The Mechanic (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/01/2011

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

The Mechanic is well acted and provides plenty of gunfights and explosions but the action sequences are underwhelming, the plot lacks focus and the overall effect is disappointing.

What's it all about?
Directed by Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider), The Mechanic is a remake of a 1972 Michael Winner thriller that starred Charles Bronson and Airwolf's Jan-Michael Vincent. Jason Statham plays elite hit man Arthur Bishop (not quite as exciting a name as Chev Chelios, but you can't have everything), who gets a bit of a shock when his boss (Tony Goldwyn) asks him to kill his wheelchair-bound mentor Harry (Donald Sutherland) but, weirdly, goes ahead and does it anyway.

Wracked with guilt (bit late for that, but never mind), Arthur tracks down Harry's slacker son Steve (Ben Foster) and takes him under his wing, teaching him the hit man game and letting him tag along on a few jobs while tactfully avoiding any of Steve's questions about who might have killed his dad. Needless to say, when Arthur discovers he was set up to kill Harry, he goes all out for revenge.

The Good
Statham can do this sort of thing in his sleep and he duly delivers exactly the performance you'd expect, though it's missing the humour of some of his more recent films. Foster is good too and there's reliably slimy support from Goldwyn, while Sutherland makes the most of his all-too-brief appearance, spending at least half of his screen time coming down some stairs in a wheelchair.

The film opens with an inventive (if ridiculous) assassination sequence involving a wetsuit and a swimming pool, though sadly the rest of the film's action set pieces don't quite live up to that. Instead, the film becomes over-reliant on gunfights and explosions, which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but dedicated Statham fans might wish for a few more punch-ups.

The Bad
The plot is often frustrating, in that it doesn't go the way you're expecting and by the time it does, it's a case of too little, too late. Similarly, it's hard to care about any of the characters and the early shooting is a mistake the film never quite recovers from – what, exactly, are we to make of a hero who can cold-bloodedly shoot his only friend? Needless to say, the ending fails to address this in a satisfactory fashion.

Worth seeing?
The Mechanic is just about worth seeing if you're a Statham fan, but the script is disappointing and it's nowhere near as good as his Transporter movies.

Film Trailer

The Mechanic (15)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 00:12

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