reviewer Goncalo Sousa
Rated: 15 (UK)
Drector: Simon West
Cast: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn
The Mechanic is an action thriller directed by Simon West (of Tomb Raider fame), starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland. It is a remake of the 1972 original starring Charles Bronson, setting the story in the present day but not straying much from the original’s plot.
Jason Statham plays Arthur Bishop, an elite assassin whose latest mission involves eliminating his friend and mentor Harry (Donald Sutherland) after he is revealed to have betrayed the organisation they both work for. Despite Arthur’s conflicting emotions, he carries out the job in his usual efficient manner, but later he meets Harry’s estranged son Steve (Ben Foster), a troubled young man who is determined to learn Arthur’s craft and avenge his father’s death. Unable to turn away his mentor’s son, Arthur takes him under his wing, concealing the truth about Harry’s death.
The film itself is very slick and modern with fast-paced editing. It does include some pretty good action scenes, as well as some impressive stunts, but the direction feels lost between wanting to be an all-out action film or a character-based thriller.
Despite not being that keen on Jason Statham, he does a good job at portraying Arthur as an efficient but rather lonely hitman, hiding behind a tough exterior. Then again, that mostly involves looking broody and speaking in an extremely low-tone, muddled mid-Atlantic accent, so not much of a departure for Statham. Ben Foster brings more to his portrayal of Steve as a young man with some serious issues. However, despite the potential, the plot limits his character to being a bit dull, through a combination of having him screw up most of his missions and just being rather obnoxious.
Halfway through The Mechanic it hit me, that despite the filmmakers best efforts to assure us this is in fact a buddy flick and both main characters are indeed straight men, it seems to present Arthur and Steve as somewhat more than just “buddies”. The clues are everywhere and it’s pretty fun to pick them out. Examples include passive aggressive arguments in the car, buying a puppy, phone calls about dinner…etc. To be honest, I’m probably reading too much into it, but I guess the plot was so unsurprising that my mind eventually wandered off.
In the end, this is a film that will please Jason Statham fans and will probably do pretty well on DVD, but ultimately, will be overlooked in favour of superior films in the same genre such as the Bourne or Daniel Craig Bond series. I expect it to be successful enough to warrant a sequel, and while the film’s conclusion opens up possibilities for one, I’d rather see a prequel showing us how Arthur became such a good elite assassin. Oh, and explaining where he got that accent.
Movie Rating: 3/5
A big thank you Goncalo who is the latest new member to the review team, look out for more reviews from Goncalo