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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Killer Elite

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Jason Statham stars in a scene from the movie "Killer Elite."

NEW YORK (CNS) -- There's no greater disillusionment, according to "Killer Elite" (Open Road), than to think you're on the side of right in this world, only to find out you've been battling over cheap oil.

That clumsy moral alone might be enough to make this a thoughtful film, but instead it's a disjointed espionage thriller, directed by Gary McKendry and co-written by McKendry and Matt Sherring, about rival assassination teams embroiled in thoughtless deaths, hackneyed dialogue and a mind-numbing assortment of car chases.

Set in the early 1980s, which means no Internet, no cellphones and a dying Arab sheik protecting oil and power instead of Islamic terrorists out to destroy the West, "Killer Elite" is based on Ranulph Fiennes' novel "The Feather Men," which, to make things more murky, is billed as "based on a true story."

Jason Statham plays Danny, a retired member of Britain's elite Special Air Service, who decided to quit and retire to an idyllic Australian ranch after a targeted killing in Mexico went wrong and was witnessed by the child of one of the targets. He gets pulled back in when an oil-rich Omani sheik, seeking to avenge the deaths of three of his sons, kidnaps Danny's former partner Hunter (Robert De Niro) and keeps him hostage until Danny assembles another team, commits three killings and delivers video proof.

Easy enough, but now an SAS team headed by Spike (Clive Owen) is on Danny's tail, and being manipulated by a shadowy group of retired British spies who call themselves "The Feather Men" because of their famously light touch in international intrigue.

Spike is supposed to dispatch Danny, but will he? And who's really on the side of the angels here? The audience is left to its own judgment as to whether to draw a parallel to recent world events.

The film contains pervasive gun and physical violence, pervasive rough and crude language and fleeting profanity. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.





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Augustine of Canterbury: In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September 3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless. 
<p>Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester. </p><p>Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors </p><p>Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”</p> American Catholic Blog A hero isn’t someone born with unconquerable strength and selflessness. Heroes are not formed in a cataclysmic instant. Heroism is developed over time, one decision after another, moment by moment, formed by a deliberate, chosen, and habitual response to life.

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