|This could be a scene from any Jason Statham movie.|
The Mechanic is a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson movie of the same name. Remaking a Bronson film actually isn't a bad idea; it's not like anyone is going to have their acting compare unfavorably to him. Anyway, Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is an assassin-for-hire. He's not an ordinary assassin, though. He's so good at his job that he can make death look like an accident, or he can implicate a specific person in a murder, or he can make a hell of a lot of things go boom --- it just depends on what the job calls for. His handler and mentor, Harry (Donald Sutherland), is his next target. Bishop doesn't want to kill his (basically only) friend, but his boss, Dean (Tony Goldwyn), gives him some files and information that are quite damning. Does Bishop kill Harry? That's actually not very important or, surprisingly, very interesting. What is important is that Harry dies and his son, Steve (Ben Foster), wants Bishop to teach him how to be a Statham-level assassin.
|Step one: walk slowly away from explosions.|
I don't think anyone is going to be surprised by the acting in this movie. Jason Statham is, as always, a scowling bad-ass. He still has his accent, and he undresses with little provocation. He's a little less convincing as the guy who thinks six moves ahead in this movie, but whatever. I have no real complaints about his work. Ben Foster, on the other hand, has been better. I usually enjoy Foster, but he doesn't really add anything to the movie, aside from receiving a reasonably realistic beat-down. Donald Sutherland is in the movie for about five minutes, and he stopped challenging himself years ago, so he's fine. Perennial bad guy Tony Goldwyn is, not surprisingly, unsympathetic. Both men fill their roles adequately, but neither is particularly memorable. And, for fans of gratuitous nudity, Swedish model Mini Anden is very convincing as she shows off her dislike of clothing.
Director Simon West is not known for introspective think pieces --- he directed Con Air, ferchrissakes --- so you pretty much know what you're getting when his name appears on the credits. There are some pretty sweet murders in this movie, and it has some solid action sequences, but I felt the pace in this movie was all wrong. I wasn't expecting a Jason Statham/Simon West collaboration to have fancy camera angles or interesting characters, but I was hoping to be consistently entertained. The problem isn't with the story, which requires Bishop to train Steve. The problem is that the movie drags between assassination jobs. Go figure, movie that focuses on action isn't as good at dialogue, right? While that's certainly true, I just didn't have fun watching this movie; the script was deadly serious and the filmmakers didn't have any fun with some of the more ridiculous moments in the movie. When you add that to the characterization of Steve as a complete idiot in life-or-death situations, you get an annoying action movie.
|They're probably hiding from critics.|
I went into this with pretty reasonable expectations, I think. I was hoping for an awesome action movie, or at least for something dumb and fun. I got an action movie that was dumb and serious. Not the most satisfying mix. I actually consider myself somewhat of a Statham fan, but if he keeps making movies like this, we're going to start seeing him on the direct-to-DVD market with his dumb action forebearers soon.