One can always rely on a Jason Statham film to deliver an entertaining 90 minutes or so of the action and violence we’ve come to expect from a man who once represented England at diving in the Commonwealth Games! This particular one originally sparked my interest a few years ago when I was doing research for the ‘On Screen #8‘ which was all about movies and TV shows set in the Arabian Peninsula. ‘Killer Elite‘ (2011) was partly set in Oman with the likes of Marrakech, Dubai, Jordan and Victoria in Australia all filling in for the Middle-Eastern country in some way. CGI was also presumably used to blend things together.
The Australian locale for some Oman scenes was the wonderfully named You Yangs which are granite ridges on the Werribee Plain about 60 kilometres south-west of Melbourne. Despite only being 319 metres at their highest, they are clearly visible from afar and indeed dominate the landscape as I discovered back in March when critically acclaimed dark fiction writer Mark and I went hiking there one day. I knew beforehand that it was highly unlikely there would be any obvious match-up shots……and I was proved right! Here are four shots (below) which, as you can see, don’t look anything like the screenshots at the top of this post! No doubt it was on ground level where filming took place.
The majority of what was filmed in Victoria was faked but one place which did actually play itself was the Yarra Valley (below) where Statham’s character Danny takes refuge in retirement from the assassination game with his girlfriend Anne before the Oman job comes along. He goes to “Oman” to rescue his mentor Hunter (Robert De Niro) who is being held captive there. Danny is also introduced to Sheikh Amr, a deposed king of a small region of Oman who wants Danny to kill three former SAS troopers for killing his three eldest sons during the Dhofar Rebellion.
This film is based on the 1991 novel ‘The Feather Men’ by Sir Ranulph Fiennes and is set in 1980 with Statham in his typecast hard-man role as a mercenary. I’m not quite sure about this but I think the hospital in “England” is the Royal Women’s Hospital in Parkville (below) which features on 43 minutes as the head enforcer of the Feather Men (a secret society of former SAS operatives), Spike Logan (Clive Owen) pursues Danny by car.
A little further east is the Carlton area which appears briefly on 62 minutes. One of the three people Sheikh Amr wants killed is former SAS trooper Simon McCann. His house on Cardigan Street is under surveillance.
The tanker truck incident which follows was filmed on Dynon Road in the West Melbourne district which is just a few kilometres north-west of the CBD.
If you’ve been disappointed by the locales featured thus far then hopefully the final location here will appease you! The French train station seen on 98 minutes is Parliament Station (below) on the City Loop with a bit of set-dressing. Robert De Niro’s character Hunter is the main man in these scenes as he first beats up a henchman and then shoots the Agent (who had kidnapped Anne for ransom) in the leg on the platform.
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