Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner & More Review: ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner & More Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie

Review: ‘Mechanic’ Remake Is Exactly What You’d Expect From A Jason Statham Movie In January

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 26, 2011 at 7:11AM

"The Mechanic" is the prototypical early year action movie -- nothing more and nothing less. Star Jason Statham, who again plays an infallible, lethal bad-ass, seems to have carved his niche as the current go-to guy for B-movie action flicks. The beefy Brit once seemed like a promising heir to the ‘80s blockbuster action hero throne left vacant by Sly and Ah-nold, but with a few exceptions ("The Bank Job," "The Italian Job"), his filmography over the past decade compares more realistically to the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal.
2


"The Mechanic" is the prototypical early year action movie -- nothing more and nothing less. Star Jason Statham, who again plays an infallible, lethal bad-ass, seems to have carved his niche as the current go-to guy for B-movie action flicks. The beefy Brit once seemed like a promising heir to the ‘80s blockbuster action hero throne left vacant by Sly and Ah-nold, but with a few exceptions ("The Bank Job," "The Italian Job"), his filmography over the past decade compares more realistically to the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal.

A remake of the 1972 cult action flick starring Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent, what may have been original 39 years ago feels derivative and stale in 2011. Statham is Arthur Bishop, a mechanic (code word for assassin to those in the know) who is, to quote Bishop’s mentor Harry (Donald Sutherland), “the best there is.” His specialty is making his killings appear as accidental or natural deaths. This is demonstrated by an opening scene in which Statham awaits a comically clichéd drug kingpin underwater in SCUBA gear to simulate an accidental drowning. After Harry is killed via some rather convoluted circumstances, Bishop takes his son Steve (Ben Foster) under his wing as mechanic-in-training and sets out to enact revenge on the men who duped them.


To give credit where credit is due, "The Mechanic" seems to know what it is, at least at the start. The action and blood come quick, as does a gratuitous but enjoyable sex scene where Statham meets a prostitute at a bar for about two seconds, smiles at her and immediately shags her during a shameless few minutes of good old late night Skinemax soft core. Sadly, as these movies always do, clunky plot lines come stammering back in and weigh down the mindless fun. Anyone who’s ever seen an action movie should be able to pick out the bad guy well before the first act’s close, as well as formulate a pretty good idea as to the direction of the feeble plot twists to come.

If only "The Mechanic" had stayed its course and unapologetically delivered what it knows its audience wants -- blood and the occasional set of ta-tas -- it might have been worth recommending as a guilty pleasure. Instead, it falls into the trappings of so many to come before (probably not a great surprise considering it’s directed by the notoriously mediocre Simon West) which causes time to slow to a crawl, even within the context of its 92-minute runtime.

Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland have seen better days but hey, a paycheck is just a paycheck sometimes. For Statham, he seems to have settled into these kinds of roles and coasts through them effortlessly. With the aforementioned 'Job' movies as well and under Guy Ritchie’s tutelage, Statham has demonstrated brief bits of something, well, better. But perhaps he doesn’t get offered much else these days. Either way, he certainly isn’t doing a lot for any higher career aspirations by continuing to partake in such repetitive material.

For those entertained solely by explosions and bloodshed, "The Mechanic" should pacify in between its clunky storytelling. As Statham and Foster mow down rows of baddies in the climax, West and co. seem to have inserted extra powerful blood squibs into their stuntmen for added emphasis on the nastiest bits of blood splatter. We just found the whole experience to be a bore, from the one-dimensional characters to the paper-thin story to the ho-hum twist ending. If you must see it, just know that you aren’t going to get much you haven’t already seen before. With ticket prices quickly heading north of $10 bucks, you’d do just as well to rent one of Statham’s past efforts instead. [C-] --Jeff Otto

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Review, The Mechanic, Jason Statham, Ben Foster


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates