Review: The Mechanic

Posted: January 28, 2011 in Film Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

Ben Foster and Jason Statham in a scene from The MechanicHit men make very interesting characters. They range from the calculating genius looking for the next challenge to the blood thirsty killer whose borderline psychotic. Inevitably, they adopt a partner – either an apprentice or undeserving target – and have to avoid being killed by their employers. The Mechanic does not deviate from this standard, but sadly fails to deliver on the elements that make these films entertaining.

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 after his mentor and close friend Harry (Donald Sutherland) is murdered, Bishop’s mission grows complicated because Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) wants his father’s killers dead and is determined 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.

This is a remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson film and I have to wonder if his version was any more captivating. This film was marketed as an action flick, and with Statham in the lead role you’d expect nothing less than spectacular. Unfortunately, both of these beliefs are incorrect. That’s not to say there aren’t action sequences in the movie – there are several well planned executions and hand-to-hand combat scenes. They’re just not very exciting. It lacks that element of awe, though it does manage a few cringing “Oh”s throughout. Statham is adequate in all he’s required to do, but none of it is as flashy as many of his other stunts – though, I suppose they may just be suffering from comparison.

Statham has portrayed this type of intelligent, criminal-for-hire before (see The Transporter), so we already know he’s capable of appearing calm in tense situations. However, Bishop does not display any of Statham’s charisma, which makes his character kind of boring. Foster is solid as the impulsive, but resolute, trainee. He convincingly portrays his character, who is very angry and quite stubborn. The rest of the cast receives little screen time in comparison, as Bishop and Steve’s relationship is the film’s main focus.

The narrative itself feels uneventful. It’s very predictable, never deviating from expectations. This lack of any real anticipation contributes to the film’s dryness. Even the moment that should comprise the story’s climax falls flat. In addition, the sex scenes in the picture appear out of place and awkward in relation to the rest of the film.

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