“What I do requires a certain mindset. I do assignments, designated targets. Some jobs need to look like accidents. Others must cast suspicion on someone else. A select few need to send a clear message. Pulling a trigger is easy. The best jobs are the ones nobody even knows you were there.”
Arthur Bishop (Stratham) is an accomplished mechanic. But you don’t want to bring your Toyota to him, unless you intend to use the car to get rid of a pesky spouse. You see, he’s the kind of mechanic that fixes a different kind of problem. He removes unwanted people from your life. That’s the basic set-up for this Simon West remake of the 1972 film that starred Charles Bronson as Bishop. That movie is a kind of classic, at least to Bronson fans. It’s noted for a rather unique beginning where there is no dialog for the first 15 minutes of the movie. No such effect here. What you will find is an action-packed film to watch with the guys while you send the ladies off to watch the latest romantic comedy.
Bishop is the kind of killer who doesn’t take any of it personally. That is, until he’s ordered to take out his friend and mentor Harry McKenna (Sutherland). It appears Harry betrayed the company and tipped off a target, leading to the deaths of five men. If he doesn’t take the job, someone else will. The hit has to look like an accident and ends up looking like a carjacking. Now Harry’s son Steven (Foster) wants revenge on every carjacker in the city. So Bishop takes him under his wing and teaches him the assassin business to channel the fury into something else. He teaches him all of the tricks to the trade. But, along the way some secrets get out, and both men find their world turned upside down in an effort to get revenge.
I don’t remember much about the original film, so I won’t attempt to compare the movies here. The plots appear to be pretty close. I’m sure the original didn’t have the level of stunts and explosions that this movie has. That’s really where the strength lies here. No one from the actors to director Simon West is taking this all too seriously. They know they’re making a straightforward action film and don’t try to pretend they’re doing anything more than entertaining you for 90-some minutes. The film actually drags when it tries to be anything else. There is a halfhearted love affair with a hooker that Bishop is having, but it only slows the movie down. No one really bothered to really follow up or develop the thread, so it just plays as a throwaway scene. The movie is best when it stays true to its explosive action.
Jason Statham plays it pretty much like he’s played most of his roles. The performance isn’t going to be all that deep. Like the film itself, it’s best when the action is rolling. Statham is like a shark. If he stays still too long, his performance dies. But when he’s in motion there aren’t many better. He shares good chemistry with Ben Foster, who came to my attention with some wonderfully nuanced performances as the suffering painter Russell in Six Feet Under. The kid’s good at pathos, and it pays off here. Without giving anything away, I would really have liked to see their partnership continue. I can see a couple of sequels with these guys as a team. Donald Sutherland’s part is really an extended cameo, but he’s not phoning anything in here. Even in a wheelchair, the old man can still deliver an authoritive performance. It’s a good guy’s night film, for sure.
The Mechanic is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average 30 mbps. I was glad to see this film had a lot of film presence. There was just the right fine amount of grain, and colors didn’t have that desaturated look most new films appear to sport. Colors really pop at times. Detail and sharpness are above average. Flesh tones are reference quality. Black levels offer just the right amount of shadow definition and atmosphere.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is just as explosive. Surrounds can be quite aggressive, and you’ll be sucked right into the action. Your sub is going to really carry those explosive elements. The soundtrack is often dynamic, if a little too loud at times. Dialog pierces through the loudness, however, and you’ll hear it just fine.
Deleted and Extended Scenes: (10:54) There are five with a handy play-all option.
Tools Of The Trade: (7:48) Cast and crew talk about the action, and you get some good behind-the-scenes looks at the actors doing the stunts.
This is a really good pizza-and-beer film. You get it all: mindless action, explosions, gunfights, and just plain old-fashioned violence. I like that most of the stuff is old-school. The film hasn’t been digitally processed to death, and most of the f/x are practical on-set gags. Good rental for one of those pure escapist nights. On second thought, you might want to spring for buying the film. You just might need something to fill those Sundays during football season this year. And, you players out there: “It’s time to take your training to the next level”.