made in tough-guy heaven -- Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro star in Killer Elite. Based on a shocking true story, Killer Elite pits two of the world's most elite operatives - D... read more read more...anny, an ex-special ops agent (Jason Statham) and Hunter, his longtime mentor (Robert De Niro) - against the cunning leader of a secret military society (Clive Owen). Covering the globe from Australia to Paris, London and the Middle East, Danny and Hunter are plunged into a highly dangerous game of cat and mouse - where the predators become the prey. -- (C) Open Road Films

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43% liked it

31,927 ratings


25% liked it

122 critics

R, 1 hr. 57 min.

Directed by: Gary McKendry

Release Date: September 23, 2011

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DVD Release Date: January 10, 2012

Stats: 2,732 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (2,732)

  • January 4, 2014
    Some exciting bits and a superficially intriguing plot, complemented by passable acting from Statham and Owen (not to mention De Niro, on his way into the sunset), but about halfway through I just got bored. It had what appeared to be a fine ending around the 1:15 mark - might ha... read moreve left some plot holes, but I was ready for it to end - after which it continued wending its way toward a nearly two-hour runtime. Good effort, pleasing to watch, but in all it's the epitome of mediocrity.
  • December 24, 2013
    A retired black ops killer for hire is pulled back into the business when his friend is held hostage by an oil sheikh seeking retribution against the SAS for assassinating his sons. On the surface of it, Killer Elite is very much an example of business as usual for Jason Statham ... read morein what appears to be just another bone-headed but watchably efficient, testosterone-fuelled action thriller. What marks it out from the majority of Statham's action canon is the above par cast and the fact that the implausible plot is actually based on true events. This fact gives the film more credibility than it would have and as so becomes far more interesting. The result is kind of like The Bank Job meets Mission Impossible and thanks to the strong action sequences and watchable stars it's strangely compelling despite some dubious casting decisions. Undeserving of the critical savaging it suffered on its release, Killer Elite should satisfy action junkies and those looking for a more off-beat political thriller both.
  • December 25, 2012
    With a a messy script full of expository dialogue, confusing motivations and plot holes, this uninteresting and generic movie is also only able to move forward by relying on stupid characters who are no more a killer elite than a bunch of incompetent amateurs.
  • October 30, 2012
    An excellent and explosive action film that puts story, substance and characters before the spectacle. A strong, edgy, solid and powerful movie. It packs some intense punch and great character development. It`s smart, hard-boiled, intense and wickedly entertaining. A top-notch ac... read moretion-packed edge of your seat thriller. A heat-seeking missal of a roller-coaster ride that dosent stop. A riveting, thrilling and utterly breathtaking movie. A tremendously enjoyable film that`s loaded with heart-pounding suspense and non-stop action. This movie was nothing but flat-out awesome from start to finish. It`s the real deal. Director, Gary McKendrys fiery directional debut is nothing short of sensational work. The all-star cast takes the cake with their powerhouse performances. Jason Statham is at his absolute best, giving an outstanding performance. Clive Owen is magnificent. Robert De Niro is fantastic. De Niro, Owen and Statham are amazing in this film adding alot of strengths to their characters and develop them very well. An unforgettable adrenaline-rush.
  • October 20, 2012
