THE MECHANIC (Simon West)
Jason Statham has a personality that entertains; even if the stories of his films, except CRANK 1 and 2, THE BANK JOB, and his Guy Ritchie flicks “are modelled on trash” (if I may quote Keira Knightley from NEVER LET ME GO). Maybe it’s his British accent, or his muscular physique, or his ability to deliver solid blows and kicks, which kinda reminds you of Van Damme, Stallone, and even Jet Li during their prime. To add to these, Statham is good-looking, which makes him the ideal leading man.
In THE MECHANIC, which is a remake of the classic thriller starring Charles Bronson, Statham plays Arthur Bishop, a professional hitman with skills of the utmost precision and subtlety— he tries to make every hit look like natural death, or an accident as much as possible. When he finds out that he was manipulated by his employer into killing his mentor Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), he and Harry’s wayward son Steve (Ben Foster) whom he has taken as an apprentice track down Dean (Tony Goldwyn) for the ultimate revenge.
One catchy line though, in this derivative mess of a film is when Bishop learns that Dean is sending out more assassins after him, to whom Bishop replies: “Save the fuel. I’m coming for you”. That’s got to be one for the books.
Ben Foster is equally lean and mean as the bloodthirsty novice, and he is just fit for the role. He was convincing enough to be the loose cannon character, and if there’s anyone who can pull it off, it’s Ben Foster.
The action is what you’d normally expect from a Jason Statham movie. There are explosions, ass-kicking, and people getting killed in unusual ways. In THE MECHANIC you’ll see a lethal way how to use the safety pin from a fire extinguisher.
The problem with THE MECHANIC is it loses the moral and visual impact of the original film’s ending in exchange for a need to emphasize the slickness and machismo of the protagonist. Plus, Bishop’s hits are such easy targets, morally speaking. The illegal arms dealer and the junkie preacher are downright evil that you’d expect delight seeing Statham take them out. There’s just not enough complexity to broaden the scope of Statham as a professional killer.
For what it’s worth, there’s some onscreen tension seeing Statham and Foster work together on hits, and escaping sticky situations. The two have a real gritty attitude together.
If it’s any consolation, THE MECHANIC is way better than the awful TRANSPORTER 3.