KILLER ELITE Not pictured: Clive Owen's moustache. :(

KILLER ELITE claims to be "based on a true story." You've never seen the word "based" slapped around in such a brutal manner, but this is not to say that a weak grasp on reality is a bad thing. We're talking about a movie featuring Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Clive Owen's moustache, after all. Statham plays... oh, hell, he basically plays a variation of his badass Statham self, this time as a retired assassin. Robert De Niro takes the damsel-in-distress role as Statham's mentor who is taken hostage by an eeeeeevil man who forces Statham back into the killing game.

For a while, the movie zings along on well-trod ground, as Statham assembles a team and starts hitting targets. What he doesn't know is that his targets are part of a secret society of ex-secret agents, which is where Owen comes in. Killer Elite is structured oddly, with an exhilarating series of action sequences followed by a talky, less-interesting bit—this would be the "true story" part—and generic action-movie relationship scenes. This is not the operatic Owen-vs.-Statham-vs.-Owen's-moustache action thriller you've been waiting for, unfortunately—reality gets in the way—but it passes the time in an agreeable enough way.