    Jason Statham is normally a 'type-cast' kind of actor that I normally steer clear of. It's not that I dislike him personally but his films tend to be of a particular genre that I don't much care for. All they seem to consist of, is the "The Stath" serving out his knuckle sandwich... read morees on some stereotypical numskulls. For me, the draw to this film was my liking for Clive Owen and especially my personal favourite Robert DeNiro. Unfortunately, even those two couldn't save this film from mediocrity.
    Former assassin Danny Bryce (Jason Statham), is brought out of retirement to save his mentor Hunter (Robert DeNiro), now held captive by a Oman sheikh. In exchange for Hunter's freedom, Danny must hunt and kill the SAS officers that the sheikh believes killed his three sons during the Oman war. Danny is certainly up to the job but it's not made easy when another ex-SAS officer, Spike Logan (Clive Owen) is determined to keep what happened in Oman a secret.
    Opening with an intense action set-piece sets this film up well and from the off-set, it promises to be quite a thrilling ride. Statham delivers his usual bad ass schtick and it's great to see DeNiro flex a little of his (ageing) action muscles too. Once the initial 10 minute action is over though, DeNiro takes a back seat, Statham takes over and Clive Owen is brought into the mix of intrigue and espionage. Surprisingly though, it doesn't deliver the action expected and the intrigue is less than... erm, intriguing. The film falls flat very early on and it seemingly has no chance of redemption. That is, until Statham and Owen finally cross paths in a brutal physical exchange that's impressively handled and before we know it, the film has found it's feet again. Or so it would seem for this fleeting moment of fisticuffs. After that's over and done with, the film falls back into it's not-so-comfortable formula and fails to ever resurface. Reportedly, it is based on true events (as reflected in ex-SAS and adventurer Rannulph Fiennes' book "The Feather Men") but whether that's true or not, it still doesn't add anything to the story. The delivery is just a bit too tedious which I found to be quite a conundrum in itself as the material should make for an exciting watch. Added to which, nobody really puts a foot wrong; Statham and Owen deliver the goods and solid support is given by DeNiro and Dominic Purcell from TV's "Prison Break"; debutant director Gary McKendry also seems to be in command of his material and frames his film well. Sadly, it just doesn't quite come together, which leads me to the conclusion that it's the script that's the major issue here.
    This is the type of film that's neither an out-and-out action movie or a complete spy thriller. It can't seem to make it's mind up and as a result will probably disappoint fans from both camps. At one point Statham says "Killing's easy. Living with it is the hard part": the same could be said of this film; putting it into the DVD player is easy, getting through to the end is the hard part.
  • July 5, 2012
    Not sure what all the bad press was about...this was rather good. Probably, the most I have enjoyed Robert De Niro as of late. This was apparently a true story of some pretty tough SAS, and U.S. special ops guys. Story is pretty accurately portrayed, minus the U.S. involvement, h... read moreowever. Nonetheless, well told...and not just another meaningless Hollywood hype thriller with rolling car explosions, and unrealistic shootouts.
  • March 31, 2012
    Just another explosion laden action flick with DeNiro and Clive Owen slumming and picking up a paycheck.
  • March 25, 2012
    A very good action/thriller with a great cast and strong story based on a book about real SAS events in the 80's. Certainly a level above most of Jason Statham's recent action films which keep being churned out very often. If you like a bit of depth to back up the action this is ... read morethe film for you.
  • March 21, 2012
    Based off of Ranulph Fiennes' book, Gary McKendry brings Killer Elite up to a crime thriller level.

