The Mechanic Reviews
A contemporary reworking of Michael Winner's 1972 slow-burning vehicle of the same name, Statham is a natural successor to Charles Bronson's inscrutable screen persona. But as expected Statham's agent is turning his perma-frown client into a franchise driven euro trash muscle machine churning out more movies than plots.
In an attention seeking opening sequence set in drug lord capital of the world Columbia, we meet Arthur Bishop (Statham) aka The Mechanic. An elite assassin with a unique flair for killing in a manner that looks like a natural death, Bishop's mantra is the best job is when no-one knows you were even there; deliberately orchestrating murder to never leave evidence or loose ends or the need to look for them.
After cleanly eliminating his target through a very interesting sequence of underwater antics, Bishop returns home to his secluded, lonesome yet overtly elegant New Orleans bayou swanky pad. After his post-killing rituals of classical music and OCD driven burning of the planning materials, Bishop enjoys his isolated but lucrative life through his vintage muscle car and paid nights with the local talent (apparently if you over pay its not prostitution).
In the world where men in hush-hush organisations murmur murderous instructions into untraceable cell phones, eventually you're going to get a questionable hit. Contracted by one of the agency partners Dean (Tony Golwdwyn) to eliminate a traitor, his wheel-chair bound mentor Harry McKenna (Played by the classy and far too talented Donald Sutherland) Bishop faces a tough decision.
'Helping' McKenna circumnavigate his own security to aid in a flawless murder, Bishop is cold in their exchange, the body language and heartfelt words shared are emotionally detached to the obvious bond.
In an act of penance, Bishop agrees to take McKenna's estranged son on as a killing protégé. Attempting to teach the impulsive young troublemaker Steve (Ben Foster) that trying to find his father's killer is futile and revenge is an emotion that can get you killed, Bishop welcomes him into his home and tries to teach Steve the theory, practice and tricks of the trade.
However, Steve's track record as a chaotic screw up with immaturity issues and substance abuse throws a spanner in the suave Bishop's perfect works. Failing miserably at his first clean solo hit; to lure and kill a rival Mechanic with a fondness for Chihuahuas and young boys, Steve is broken by the giant to within an inch of his life.
Still trying to salvage his reputation, the two start pursuing the ultimate mark and Bishops last hit, however as deception threatens to surface, those hired to fix problems become the problem and this union of force begins to implode.
With the predictable scattershot close-ups that simulate excitement through cinematic dismemberment and the usual hash of preposterous action sequences themes of loyalty, betrayal and revenge is what keeps the story bouncing from one huge stunt to the next violent sequence.
Attempting to add texture, little hints of depth are woven in, for instance the old fashioned turntable that plays a big role in the climax and the cleaver explanation of plotting by medical knowledge to ensure naturalness of death. A nice addition until the groundwork disintegrates.
The Verdict: More driven than Transporter but less caustic than Crank, Statham has once again landed himself an action franchise in the making. The simplest explanation it's a boys' movie with a big bang finish.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 08/04/2011
I recommend this movie to fans of action genre movie or Jason Statham. From movie ?The Expendables? we can see how good Jason Statham is at action movies. However, I don?t recommend parents took their kid with them while they were watching this movie. Because there are some violence and it?s not good for children.
While the original 1972 The Mechanic was a slow moving action thriller, the standards for action films have changed in the decades since. As the intro scene dictates, The Mechanic is hardly a remake which intends to directly follow the original. It maintains most of the same basic premise and plot structure, but plot points are updated to be more appropriately contemporary. A good example of the contrast would be that in the original film there was a 16 minute intro with no dialogue as Arthur Bishop prepared to kill his first target. In the remake there is one scene where he assists his friend Harry McKenna before killing the man, and the scene is structured with a sensible pace and some steady quick cuts as he Arthur Bishop narrates the instructions. This scene is done very well, and it may lack the slow burning silent melodrama of the original but it works appropriately. Frankly, the different approach that this contempoarary adaptation takes to The Mechanic left me forgetting that it was a remake and had me feeling hat it worked well as an action film on its own terms. Iâ??ll admit that it was a rather familiar film with little in the way of originality, but the fact of the matter is that The Mechanic functions as a competently made action film and a larger scale version of the story than its original. Though the two films come from different decades, they both function on a level which succeeds based on the standard for contemporary action films. And in all honesty, I enjoyed this one more. Itâ??s partially because of Jason Stathamâ??s charisma, but more so because the scale of the filmis more impressive and Simon West is more tenacious in handling the action.
The action in The Mechanic is impressive. Balancing a series of tactical assassinations with straight up brawls, The Mechanic has a fairly versatile collection of action scenes which are all staged confidently and filmed with expertise. Simon Westâ??s clear eye for imagery ensures that the action is creative enough and edited timely with a powerful array of stunts and heavily mediated touch of visual effects. The action doesnâ??t pick up for a while in the film which means there is a bit of waiting around to do, but when it finally takes off the true level of techincal expertise in crafting the film is hard to turn a blind eye to.
The screenplay even surprised me because though the action was a valid distraction for the mostly predictable story, the characters were actually interesting. The dialogue that goes on is mostly generic language, but the script makes a genuine effort to to add a touch of restrained character drama to the narrative in the manner that it characterizes Arthur Bishop and later Steve McKenna. Both characters are given an even perspective on events because when the story settles there is a balanced focus on each character which leaves the viewer in a place of questioning who to call a hero or a villain. This manages to add an unpredictable twist to the film. And though it is rather understated and restrained within the generic plot device of The Mechanic, it is more than Iâ??ve come to expect from the average action film which really establishes that The Mechanic is above average in selective areas and therefore of greater entertainment value than I originally expected. The relationship between Arthur Bishop and Steve McKenna doesnâ??t have the same level of focus that the original had because the remake is more spectacle-oriented, but it is great to see Jason Statham paired up with someone this time because he works well alongisde Ben Foster. And in all honesty, the two of them were given better characters than I expected.
Jason Statham is predictably solid in The Mechanic. His performance is actually above average because the character he plays is unpredictable, effectively allowing him to establish tension by using his naturally agressive persona to a different level of effect this time. Of course he is a merciless killer once again, but the inner emotional turmoil of the character elevates him beyond what could have easily been another generic action hero as he is hardly a hero this time around. He is very intimidating, and Jason Statham manages to work this very well without going through the motions. But even then, the character Jason Statham plays is less important than his role as an action hero. And of course, Jason Statham kicks plenty of ass doing his own stunts, fight scenes and grasping all the weaponry that comes to him. Jason Statham manages to deliver a powerhouse performance in The Mechanic which transcends the narrative predictablity and gives the film more of an edge than his average vehicle.
Ben Foster also delivers a strong performance. He captures an effective sense of directionless melancholy for the role before gradually developing into a more cold-blooded killer as the story matches him up with Jason Statham. His development in the role is strong, and when the time comes for him to be an action hero he easily steps up to the plate and kicks plenty of ass in the process. Ben Foster manages to make his character somewhat sympathetic while delivering a solid sense of grit to the part, effectively earning his status of working alongiside Jason Statham for more than just action value.
Donald Sutherland also delivers a welcome supporting performance.
So though The Mechanic adheres to plot conventions pretty consistently, Simon Westâ??s ability to handle powerful action scenes and even add a sense of character to the story ensures that action junkies receive both exhilerating entertainment and a powerful pair of performances from Jason Statham and Ben Foster.