By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Violence prevails in exciting but uneven action movie.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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 & Scariness
Very strong violence based around killing, assassinations, and revenge. Lots of guns and shootings, stabbings, fighting, gory dead bodies, blood, and explosions.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Minor characters drink beer in a pub; others are seen smoking cigarettes.
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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.
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Based on 2 parent reviews
loved it :)
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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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- In theaters: September 23, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: 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
- Last updated: February 25, 2023
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