As steady hands carefully wire a bomb and meticulously set the timer to the eerie sounds of children singing in the background, and as the deadly device explodes, rupturing a building into fragments and splintering the tra... more »nquility of the theatre, the cinematic genius of the OscarÂ(r)-nominated* writer/director of The Wild Bunch comes to startling life. Featuring "a first rate cast"(Los Angeles Times) headed by Academy AwardÂ(r) nominee** James Caan and OscarÂ(r) winner*** Robert Duvall, this sinister action-thriller "aim[s] at the jugular" (Cue) and "rivets you to the screen" (Cosmopolitan)! Elite assassins Mike Locken (Caan) andGeorge Hansen (Duvall) take on jobs too risky for even the CIA to handle. They're best friends, superior marksmen and on the A-list when it comes to killing. But when one high-powered hitman betrays another, the intrigue, the violence and the thrills become more than just a dangerous game of who-kills-whom first...it becomes a very personal war! *1969: Original Story and Screenplay (Sam Peckinpah) **1972: Supporting Actor, The Godfather ***1983: Actor, Tender Mercies« less
"This wretched, utterly boring ninjas-on-the-loose fiasco has all the markings of a lowbudget mid-70's drive-in cheapie--ugly cinematography, incoherent plotting, large body count and comically inept slow motion action set pieces. There are plenty of movies from this era every bit as bad as THE KILLER ELITE but what makes this particular title stand out from the rest of the lowly bunch is that it was directed by Sam Peckinpah, one of America's greatest film artists. Peckinpah had managed to work a great deal of magic out of similarly banal thriller material a few years before in THE GETAWAY, thanks to his trademark rapid fire editing of some furiously violent suspense sequences; that film also benefited from a typically cool performance from the charismatic Steve McQueen. With ELITE, the director clearly didn't care at all and shot everything as quickly and perfunctorily as possible. He appears to have forgotten even his most rudimentary of cinematic skills, clunkily filming everything with a generic, TV-Movie obviousness. Peckinpah isn't helped at all by James Caan and Robert Duvall, two normally fine and powerful actors who, undoubtedly due to their vaguely defined characters, give frankly dull performances that completely fail to draw us into the proceedings. The end result is a film that is easily tied with CONVOY as Peckinpah's most infuriatingly awful effort; its truly sad seeing such a major talent waste himself away on such utterly substandard rubbish. Its a real shame that this film would inexplicably get a proper DVD release while absolute masterpieces like THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE, BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, CROSS OF IRON and PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID continue to languish in the vaults."
Caan and Duval, Uzi's and Ninja's!
Uncle Chino | New Zealand | 12/25/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this movie a long time ago when I was much younger and it immediately became one of my favorites. First the movie was directed by Sam Peckinpah who's style I always liked. Second it stared two really powerful actors of the time in James Caan and Robert Duval. And lastly it had a LOT of action. It is a highly intelligent movie and several steps up from anytthing that you will ever see that has Ninja's in it. The movie revolves around a company of mercenaries that are hired by corporate interest or the government to do certain jobs. The movie story really takes off when two friends are torn apart by betrayal and then the movie becomes a story of revenge and obsession.
I have heard several people review this movie in a bad light when it first came out. But I must say that I enjoyed it back in the early 80's when I first saw it and I have watched it several times over and over since. Each time I still find the movie to be fun and interesting and the acting to be top notch."
"Give me the gun. I'm gonna shoot him anyway."
Uncle Chino | 12/12/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was a good action movie with plenty of bullits and some martial arts mixed in. Caan gave a good performance. Two things kept me from giving this 5 stars. First a scene where Gig Young keeps a nervous Arthur Hill in the office doing paper work is moronic, and second, this movie screamed for a expanded role for a female character. The actress who played Caan's love interest was unattractive and void of talent. When you watch a movie like this you almost have to have some nudity and gratuitous sex to give you a reason to watch it a again and again. Oh well. What did work was the team of Caan, Burt Young, and Bo Hopkins...no one was Rambo but no one was an idiot either."
Boom then Bust
Ashley Allinson | Alliance Atlantis | 03/08/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It was almost unfathomable to me that this film would be a bust but I was indeed disappointed. Having been a connoisseur of Pekinpah cinema for years, I found this DVD, drastically reduced, for sale and thought it was worth a shot. The opening few credits, iconic to Pekinpah fans, has the inter-cutting between man and animal, but here we have non-diegetic ambient noise of children playing in a schoolyard while a bomb is being planted. Fantastic suspense. Then, when the perps, Caan and Duval, travel to their next mission, Duval drops the bomb on Cann that his date last night had an STD, found only by snooping through her purse while Cann was being intimate with her. The ensuing laughter is fantastic, and is clearly paid homage to in Brian Depalma's Dressed to Kill, at the short-lived expense of Angle Dickenson. The problem with The Killer Elite is that after the opening credits, the film falls flat. Even Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia has stronger production value, a bold call for anyone who knows what I'm talking about. I use Pekinpah's credits as supplementary lecture material, but once they are finished, turn The Killer Elite off."
Top top stuff
Ashley Allinson | 07/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first Peckinpah I ever saw -- and it hooked me forever. Makes today's "action" flicks (Con Air, The Rock, The General's Daughter, etc.) look like the overwrought, underfilled plastic fantastics they are.That, and McQueen and Duvall are cooler than you.Plus the fights."