    In a nutshell, the concept of the plot is as its title states; just without the punch or kick to push it over the top. The story does have its share of twists, and maybe

    ... read morea tad much,which prolongs the final act and pushes things out to 110 minutes.

    The action is nothing out of the ordinary. The gun play and fist to fist brawls only provide a certain level of entertainment before getting a little stale. Killer Elite is more about the story than it is the action.

    Jason Statham is his cut and dry elite operative self. Clive Owen falls into a similar bucket. There isn't much to fault because they do match with their respective characters. Dominic Purcell and Robert De Niro deliver some good performances. It's safe to say that De Niro is under utilized.

    Killer Elite doesn't exactly bore; however, at the same time it doesn't excite. Watchable.

  • March 19, 2012
    This is a surprisingly solid, entertaining, and well done action film. You'd think I wouldn't have been a been wary of this film given it's cast and subject matter, but I was. Maybe my growing cynicism is to blame.

    Anyways, the plot concerns a retired hit man named Danny Bryce w... read moreho is thrown back into the game after his mentor Hunter is captured due to failing to complete a job. In order to complete the job and save Hunter, Danny has to kill several men for a terminally ill shiek who wants to see that the men who killed three of his sons are likewise killed. To succeed, Danny has to get taped confessions from the targets, make their deaths look like accidents, and do it all before the sheik dies. To complicate matters, all the targets are either curent or former members of the SAS, or British special forces. These men are being looked after by a secret society who likes to protect their own. When the killings start, the society sends out their chief enforcer Spike Logan to figure out what the heck is going on.

    Sound complicated yet? Yes, the plot is rather muddled and all over the place, and sometimes I had no idea what was going on, but I had a good time watching this and managed to actually keep a lot of it in place and figured out. It's supposedly based on true events, though that claim is highly contested.

    What I do know is that this is a sharp, well made action thriller that will please a lot of people. Yeah, it's a "Jason Statham" action movie, but unlike some of his other films, the action here is more restrained, far less ridiculous, and somewhat more realistic. It's also a period piece, so we get to see Europe and other parts of the globe circa the early 80s, and from design perspective, this is awesome. Keeping in line with contemporary style trends though, the film is shot through a cool blue filter, diverting away from the yellows, browns, etc of 70s and 80s action pictures.

    The film is slick, and occasionally the editing is a bit frenzied (as is also the norm nowadays), but the story is intriguing, the action scenes and stunts are well done, and, most surprising of all, there's some actually pretty good performances here. Statham is his usual action badass self, but there's touchs of the erformance he gave in The Bank Job as well. It's great seeing Robert De Niro back into bad ass mode, as it's been a very long time since we've gotten to see him do something awesome again. Clive Owen rocks a mean stache as the enforcer Spike Logan, but for me, the real delight here was Dominic Purcell as Davies- an associate of Danny and Hunter's who helps see that the mission is completed. He rocks some awesome chops and brings some needed comedy to the proceedings, and probably has the most fun role of the film.

    All in all, if you want well done action mixed with a great sense of style, and some decent performances with a good, but could have been better story, then this is the film for you.

Critic Reviews

Andrew O'Hehir
September 25, 2011
Andrew O'Hehir,

I had a reasonably good time, on the whole... Full Review

Richard Roeper
September 23, 2011
Richard Roeper, Richard

Jason Statham cements status as top-level action star. Full Review

Peter Rainer
September 23, 2011
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

De Niro, in what amounts to an extended cameo, is radically miscast. That's still no excuse for his nonperformance, which is beyond lackluster. Full Review

Tom Long
September 23, 2011
Tom Long, Detroit News

Statham is just good enough to make one wish he'd challenge himself. Full Review

Ian Buckwalter
September 23, 2011
Ian Buckwalter, NPR

Jason Statham is enjoyable enough to watch that he can occasionally make one forget just how silly and dull a movie like Killer Elite really is. Full Review

Stephen Whitty
September 23, 2011
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

The movie's not stupid. And that makes it more than bearable and often a little fun. Full Review

James Adams
September 23, 2011
James Adams, Globe and Mail

To be sure, first-time director Gary McKendry keeps things moving at an adrenalized pace, even through thickets of flashbacks. But this is precisely Killer Elite's major problem: motion at the expense... Full Review

Elizabeth Weitzman
September 23, 2011
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

When Robert De Niro, Clive Owen and Jason Statham unite for an action thriller, we should be able to expect something special. Or at least memorable. Instead, "Killer Elite" gives us ordinary. Full Review

Kyle Smith
September 23, 2011
Kyle Smith, New York Post

It doesn't care if you like it, which is why I kind of do. Full Review

Michael O'Sullivan
September 23, 2011
Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post

Simultaneously silly and overwrought... Full Review

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    • Davies: Show me a good looking woman and I'll show you a man that's sick of her shit...
    • Spike: This ends today.
    • Danny Bryce: You and I got a lot in common.
    • Hunter: I gotta cover my expenses.

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Killer Elite Trivia

  • In this globe-trotting thriller, a former special ops tough guy is forced out of retirement when his mentor is kidnapped by a ruthless criminal.  Answer »

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