When it comes to a Hollywood film, the phrase “based on a true” story needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Or maybe a boulder of salt. It isn’t as bad as the wildly vague and incredibly abused “Inspired by a true story” (which can literally encompass just about anything if you think about it—a shootout at a wedding can be “inspired” by just being invited to a wedding, a plane hijacking could be “inspired” by just flying, etc., etc.), but with The Killer Elite, the line between fact and fiction is blurry, to say the least.
Based on the 1991 book The Feather Men by Sir Ranulph Finnes, The Killer Elite is a supposedly based on an incident where a hit squad called “The Clinic” targeted members of the British SAS, until the vigilante group called “The Feather Men” came to their defense. When the book came out, Finnes released documentation supporting the truth of it, but as criticism and skepticism grew, he eventually backed off a bit and said that there were elements of fiction involved.
Regardless, the film is directed by Gary McKendry and stars Jason Statham, Robert De Niro and Clive Owen. It hits theaters on September 23.