First Hit: Some action between long bouts of boredom based on a poorly written script.
Not all films based on a true story play well on screen or are interesting. I would have like to think this one would have been good if the story had been told well.
The actors are all good actors. Jason Statham (here as Danny - perfect name as the all-around good guy) and Clive Owen (here as Spike – good name for the party spoiler) both are proven and capable of being great action actors. With Statham being one of the more capable physical action actors right now. His soft voice, intense look and great coordination keep him on the forefront of action films.
Owen is very capable as a physical action actor but his overriding hook is his intelligence and commanding voice. In this film his intelligent nature was left on the back porch leaving him to come off as out of character with both himself and the story.
Robert De Niro (here as Hunter – perfect name for older assassin) has a history of being very good as a dramatic actor and good enough as an action hero. Here he plays the older wiser assassin who has wife and kids he cares about.
Unfortunately we only hear about his family at the end of the film, why? I don’t know. It seemed to be thrown in to make a point but it was lost on me. Early on in the film, Danny decides to get out of the killing business because he almost kills a young girl in a hit he is doing with Hunter. Then he gets drawn back in to save his friend Hunter from being killed by a powerful Arab, but to do so he must kill three people.
This is where Spike comes in because he doesn’t want these killings to happen. Poor plot construction, and at times very poor execution. I dislike the experience of sitting in a film wondering how much longer it will be until it is over. This was one of those films.
Statham is solid but his character isn’t quite fleshed out and there is nothing to know why he took the job of assassin. De Niro is really a bit old for parts like this even though he is supposed to be the role of wisdom. I don’t think it was wise for him to take this part. Owen came off as more blindly stupid (yes, his character took a bullet in one eye) in this role than he can actually muster. He’s naturally an intelligent person and playing stupid is not up his alley. Gary McKendry wrote this poorly constructed script from a novel by Ranulph Fiennes which is supposed to be based on some truth. Gary McKendry directed this and it failed to be a cohesive smart action film.
Overall: Barely worth watching on DVD some lazy Sunday evening after a long baseball game.