Wednesday, November 12, 2014

#1,549. The Mechanic (2011)

Directed By: Simon West

Starring: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland

Tag line: "Someone has to fix the problems"

Trivia: This is a remake of a 1972 movie of the same name, one that starred Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent

Jason Statham has been one of the hardest working actors in recent years. Following his screen debut in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1998, he’s been in well over 30 movies, most of which fit neatly into the action genre. The year after he co-starred in The Expendables (2010), Statham appeared in three shoot-em-ups: Blitz, The Killer Elite, and The Mechanic. A remake of a 1972 film that starred Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent, director Simon West’s The Mechanic provided Statham with yet another memorable role, that of a skilled assassin who always gets his man.

After taking out the leader of a Colombian drug cartel, Arthur Bishop (Statham) returns home to New Orleans, where he’s visited by his “contact”, old friend Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), who pays him for a job well done. Things take an unexpected turn for Bishop, however, when he discovers his next target is Harry himself! According to Dean (Tony Goldwyn), yet another official in the organization Bishop works for, Harry sold out several operatives under his command, all of whom died during a mission is South Africa. With no alternative, Bishop accepts the job and kills Harry.

Unable to shake the guilt he feels for killing his mentor, Bishop decides to make amends by helping Harry’s estranged son, Steve (Be Foster), get back on his feet. With no idea that it was he who shot his father, Steve agrees to become Bishop’s assistant, and, despite his sometimes out-of-control temper, is soon well on his way to becoming an international assassin. Bishop even enlists Steve’s help when he learns that Dean lied to him about Harry, but what will happen when Steve discovers his new “partner” in the one responsible for his father’s untimely demise?

The role of Arthur Bishop, a suave killer whose dogged preparation helps him stay one step ahead of everybody else, was tailor-made for Statham; the opening sequence, where Bishop takes out the Colombian drug lord, is incredibly slick (he kills him in a swimming pool, thus making the death look like an accidental drowning), and shows us why his character is considered the best at what he does. On the other side of the coin is Steve, a hard-drinking young man who often allows his emotions to get the better of him (believing it was a carjacker who killed his father, Steve heads out one evening with the intention of killing the first car thief he comes across). Together, the two are an interesting pair, and even though we sense early on that their partnership won’t last (Steve’s volatile nature makes him a poor match for the controlled Bishop), they do manage to kick some ass along the way.

A tough-as-nails actor with charisma to spare, Statham is the heir-apparent to such legendary action stars as Stallone (First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part 2), Norris (Lone Wolf McQuade), Van Damme (Cyborg) and Schwarzenegger (The Terminator, Predator), and with three more films currently in the pipeline (one of which is Mechanic : Resurrection, a sequel to this movie), it doesn’t look as if he’ll be slowing down any time soon.

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