Thursday, November 10, 2011

De Niro kidnapped by Omani Sheikh from Salalah in movie plot

The film Killer Elite was released earlier this year. The film revolves around the storyline that an Omani Sheikh kidnaps De Niro's character and holds him in an underground "bunker" in Salalah to force the character of Jason Statham into killing three former SAS soldiers to avenge the death of the Shiekh's sons during the Dhofari uprising. The movie is well-made with good actors but somehow missed the mark in thrill factor and received mixed reviews.

Actors De Niro and Statham in supposed Omani landscape
      The highlight of the movie for me is that the plot revolves around Oman. Even though the the story takes place partly in Oman, none of the film was shot in Oman. The film was filmed mostly in Australia, “To our knowledge this is the first time Melbourne has doubled for Oman, but Victoria’s locations are so diverse that the state has doubled for many locations over the years....," commented the CEO of Victoria Film. And, sometimes filmed with an Australian foreground but Morrocan background edited together, "Some of the scenes were shot with foregrounds in Australia and backgrounds in Morocco, so it was like a magic stunt, keeping the hands moving and keeping the story and pace moving..," Director, Gary Mckendry (

    This is where Oman misses the mark by not inviting the crew to film in Oman or by not sending Omani "consultants" to the set because where could Oman ever get such great publicity for its tourism "projects" and country. Jason Statham's brawn speeding through breathtaking Omani wadi cliffs combined with De Niro's notoriety featured  in a Hollywood movie shown to thousands of people. Instead, Oman is pictured as a backward country filmed with a Moroccan background and with an Omani flag or two thrown in. Honestly, the movie does not represent the Omani people or Oman's natural beauty well or realistically. The movie is based on a book, "Feather Men" by Sir Ranulph Fiennes which in turn is allegedly based upon a true story.

Character of Shiekh Amr in Killer Elite
     In the movie, the Shiekh's son is indifferent and does not show remorse when is father is killed and states, "I'm not going back to the desert," nor does he wear a dishdasha or any other traditional Arab robe throughout the movie. Also, many Dhofari people speak the local language Jeballi at home not Arabic. To Omani peoples credit, the Omani culture compounded with religious undertones calls for extreme respect for one's parents. Some people actually fear their fathers. It is highly unlikely an Omani person would publicly act so indifferently upon a parent's death. In addition, I have never heard any Omani say anything  remotely close to, "I'm not going back to the desert." Oman has a lot more to offer and achieved more than pictured (in fact, Oman is literally not pictured at all in this film).

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