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Review: The Mechanic

The Mechanic
01.26.2011
7 10

PLOT: A cold-hearted, near invincible "Mechanic" i.e. a Hitman (Jason Statham), takes an emotionally damaged and booze abusing young man (Ben Foster) under his wing and teaches him the “kill trade”. They go on hits, beat on folks, nail some broads, blow shite up and climb a building. Fun times!

In 1972; producers Irwin Wrinkler and Robert Chartoff brought us one hell of a gritty  action drama in Michael Winner’s THE MECHANIC. The picture starred Charles “The Man” Bronson and Jan Michael Vincent. Now in 2011; their sons David Winkler and Bill Chartoff are revisiting their pops old stomping ground by gunning a remake our way. I can’t say I was too stoked to see this one to be honest; the solid original was enough for me; but hey, its here; I had to deal with it. And you know what? It wasn’t half bad. THE MECHANIC redux was pretty much what I expected it to be; a clipped paced and brutal action film driven by a connect the dot plot that brought me back to the 80’s when it came to its simplicity.

Where the original played more as a layered and introspective character study with some random action sequences spread about, this update was yet another typical Jason Statham affair with the stoic actor kicking ass and taking names like only he can. Now that I think of it; this could’ve been called The Transporter 4 and nobody would have blinked. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the film or its star, total opposite. I had a blast with this ride and Statham was not only a joy to watch; but after the screening he had scored more of my points. I so respect the fact that he’s sticking to his guns in terms of being an action star. I doubt we’ll see the lad in a pink tutu playing a Tooth-Fairy anytime soon and I’m all for that. Keep it up Statham! We need ya! If only more action actors followed his example…if only…

Back to the movie! I was personally in a tizzy to see that aside from the initial premise and a couple of key scenes, this retelling did its own thing. Being that the original was still fresh in my mind (I watched it last week); I appreciated not sitting through the exact same affair all over again. This was EASILY director Simon West’s best film! With stinkers like Con Air, Tomb Raider, The General’s Daughter and the When a Stranger Calls remake under his belt... it better be! West helmed this one with a confident eye, capitalized on his New Orleans setting wonderfully, showcased an array of well choreographed action sequences, eye popping stunts (that fall off the building = gold) and random splatter (dug those messy head shots). Sold!

At the end of the kill though; it wouldn't have been as good without the dynamic duo of Jason Statham and Ben Foster in the driver's seat. This was man's man Statham at his best! Ya know the drill; quiet intensity, killer stares, credible delivery, superior athletic abilities while looking like a champ in muscle shirts or/and trench coats. I love it! On his end; Foster also had a role that catered to his strengths. As he's proven in such projects as Pandorum and Hostage; he does “troubled” very well. Foster is astounding at communicating that "I have issues" energy via his body language and "loonie eyes". His visceral performance definately elevated the role to a higher plane. On top of that, both men shared an electrifying chemistry together and made for quite the compelling pair to follow around.

On the flip-side; it’s too bad the film was in such a hurry to get to the finish line and didn’t explore its anti-heroes' evolving relationship futher... and no, quickie montages didn’t count. There was something special there, but alas this redo was more interested in being a straightforward action party and keeping the pace flowing swiftly than to explore its characters in depth or/and their relationship. I did have peeves with the hand to hand fights which were edited too tightly for my liking. When will modern Hollywood learn that blurry fist-to- cuff sequences does not equal exciting.

Moreover some plot holes arose now and again. Fairly typical ones when it comes to the shoot em up subgenre. Things like: "Where are the cops in this city?"- "Statham is a pro, why does he leave his finger prints everywhere?" - "Where did Foster get the fighting skills to whoop a trained killer?" Exactly. All in all though; action junkies and Statham fans should get a spin kick out of this one. I know I did! It was a fun and mean action machine! How did it compare to the original some may ask? Well, let me put it this way; if the 1972 original was a Sirloin steak, with mash potatoes and gravy. This redo was a Whopper with cheese and a side order of fries. DIG IN!  

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Extra Tidbit: Jason Statham was born the year (1972) the original flick was released.
Source: JoBlo.com

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5:48PM on 01/31/2011

Really liked it...

...and I'm a diehard fan of the original. As much as I absolutely despise shaky-cam in action scenes, it didn't bother me much in this movie as it did in the Bourne sequels (I had to take Excedrine Migraine for those, no lie).
...and I'm a diehard fan of the original. As much as I absolutely despise shaky-cam in action scenes, it didn't bother me much in this movie as it did in the Bourne sequels (I had to take Excedrine Migraine for those, no lie).
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+0
9:16AM on 01/27/2011

Ha

Love'n that third pic
Love'n that third pic
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11:31PM on 01/26/2011
So glad i'm not the only one who thought ConAir was terrible. Great cast but it was lame
So glad i'm not the only one who thought ConAir was terrible. Great cast but it was lame
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4:41PM on 01/26/2011

Can't wait!

My boy Statham! You go, man! Foster was awesome in Alpha Dog too. He's an up and comer. Heck yeah, man, The Rock and Con Air were two of the 90's action best. Great lines, great cast, got the hair, but Rock was indeed superior of the two.
My boy Statham! You go, man! Foster was awesome in Alpha Dog too. He's an up and comer. Heck yeah, man, The Rock and Con Air were two of the 90's action best. Great lines, great cast, got the hair, but Rock was indeed superior of the two.
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4:03PM on 01/26/2011

Love Ben Foster

I have yet to hate any role Foster has been in. I even watched Flash Forward and loved it, back in the day of Disney. He's always been a solid actor. The Messenger is still, imo, his best. Glad this got a decent review. I will be there Friday, after biology, to watch it.
I have yet to hate any role Foster has been in. I even watched Flash Forward and loved it, back in the day of Disney. He's always been a solid actor. The Messenger is still, imo, his best. Glad this got a decent review. I will be there Friday, after biology, to watch it.
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3:27PM on 01/26/2011
This gets a red simply for the Con Air hate. That film is awesome.
This gets a red simply for the Con Air hate. That film is awesome.
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4:03PM on 01/26/2011
Agreed!
Agreed!
+8
2:52PM on 01/26/2011
Con Air is awesome!!!!
Con Air is awesome!!!!
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-10
1:41PM on 01/26/2011
This film does look like fun but I am mainly commenting to thank the lord for allowing me to find someone else who didn't like Con-Air. I loves me some John Cusack as much as the next guy but that film was shit.
This film does look like fun but I am mainly commenting to thank the lord for allowing me to find someone else who didn't like Con-Air. I loves me some John Cusack as much as the next guy but that film was shit.
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1:18PM on 01/26/2011
Oh Arrow and you were in my good books as well. Con Air is my all time favourite movie. *Shakes head and weeps for mankind* ;)
Oh Arrow and you were in my good books as well. Con Air is my all time favourite movie. *Shakes head and weeps for mankind* ;)
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12:14PM on 01/26/2011

Wait . . . whut?

I'm with the Big EP on this one . . . "ConAir" is FAR, FAR AWAY from crashlanding into that big Hard Rock Cafe in Stinkerland! Get a GRIP!
I'm with the Big EP on this one . . . "ConAir" is FAR, FAR AWAY from crashlanding into that big Hard Rock Cafe in Stinkerland! Get a GRIP!
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11:19AM on 01/26/2011
Arrow nice to read a review that excepts a movie for what it is and rates it on those merits, keep up the good work dude.
Arrow nice to read a review that excepts a movie for what it is and rates it on those merits, keep up the good work dude.
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10:19AM on 01/26/2011

Great review!

Looking forward to it!

But c'mon bud...CON-AIR...a stinker? Nic Cage's hair won't be pleased with you. That movie kicks ass!
Looking forward to it!

But c'mon bud...CON-AIR...a stinker? Nic Cage's hair won't be pleased with you. That movie kicks ass!
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10:38AM on 01/26/2011
Agreed! So many great lines in that, not least of which is Steve Buscemi's definition of irony. And an line Nic Cage says with that godawful Southern accent (or excuse for one). That's just a modern classic any way you look at it.
Agreed! So many great lines in that, not least of which is Steve Buscemi's definition of irony. And an line Nic Cage says with that godawful Southern accent (or excuse for one). That's just a modern classic any way you look at it.
12:49PM on 01/26/2011
Agree. Con Air was arguably the last great action film of the 90's. Full of quotable dialogue and was surprisingly well casted.
Agree. Con Air was arguably the last great action film of the 90's. Full of quotable dialogue and was surprisingly well casted.
1:42PM on 01/26/2011
I hated Con Air, thought it was a borefest and that the action sucked in terms of choreography. The Rock on the other hand...loved it. To each his own yo!
I hated Con Air, thought it was a borefest and that the action sucked in terms of choreography. The Rock on the other hand...loved it. To each his own yo!
2:06PM on 01/26/2011
I am rolling with Arrow on this one. Con Air bad. Rock great (once they get on the island).
I am rolling with Arrow on this one. Con Air bad. Rock great (once they get on the island).
2:19PM on 01/26/2011
Totally agree with you Arrow on ROCK being a vastly superior film. CON-AIR is a skid mark by comparison.
Totally agree with you Arrow on ROCK being a vastly superior film. CON-AIR is a skid mark by comparison.
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