THERE’S a moment here, about 90 minutes in, when Jason Statham’s character’s girlfriend sighs: “When will this be over?”
Her words may well elicit a wry smile from the audience, having to endure what is little more than another vanity project for Statham, with Clive Owen and Robert De Niro mistakenly along for the ride.
Based on a highly controversial non-fiction book by, bizarrely, the explorer and former SAS man Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the film tells the story of a secret society of ex-SAS officers sworn to protect fellow soldiers past and present.
Statham plays reluctant hit man Danny who is pulled back into the game from his ranch in Australia when his mentor Hunter (De Niro) is taken hostage.
His captor is a renegade oil sheikh, who held Hunter when he refused to take on the $6m mission of avenging the deaths of his three sons, by assassinating the SAS soldiers who killed them during the secret Oman war.
Danny fails to spring Hunter from his cell and finds he’s been set up to take on the hits after all.
He recruits his old team, unaware they’re on the radar of a shadowy group of suits known as the Feather Men.
So follows a string of set-piece chases and fight scenes, interspersed with Danny’s flashbacks life in Australia.