Killer Elite

  • Review Date: September 23, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Violence prevails in exciting but uneven action movie.
  • Review Date: September 23, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters attempt to do the right thing, but circumstances prevent them from succeeding. Revenge is a powerful motivator for the main character.

Positive role models

The main character has some morals, even though he's an assassin; he decides to quit after his actions endanger a kid, but revenge later forces him back into the business. He seems to regret killing and tries not to whenever possible, but when it's time for action, he jumps right in.

Violence

Very strong violence based around killing, assassinations, and revenge. Lots of guns and shootings, stabbings, fighting, gory dead bodies, blood, and explosions.

Sex

A gangster's girlfriend is seen topless. A supporting character hires a prostitute for sex, though nothing is shown. Sex noises are heard off screen. The main character is seen flirting, as well as kissing a woman he's romantically involved with.

Language

Language is very strong but not constant. Words include "f--k," "s--t," "a--holes," "balls," "goddamn," "son of a bitch," "oh my God" (as an exclamation), "prick," "d--k," "bugger," "hell," "damn," "bollocks," and "schtupping."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Minor characters drink beer in a pub; others are seen smoking cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book-based action/thriller/drama about an assassin who tries to quit the business but is drawn back in has lots of strong violence, including blood, dead bodies, guns and shootings, stabbings, and explosions. There's also a shot of a topless woman, as well as some sexual innuendo, kissing, and flirting. Language is strong and includes both "f--k" and "s--t," and minor characters drink and smoke in a background way.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Danny (Jason Statham) and Hunter (Robert De Niro) are professional assassins. While working on a new mission, Danny is stunned when a kid turns up in the line of fire and decides to quit the business for good. But then he receives word that Hunter has been kidnapped, and he must accept a job -- killing three British SAS agents who murdered the sons of an exiled oil sheik -- in exchange for the older man's release. Danny reluctantly takes the assignment, but unfortunately, an ex-SAS man, Spike (Clive Owen) -- who's part of a secret organization called the "Feather Men" -- is hot on Danny's trail. Worse, Danny's new girlfriend, Anne (Yvonne Strahovski), is now in danger, too. Can Danny get out of this fix alive?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Directed by Gary McKendry, KILLER ELITE has enough good scenes to satisfy action fans, as well as those looking for a bit more depth -- but as a cohesive whole, it's rather mixed. The action stuff is pitched to the lowest common denominator, using reckless, ramshackle shaky-cam to document the painstaking choreography. Meanwhile, the drama sometimes doesn't make sense; both Hunter and Spike's characters seem haphazardly thrown in, and it sometimes feels like extra scenes were written and added in at the last second to accommodate their star power.

 
Part of the time, it seems as if the movie (which is based on a book by the adventurer Ranulph Fiennes) is interested in getting audiences to think about the world's pathological dependence on oil and the extreme measures nations will take to get their hands on it. But at other times, the movie asks audiences not to think at all and just enjoy the ride. It's an uneven mix, though it still delivers in fits and starts.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. What impact does killing for a living have on the main character? Are his decisions believable?

  • How does the movie present revenge? Is it a valid reason to pursue violence? Do the ends ever justify the means?

  • The story is presented as being based on actual events, though there's some speculation about whether that's the case. Why might filmmakers want audiences to think it was based on a true story? Why might some facts be changed?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 23, 2011
DVD release date:January 10, 2012
Cast:Clive Owen, Jason Statham, Robert De Niro
Director:Gary McKendry
Studio:Open Road Films
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violence, language and some sexuality/nudity

This review of Killer Elite was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bydarthsitkur December 21, 2012
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

loved it :)

tons of intense crazy action, this is a badass movie :)
Teen, 14 years old Written byStevie111 March 3, 2012
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

It's okay, not bad for teense

Not very mature in content, but may get lost on pre-teens. Sexual content is mild, some nudity.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byDavid P February 11, 2012
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Just another disapointing action movie

"C"       There's nothing particularly bad about Killer Elite, the problem is that there isn't anything especially good about it either. Whether its truly based on a true story or not, it seems like a boring, recycled, formula plot with cliches and bland precooked dialogue around every corner. Danny: " I'm done with killing." Agent: " Maybe killing isn't done with you." It's this king of exchange that makes the film seem like it's just a bunch of pieces of other, better films smashed together into one big movie designed only to make a profit at the box office. Yet, despite it's flaws, Killer Elite Isn't a horrible film. It's actors bring some freshness to the somewhat stale movie and the chemistry between De Niro and Statham is undeniable. General impression: Killer Elite is a so so movie that has some enjoyable characters and good potential, but set it's aims to low.

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