Though I mostly stay within my wicked wheelhouse of terror tales (horror biz for life yo), I do dig on other exploitation genres as well; kung-fu flicks, sci-fi yarns, fantasy pictures…I love ’em all, and a good action film falls right in there. Well as the fickle (middle) finger of fate would have it, I just so happen to have a new action spectacle to lay my putrid peepers upon in the form of a lil’ number titled Elite…now let’s just hope it matches up with that “good” criteria mentioned previous…hell, I’ll settle for “okay with a heavy smattering of explosions and mayhaps a boob or two.”
Elite tells the tale of the fallout from a Special Forces mission that went tits up thanks to the interference of a sleazy cat by the name of a Benitez; a drug lord most foul. Well, this epic fail doesn’t go unnoticed and it’s up to crackerjack Naval Investigator Abbey Vaughn to find ol’ Big B (who may be a bit more than he appears) and bring him to justice. How does she propose to do that? Well by enlisting the help of booze soaked trailer trash Sam Harrigan, who just so happened to be the team leader on that doomed mission. What could go wrong?
Elite is…well, it’s low budget, that’s what it is. Battles are staged in what looks like large backyards (when they aren’t confined to warehouses), the acting is pretty damn dodgy at times, and the action set pieces are kept to a minimum. That being said, there is a compelling story being told here, with characters you can actually give a damn about, and it’s obvious the film makers had their hearts in the right place, even if the budget didn’t quite amount to what it took to make this picture what it seemed to want to be (i.e. a Michael Mann style action/drama hybrid). Oh, and explosions and boobs are seriously lacking here (man, where is Cannon Films when you need them?)
So that’s the flick, but what of the extras? Well you get an engaging commentary by Writer/Director Mark Cantu, Co-Writer/Actor Jason Scarbrough, and Actress Allison Gregory that details what it took to bring this flick to the screen…good stuff for anyone trying to make their own budget genre picture. And it’s a good thing that the commentary is interesting, because that’s all you get with this one folks.
Elite is a mixed bag; it’s light on action and finances, but the story and characters are entertaining enough. It’s hard to give this one a full on recommendation, but it does have it’s merits. If you are interested in how to make a mini-epic on a small budget, give it a watch and check out the commentary, if you are looking for over-the-top thrills and spills…well, keep on walking.