Remakes are a dime-a-dozen these days, and perhaps I should have re-watched the Charles Bronson 1972 original to director Simon West’s (Con Air) 2011 re-issue of “The Mechanic” with Jason Statham. Let’s be honest, “The Mechanic” is a by-the-numbers approach to action movies. There really is nothing imaginative to the film and it doesn’t pretend to be one. One would even say that the film is very flimsy, but to complain about its flimsiness would be rather unfair, since from the opening act, you already know that it is flimsy and that it mimics the action movies of old.
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is an assassin, and he is very good at it. His approach is get in, get out and the best jobs are usually the ones that no one even knows you’ve been there. He is quite unattached, since he seeks out casual company in the arms of a sexy woman called Sarah (Mini Anden) and he keeps to himself in his isolated house. But things are about to become complicated when Bishop is asked to assassinate his mentor and occasional handler, Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland); Bishop hesitates but a job is a job. However, after Harry’s death, Bishop soon discovers that Harry’s son, Steven (Ben Foster) had left the young man in a bind; no money and now no motivation. Bishop through an act of guilt and perhaps sympathy, takes Steven under his wing, as he trains him on the rules and the skills of becoming an efficient “mechanic”.
I really don’t know what to make out of this movie. I love action movies and granted, the film has the ingredients to become a good one. The film has enough action, bloody violence, gratuitous nudity and some sex, but there was just something missing in the way the direction had executed its premise. I know, West probably had acknowledged its predictable plot, but the way it went out about its pace is rather a little too ‘artsy’ and dawdling to really generate excitement and suspense in the film. From the opening act, you see Bishop’s background provided by a voice-over, and you get to know Bishop rather quickly. My issue is, once it gets to the Ben Foster character areas, I feel that the film becomes wanting and uninteresting.
I mean the engine that drives the action and the story would be the relationship between Bishop and Steven; but it rather feels rushed and uninspired as to how Steven becomes a ‘mechanic’. Yeah, the Steven character is pretty much a staple of others in a movie of this kind, as with Bishop, as we’ve all seen how assassins fare and that they have a lot money and keeps to a hobby to keep them occupied. I guess the missing ingredient would be the symbolism that is ‘the Mechanic’; and West seems to have dropped the ball around this area. I know it is all about ‘karma’ and how an assassin needs to accept his possible future, (done well in the moody hitman film “The American”) but West’s direction feels very unfocused as to how he really wanted to express this idea.
The film does have some good moments of action. I liked the area where Steven took an assignment and instead of going for the original plan, he goes to express his anger. There is a subtle commentary about emotions and how it drives people to go about bad decisions, but as soon as things are said and done; West abandons that area in its narrative. I am not sure, I had the impression that the film had been over-edited; it was as if West wanted a faster pace, and yet he wanted to emulate an ‘art’ film. Be that as it may, the film does have a decent body count, some credible gunfights and kills, good showing of blood and violence and the film does feel gritty; West knew how to express the pain and the suffering of the victims. The film also has some coolness about how Bishop had prepared for certain possibilities of the ‘job’, but there were times that they feel that they came from left field, and the delivery wasn’t as believable as I would’ve wished for. Much of the film relied on Statham’s screen presence, and he does have the look of a moody, skilled assassin. But, if you want to emulate an artsy feel, an assassin is actually one that can really blend in and not grab attention.
I suppose “The Mechanic” wasn’t as bad as I figured it would be, and it certainly wasn’t as good as the most positive reviews have made it out to be. I guess, the problem with the film was that it was too simple, and while simplicity can be a virtue, what makes simplicity effective is when characters are allowed to drive a film’s narrative. The script by Carlino and Wenk was just a little too unpolished, it had some good potential, but the way the film flowed just killed all the suspense it would’ve achieved. I would still recommend a rental for action junkies, and sexy Mini Anden provides good eye candy.
Assignments to kill are what the focus is on. Things get complicated when the hired ended up killing his own mentor and even more so when the mentor’s son was determined to avenge the death of his father. Unbeknown to him, the person who killed his father is the person he went into partnership with to learn the trade of killing. So, professional killing is business, pure and simple. That’s what these people thought. Of course, when you were convinced to kill … more
** out of **** In ways, l respect "The Mechanic" for at least attempting to reach its goals; being the violent, loud action thriller that it is. Few films, from this genre, try this hard. Yet, through all its struggles, there still isn't a sign of true intelligence within or beneath "The Mechanic". Its twists are predictable. Its action is entertaining but noisy. The acting is good, the intents are good, the ideas are mostly good, but the story can't hold its own against … more
Star Rating: I know Jason Statham is a natural fit for action movies, although it would mean a great deal to me if he expanded his horizons a bit. Yes, he could go the way most action stars go and appear in a kid’s movie, but why limit it to that? I’d like to see him in a drama, or a period piece, or maybe even a mushy romantic comedy. Call me crazy, but I think he has it in him. Until then, I have to once again endure him in his usual fare. The … more
15 - 93mins - Action/Crime/Thriller - 28th January 2011 The Mechanic sees Jason Statham in a role that he rarely leaves these days as a vigilante, in this case called Arthur who fights against many enemies. The plot takes it's slight twist by the addition of a sidekick of sorts in the form of Steve (Ben Foster). Arthur is a lone hitman who is very good at what he does by eliminating targets whilst making them look like accidents. But when his … more
“The Mechanic” opens with a stylish, clever and ruthlessly executed assassination. Jason Statham efficiently drowns a millionaire in his own swimming pool, and then escapes unnoticed by jumping off a bridge and hitching a ride behind a garbage barge. This scene is somewhere between the Bourne movies and “The American,” and as such, sets a pretty high standard for “The Mechanic;” it communicated that this is going not going to be your run … more
The Mechanic is pretty much what it sounds like: a mechanical, by the numbers action film (loaded with graphic violence, gratuitous sex, and bland performances). The characters in the film are all cliches lacking in humanity or any redemptive qualities and the story is so familiar to direct-to-video films starring Steven Seagal and other action heroes (who can't act) that it almost feels like the film is a remake... which unsurprisingly it is. Arthur Bishop (played by … more
The Mechanic is an upcoming film directed by Simon West and starring Jason Statham. It is a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film of the same name.
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a 'mechanic' - an elite assassin with a strict code and unique talent for cleanly eliminating targets. It's a job that requires professional perfection and total detachment, and Bishop is the best in the business. But when his mentor and close friend Harry (Donald Sutherland) is murdered, Bishop is anything but detached. His next assignment is self-imposed - he wants those responsible dead. His mission grows complicated when Harry's son Steve (Ben Foster) approaches him with the same vengeful goal and a determination to learn Bishop's trade. Bishop has always acted alone but he can't turn his back on Harry's son. A methodical hit man takes an impulsive student deep into his world and a deadly partnership is born. But while in pursuit of their ultimate mark, deceptions threaten to surface and those hired to fix problems become problems themselves.