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Simon’s Rating: 6/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.5/10
(2 reviews total)
Remakes (loose or direct) are never inherently bad simply because they belong to that classification, but usually the updated product is simply lazy and bland. Said lack of inspiration obviously has direct links to the fact the new product is based upon past material, but a premise is a premise, not a movie, and if handled correctly a remake can be as original as the filmmaker’s agile mind desires.
The Mechanic, a relook (let’s call it) at the 1972 Charles Bronson hitman thriller, falls squarely in the middle of proverbial road. The stars do their jobs with aplomb, there are some crisp one-liners, and the blood flows freely. Jason Statham has proven himself an infinitely reliable action staple, and even though his steadily moderate box office receipts have not yet given him the chance to play with the big boys, he is one of the closest things we have to a bonafide action hero these days.
When the bullets fly in The Mechanic, the movie is fantastic. Sadly, though, it seems director Simon West (Con Air, Laura Croft: Tomb Raiser) could have used a bigger clip. The down times breaching the action scenes are just that, down times, and though Statham and his co-star Ben Foster’s collective burning gaze and discussions on morality and death inch us along to palatable effect, I wanted more bang-bang and less yack-yack.
There are three main raucous, gory set pieces initiated by hit men (or “Mechanics” if you will) Arthur Bishop (Statham) and Steve McKenna (Foster) and they deliver on everything you could want from a mindless action romp. The first is during McKenna’s first solo hit, which is reminiscent of James Bond’s inaugural job in Casino Royale or Kick-Ass’s premiere attempt to right some wrongs which, collectively go far from smoothly. The second is a team convert assassination turned lead-laden smack-down in a high rise and finally we have the inevitable final confrontation against the forces to be. These sequences are why you would see The Mechanic.
McKenna is the son of Bishop’s former boss (and company head played by Donald Sutherland) which the latter had the unpleasant task of dispatching on direct orders for suspicion of betrayal. He takes the troubled young man under his guidance, partly out of loneliness as demanded by his profession and partly out of guilt, all the while a more complex conspiracy unfurls. As I previously iterated, both leads are very solid, I would say especially Foster who is one of those interesting character actors incapable of putting forth a dull effort.
The more complex underlinings of the story seem to beg for a more cerebral punch (a la The American), but the jarring cuts from assassinations to exposition left me literally confused, an experience I do not find myself a part of at the movies much anymore. After gradually getting up to speed as the conclusion rolled around you begin to see the inevitable fate of certain characters — or so I thought. The entire climatic act seemed reversed, as if pages of the script had been placed in the wrong order and the preceding acts and story arcs suffered as a result of the botched wrap-up.
The Mechanic is your average Jason Statham movie (take that comment any way you like), better than War and a number of the “Transporter” films though still a far cry from his wildly enjoyable debuts and journeys back to British cinema. As for hitmen films, this entry in the genre could have benefited from a few new parts, but is certainly not in desperate need of a full overhaul.
Directed by: Simon West
Written by: Richard Wenk
Starring; Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Tony Goodwin
Other Player Affinity Reviews
Dinah thought: “Forget this is a remake of a Charles Bronson film and walk into the theater with a fresh open mind. Okay, now you can enjoy this movie for the p ure all-brawn-and-no-brains action flick that it is. Jason Statham is back doing what he does best and Ben Foster is right beside him adding true acting talent to the stage.The chemistry between the two was a bit dull considering the angle the film could have taken, but each man is strong in his own part. Or, to put it frankly, the entertainment factor is strong while the dramatic content is weak. Just like a romantic comedy, stupid action movies are not every person’s cup of tea. There is no way The Mechanic will ever land on a top ten best list, but it is a decent popcorn movie. Rating 5/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.5/10