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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The Elite (2000)

The Elite (2000)

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Released 3-Dec-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Soulkeeper; New Best Friend; Dirty Deeds
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 99:19
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Terry Cunningham

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jurgen Prochnow
Maxine Bahns
Robin Givens
Steven Williams
Jason Lewis
Joel West
Keith Brewer
Derek Brewer
Michael Hagerty
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Sean Murray

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

 "Five perfect soldiers. One lethal adversary. No second chances."

    Badly written and directed by Terry Cunningham, The Elite appears to be one of those Euro-collaborations, where some low-rent American "stars" are flown in to add some mainstream appeal to a low-budget film that might not otherwise see the light of day.

    The story centres on the adventures of a group of youngsters, whose parents were all high-powered business leaders, murdered on Flight 770 out of Japan by a group of terrorists. This requires an unbelievably contrived plot device. The children were actually on the plane with their parents during the terrorist attack. The only survivors of a plane that is clearly shown to break into a gazillion pieces as it hits the ocean are five kids. No parents, no aircrew, no pets....just five kids. They are raised by the US government and taught to kill with their bare hands, disarm bombs and become an elite anti-terrorist team. I wonder if the Department of Social Services was aware of this? Thanks to their slightly twisted upbringing, the famous five turn out to be pretty violent little units, without a grain of remorse for their ever-growing body count. If only the government had realised that they would all grow up to look like supermodels, how different their lives might have been! The Elite could instead have been about a crack team of supermodels, set to free the world from flares, nylon underpants, corduroy and mascara that clumps.

    The main tale begins with the theft of some US weapons from a military base at the hands of the pock-marked, occasionally unintelligible terrorist madman Avi (Jurgen Prochnow). Next, he uses Tanner Gold (Michael Hagerty), creator of the new computer game "Fleet Command", to steal a battleship and secures a bunch of the fattest, greasiest, dumbest henchmen money can buy. He is intent on arming the ship with his stolen missiles, sailing it to the world Comdex exhibition in Athens and bombing it. Why? Well, apparently terrorists need to advertise and he reasons that this will get more coverage than an ad during the Superbowl.

    Thankfully, here to save the world - well, Comdex at least - are Lena (Maxine Bahns), Jason (Jason Lewis), Joel (Joel West) and twins Keith and Derek (Keith and Derek Brewer). They are assisted by bad-girl Robin Givens as Ashe and good-guy Steven Williams as Colonel McKay. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Incredibly, it transpires that the baddies are the very same ones that killed their parents - who would have believed it possible? Unfortunately, whilst they may save Comdex from a dire fate, saving this dire film is beyond their "Zoolander-esque" abilities.

    The script is weak, which does not help the young leads - some of whom (Bahns and Lewis in particular) do seem capable of better things. The lines are frequently cheesy and are not usually improved by Prochnow's consistently hammy delivery.

    The direction is poor. Supporting actors frequently stand around like cattle in an abattoir waiting for the captive bolt. One scene whilst the ship is being invaded has alarms ringing and sailors running hither and thither...except for one sailor who continues slicing his baguette until a baddy saunters up and he passively walks off to captivity. It brought to mind the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where Sir Launcelot runs up and impales one of the gate guards whilst the other watches benignly before responding with a lacklustre "Hey!". The portrayal of the US Navy seamen is pathetic, with dumbfounded extras mincing about wordlessly in the most outrageously camp naval uniforms I have ever seen.

    There are occasional gaffes in the action sequences which can be quite fun to spot. In the initial car-chase scenes, the baddies' getaway Lada can be clearly seen rolling down a cliff, completely sans engine. In the final fight scenes on the ship, Lena is punched in the face at 88:18 and begins to bleed from the left hand side of her mouth. Six seconds later the blood has mysteriously moved to the right hand side.

    The Elite is a risible attempt at an action movie. There are some unintentional laugh-out-loud moments in the film - particularly the many hand-to-hand combat and shipboard battle scenes. These are very reminiscent of Batman the television series. The main young characters are likable enough and I think they could perform much better with more substantial material. There is the making of a teenagers' television series here but as an action movie, this is worth a rental for the comedy value only.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The overall video transfer of this disc is pretty good.

    The film is presented in a full screen ratio of 1.33:1 which I assume is its original aspect ratio. It is therefore not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is reasonably sharp with some noticeable grain and loss of detail in the occasional aerial shots of Washington. Most of the film is shot in brightly lit conditions, but where appropriate shadow detail is acceptable and blacks are solid with no low-level noise evident.

    Colours are very natural throughout, with no evidence of colour bleeding. Skin tones are fine.

    The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts, however film-to-video artefacts crop up frequently with mild but noticeable aliasing throughout, for example on cars at 22:39, on the ship at 35:33 and on the building at 76:11. I found this to be mildly distracting on occasion. Moire effects are seen several times on the video monitors used during the film. Edge enhancement was not noticed.

    The transfer is pretty free from significant film artefacts, with minor white specks cropping up intermittently, but always briefly.

    There are no subtitle tracks available.

    This is a single-sided, single-layered DVD 5 disc and there is therefore no layer change present.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The overall audio quality of this disc is not bad with no major defects.

    The only audio track available is Dolby Digital 2.0 in English, recorded at 320 kbps. Played loud enough it generates some excitement.

    Dialogue was clear, except for the occasional mumbled line from Prochnow, and audio synch was never a problem.

    The original music is credited to Sean Murray, and it is a professional job. The score fits the feel of the movie well with appropriate military overtones and suitably pumping dynamic sounds for the action scenes.

    The soundstage is not bad. Whilst it is mainly frontal during quieter scenes, the surround channels are used to support the music and provide some depth to the special effects.

    Being a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, there is no specific LFE activity from the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are minimal extras on this disc.


    The menu is a silent photograph of the DVD cover allowing the selection of trailers or one of fifteen chapter stops in the movie.


    There are several trailers on the disc, all with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at 320 kbps:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This DVD does not appear to be available in Region 1.


    The Elite is a B-Grade action movie. The action scenes are frequently laughable and the basic premise is flawed. Some of the young lead actors give a reasonable performance despite a cheesy script and truly awful acting from the extras. Watch it if you want to have a laugh, but if you want some full-on action try The Transporter instead.

    The video quality is quite good.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    There are no significant extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationONKYO TX-DS484
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE