Review: The Mechanic
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!
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|Extra Tidbit:||Jason Statham was born the year (1972) the original flick was released.|