Elite (2016) – By Philip Smolen

 

Investigator Abbey Vaughn (Allison Gregory) has started a new assignment in the state of Texas. She has been ordered by her superiors to find out what happened to an elite team of agents who tried to rescue a fellow agent from the grasp of an elusive drug cartel leader named Reynaldo Benetiz (Larry Garza). Abbey quickly aligns herself with the only surviving member of the team, Lt. Sam Harrigan (Jason Scarbrough). Sam’s has been on administrative leave since the incident, but Abbey convinces him join her team which also includes agent Leonard “Lenny” Gaulke (Shawn Brooks) and cyber hot shot Jazz (Ione Rousseau). Before long, the team receives intel about the location of Benetiz, but before the team can take him down, Abbey and Sam have to learn to trust one another.

“Elite” is a new action film from San Antonio filmmaker Mark Cantu and it is a pure shot of summer adrenaline. Recalling such classic Hollywood action flicks such as “Lethal Weapon” (1987) and “Extreme Prejudice” (1987), Cantu has made a rousing action flick that delivers the goods. “Elite” is slick and satisfying and every bit as good as a major Hollywood action thriller.

This film has a nice balance between action and quieter character development scenes. The screenplay pays a lot of attention to the relationship between Abbey and Sam as they learn to work together. This helps increase the tension during the action scenes whenever Abbey or Sam are in danger.

“Elite” also features some solid performances. Allison Gregory is great as Abbey. Gregory plays Abbey as a woman with a chip on her shoulder and who’s out to prove she’s the right woman for the job. But she realizes that she can’t do her job until she learns the ropes from Sam. Jason Scarbrough’s Sam is the perfect foil for Abbey. He’s the wily veteran who knows when to take down the bad guy and when to just lay back and watch. Scarborough is likeable and devilish and always delivers the perfect comeback line. I also especially loved Shawn Brooks, Ione Rousseau as the other members of the elite team and Chris Quante as Abbey’s dad.

One of my favorites things about the movie are the fight scenes. They have energy and style and you can actually tell what’s going on (unlike so many Hollywood films). Kudos go to fight choreographer Reynaldo Rodriguez who has trained the cast well and has put together exciting and realistic scenes of personal combat.

Mark Cantu’s “Elite” is a crisp and absorbing military thriller. It is also a gripping and exciting action film that features strong direction, a clever script, good performances and stirring action scenes. It is also appropriately named.

 

For more information on “Elite”, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/ELITE-1519403411652923
Elite Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSw6dduvhSk