There’s one thing in particular to remember about action movies like this one: don’t expect any Oscar noms. And know what you’re getting into before you buy your ticket. Ok, that’s two things. But remember them, because if you go in with some kind of delusions of grandeur, then you’ll come out disappointed for sure.
There’s one thing in particular to remember about action movies like this one: don’t expect any Oscar noms. And know what you’re getting into before you buy your ticket. Ok, that’s two things. But remember them, because if you go in with some kind of delusions of grandeur, then you’ll come out disappointed for sure. Now, if you want a complete escape from reality, a total ass-kicking, gun-firing, incendiary action film with a serious body count, well, then have I got the movie for you.
The always delightful Jason Statham plays Arthur Bishop, the best fixer/assassin in town. It’s called “Mechanic” because he fixes problems – by killing people. See how that works? His boss is a big unamed company that hires him to take out anyone from Mexican Drug Cartel leaders to dirty gun-runners. One day his boss tells him to “fix” one of their own, Henry McKenna – which happens to be Arthur’s long time mentor and one of the bigwigs at the same umnamed company. After the job is done, Henry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) enter’s the picture. He’s not dealing with the death of his father well, and has some anger issues along with no direcdtion to speak of. What’s the logical thing to do? Arthur takes Steve under his wing and teaches him the ins and outs of being a Mechanic! Sweet new gig, man!
Of course eventually we find out that the new boss had Henry killed under false pretenses, so now Arthur is pretty pissed off about that. And you don’t want any character Jason Statham is playing to be pissed at you. Not ever. Hey, I mean it. I’ve seen him kill a guy for less reason than this and it’s not pretty. So, as Arthur teaches Steve the ropes, they go around killing targets. With Steve’s first time he wants to get his hands dirty even though Arthur tells him to keep it simple and clean. It ends up just the opposite, but it’s real fun to watch Ben Foster fight a guy that’s easily two feet taller and over 100 pounds heavier. It’s messy, and bloody and pure action entertainment.
And that’s really the point here, isn’t it? I mean, sure there are a few places where if you don’t suspend your disbelief you’re going to be sitting there with one eyebrow raised for 93 minutes. But I didn’t come to see this because I wanted to nit-pick about whether a guy would or wouldn’t break his back from jumping off a building and dropping 20 stories before the rope stopped suddenly. Sure, he’d be dead, but instead, I want to see him do that while being shot at, and then swinging into a glass window and escaping. That’s what The Mechanic offers, and that’s what I came for – not to exercise my eyebrows in judgment.
This is a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film of the same name. That one co-starred the young and pretty Jan Michael-Vincent. But after drugs/alcohol and a couple car accidents, he ain’t pretty no more. Seriously, Google him. It’s shocking. It’s been years since I saw the original and I’m pretty sure it was more meditative on the inner workings of the hitman, while this new version is slick and violence heavy, and I’m ok with that. There is a lot of great action here and I think more people die on screen than live. It’s kinda like a video game. Thanks slow movie season! You make a movie like this shine!
So, yeah, it’s not going to win awards, but it’s chock full o’action movie fun. Statham is his cool, bad-ass self, and Ben Foster adds a bit of depth to his role that makes it mean a little more. Other co-stars are Donald Sutherland making the most of his Henry McKenna, and Tony Goldwyn as Dean, the new boss and heavy. Let’s give them and The Mechanic three and a half kittenhands! Hey, that’s pretty good for a January release. That’s effectively a recommendation for the action movie crowd.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, having a busy week!