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The Mechanic (2011)

by on 2011/02/22

Victory loves preparation.”

* * * *

Grainy, gritty and stylish, The Mechanic hit me like a utility pickup obliterated in a gas station explosion. Winded, wobbly and exhilarated, I emerged from the theatre with just one question:

How did this film wind up with a 49% average* on Metacritic.com?

What in the world does the world want?

First of all, The Mechanic has Jason Statham in its corner. There’s a lot to love about Mr. Statham. He exudes cool charm and lithe menace. He’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch in a fight scene. As a result, there’s just about no franchise I wouldn’t follow Mr. Statham into …with the exception being the Crank that dare not speak its name.

I felt similarly outraged by the consistently poor reviews for Death Race, feeling then as I do now that critics and the wider movie viewing public have become so insanely jaded that they can no longer appreciate a good, old adredaline-by-the-quart B movie.  (I did feel somewhat vindicated that fan response greenlighted a sequel).

In The Mechanic, Jason Statham is Arthur Bishop, a cold, relentless instrument of death, a highly paid assassin for a secret corporation. With Statham at the helm, The Mechanic is all-you-can-swallow action, stylishly directed by Simon West, with an absolutely standout performance from Statham co-star Ben Foster. Playing Steve McKenna, the troubled son of Bishop’s handler Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), Foster is flawed, complex and at times, completely unhinged. He’s absolutely riveting in this role.

When Bishop’s talked into taking an assignment that hits very close to home, he winds up taking on Steve McKenna on both as a working apprentice and heavy emotional baggage. Bishop’s careful solitary life starts to unravel as McKenna starts to get a taste for killing.

A remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film, there are some critical differences in this plot. As this movie left me panting breathlessly for more,  the ending seemed to indicate I might get my wish.

I think I’ll take the edge off of the wait by watching a little Human Target, another woefully underappreciated Fox action gem that The Mechanic director Simon West was also involved in.

Again, finally, to conclude, what do you want – oh great and terrible movie-going public? Why can you no longer love?

I’ll tell you why, we are spoiled. So terribly spoiled.

See The Mechanic. Really.

* * * *

Rated R for bloody, bloody violence

93 minutes

*average at time of publication

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