By: Oberst von Berauscht (Four Beers) –
Let me start by saying that I haven’t seen the original 1972 Charles Bronson version of The Mechanic, so this review and my opinions therein are based solely on this experience.
The Mechanic follows Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham), a star hitman for an international shadow corporation that specializes in high profile murder.One day he is asked to kill his mentor and only close friend, Harry McKenna, (Donald Sutherland) on the evidence that he may have betrayed the organization.After fulfilling his job, he befriends Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster), who now wishes to become Bishop’s apprentice.
Praise is due for the rather unique approach this film has in its story elements.For a movie being marketed as the next Transporter or Crank, this is a surprisingly modest film.Of course, that is kind of like calling JWoww normal just because she isn’t the most vapid soulless shill on the Jersey Shore.
15 minutes ticking
By modest, I mean the film takes its time in developing the characters and story, allowing for more detail than you’d expect from an action film.In this way it certainly reflects its 70’s origins.
Jason Statham is certainly the right actor for this role, showing the sophistication and swagger you want to see from a stylized anti-hero.Ben Foster is interesting as well, aptly playing the black sheep son with a violent streak.In one particular sequence, while performing his first hit, he chooses to forego subtlety and planning in favor of brute force.
For all its strengths, the film feels like a missed opportunity.For one, it still appeals to several action film clichés that have begun to plague Hollywood.First of all, there are several extended sex scenes which have no bearing on the plot.These scenes develop a relationship Statham’s character has with New Orleans hooker Sarah, played by Mini Anden, whose wooden dialog is a clear-cut representation of her acting ability.
In other words, slash and burn
I’m a guy. I understand why they put these scenes in action movies, but these particular trysts, which ostensibly are meant to show another side of Statham, ultimately feel like crass exploitation.
The film is also edited quite manically, with many random cuts.This leads me to believe that much of the film was subject to reshoots or at least hastily touched up in post-production.Fast cutting between scenes using seemingly random coverage is a lazy attempt to make the film feel edgy and fast paced.As I covered earlier, the film’s strength is that it doesn’t have to move at a blistering pace to build tension and character.Somebody in the editing room missed the memo.
This is how it’s done
The greatest missed opportunity of the film is in the ending.It is important to note that Statham and Ben Foster do not play good guys in this film; they are only slightly higher up on the moral ladder because they are at least not intentionally treasonous.At the end of the film, shortly after the dispatch of the film’s antagonist, there was a brief moment where poetic justice seems to have visited everyone else.Why the producers chose to destroy this creative and unique ending in favor of sequel possibilities is obvious.
Tagged and bagged
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every murder
Take a Drink: whenever Bishop’s name is said
Drink a shot: whenever somebody returns from the dead