THE MECHANIC


Dir. Simon West. USA.
2011.


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk
 
 


 
 

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Emai


Jason Statham returns on DVD with another action film with lots of violence, lots of shooting, lots of gun and not a lot of dialogue or theoretical expansion of the geo-political spectrum of arms trafficking.  No, this is a Statham film, he is the good guy who shoots the bad guy(s) ad nauseum.

Statham, is the Mechanic, Arthur Bishop (a remake of the 1971 original starring Charles Bronson) an agency assassin who handles and eliminates targets with ruthless aggression and emotional detachment.  He is mentored by Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), who treats Arthur as more of a son than the disappointment of his actual blood son, Steve (Ben Foster).

After completing his most recent target in Mexico, Arthur returns and finds that his new target is Harry.  After meeting his boss, played with atypical malevolence by Tony Goldwyn, who confirms that Harry is the next target due to some embezzling of company funds; Arthur takes it upon himself to seek out why Harry has been set up.

This sort of narrative structure and plot points are by the by on occasion, and once Steve arrives wanting to learn the tricks of Arthur's trade and make his father proud of him.  Foster, for so long a bit part player and excellent in The Messengers (with Woody Harrelson), is himself not the most handsome or as muscle bound as Statham, luckily though he can deliver a line - something Statham unfortunately cannot.

But you do not buy or pay a ticket for a Statham actioner for him to talk, you pay for him to kick butt.  He has worked very hard on his career, making familiar and generic actioners with homophobic tendencies and a regrettable body count.  You could even say that the film is misogynistic, as the only woman in the film is a prostitute who is paid by Arthur, a prostitute who does not even know his name.  Cleverly, she asks him for his name and in his rich thick cockney accent, Statham replies, 'Aaar-fur'.  She replies, 'No, you look more like a David or a Brad.  I will see you around Brad.'  Statham smiles that Bruce Willis smile like he does after he says 'Yippee-kayee'. 

Statham is the model 21st century actor, he is an amalgamation of other actors - Willis, Stallone, Caine and Bronson - and in this day and age, in this global culture of various cultural icons; Statham is the actor that is both nostalgic, making you yearn for glories and pictures of old - with an embracing of the new and violent world we live in.  Statham and Foster put so many bullets into some goon at the end, you think is there much purpose to that or is it just how things are handled; and then there is the cod slow-mo at the end to hark back to the epitaph of Bonnie and Clyde, that started this whole slow-mo gunplay.

Watching The Mechanic on DVD is a better way to watch it, I would have been disappointed to pay to see this film at the cinema as the ending is a little bit cod but it ends with Statham jumping into a new car and driving off into the sunset to his next role of similarity. 

Much like that other B-movie star, Randolph Scott, a star who was eclipsed by contemporaries like John Wayne and Henry Fonda; Statham is like that Scott character - an outlaw who does his business in a city or town, and then leaves to pop up in another city or town playing the same role.

Yet the reason a film like this, with its $40m budget, is produced and with technical sheen is because Statham is a DVD icon - guys love to buy the films, watch it with a beer and a smile as those memories of Rambo and Commando reappear on the brain. 

Is it worth reviewing a Statham film, when you know what you are going to get.  This is not his best film, that remains Chaos; but this is a worthy second thanks in part to the continual growth and aura of Statham on film and the excellent support of Foster.
Jamie Garwood

 
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