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Review The Killer Elite (1975): The one time I thought Ninja's weren't cool!

genre: action, thriller, comedy

The Killer Elite is a rather odd film. Especially when you find out that none other than Sam Peckinpah was the director. At least from him you would expect fireworks when it comes to action. and overall experience. For the most part he simply doesn't deliver except for the ending which shows the real Peckinpah for about 2 minutes or so. Now since this is more of a spy movie I did not mind it had not that much action. Only watching James Caan's character recover from his injuries after being shot by his partner Robert Duvall for more than a hour is not in the least bit interesting. If the goal had been to show us the pain he had to go through which ended in taking revenge then it would have made sense. But after his recovery he doesn't really feel like it which is rather strange since during the recovery he couldn't wait to get back into action. Another thing that was strange was that one of the methods to his recovery was learning some form of martial arts. Here it seems like he respects and understands it. Later in the movie he constantly is making fun of it. Not to mention the Ninja's that are included. Yes, you read it. Ninja's. Not the cool ones either. They were more caricatures to the point they were not threatening at all. The Killer Elite is constantly shifting between serious and comedy (without letting the audience know it is comedy). Which gives it a bizarre result. Especially since the movie did start as a thriller and ends up as a farce. It was like none of the persons involved cared for what they were making at all. I have read some raving reviews but I don't understand that at all. Apart from some nice interactions between Caan and the other characters there is nothing worthwile. Unless you enjoy being toyed with by the director. Give this one a miss. Special Note: The newer title with Jason Statham and Clive Owen has absolutely nothing to do with this production. That one I can recommend BTW.

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