The Mechanic stars Jason Statham (Transporter, Crank franchises), Ben Foster (Pandorum, X-Men The Last Stand) and Tony Goldwyn, (The Last House on the Left) with a small but wonderful and instrumental appearance by Donald Sutherland. The script came from Richard Wenk (16 Blocks) and was a remake of Lewis John Carlino’s 1972 The Mechanic that starred Charles Bronson.
The Mechanic was directed by Simon West (2006’s When a Stranger Calls remake and exec produced Black Hawk Down. He also directed one of my action faves, the 1997 Nicolas Cage starrer, Con Air.)
The movie follows the story of a hit-man, or a mechanic as they’re sometimes called, named Arthur Bishop played by Statham. Bishop is known for being able to pull off hits and make them look like anything you want. The movie opens to his executing a hit and making it look like an indoor drowning accident. The way it’s pulled off immediately impresses the viewer as to just how sharp he is, considering the environment he pulls it off in!
Bishop’s methodical approach to his craft is explored and demonstrated wonderfully in the movie. It created a certain amount of appreciation for the knowledge that Bishop needed to pull off any job.
Through a deed I won’t go into here, Bishop takes on an apprentice by the name of Steve KcKenna, played by Foster. McKenna, for all his desire to be a mechanic, has anger issues that has the potential for muddying up the job. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll get it done. But dang, his propensity for making a mess is understated!
It’s an apprenticeship that, though not explored too much in-depth, does appear to be a rewarding experience for both Bishop and McKenna. Bishop, for why it is he decided to take this guy under his wing, and McKenna, for his desires and focus for wanting to find who might have killed his father.
When I tuned into this movie, I was looking for another Transporter-like movie. I was just looking for some mindless action film fun to fill a few hours. Instead, I was treated to a rather smart version of an action movie that motivated this movie review.
Exploring how Bishop understands his trade is a giddy trip of “assassin voyeurism” and if you enjoy Jason Statham’s roles in the past, as such as they are (aka The Transporter), this is probably, like the film itself, one of his better action roles that demonstrates his well tuned body, martial arts choreography execution and that steely-eyed stare of his that just yells, “I know what I’m doing, and you are going to lose.” And ladies, keep your eyes peeled. The audience gets a glimpse at the beginning of the movie of his physical conditioning. I presume many will consider it a great money shot.
For a 90+ minute movie, they pack many story details into the opening and middle acts that doesn’t feel rushed but rather, very well orchestrated. It all leads up to a closing act that is slightly rushed in some spots, but then rather well executed otherwise. To be honest, it’s a perfect ending.
Despite some comparisons I’ve seen to Statham’s previous films, this one I think is one of his most mature (if you can use that term regarding butt-kicking movies) roles to date in this genre.
I wasn’t left out in the cold wanting much more for what I tuned in for and the sub-plot, though it sleeps underneath the primary plot, awakens at just the right time and is pulled off in a wonderfully well times set of events.