|Well oiled, but poorly tuned.|
In "The Mechanic" Jason Statham plays Arthur Bishop, a skilled hitman who is employed by an elusive corporation.
Through the course of the film Bishop trains Steve McKenna—played by Ben Foster—the delinquent son of his friend Harry McKenna. Donald Sutherland gives a fantastic performance as Harry, a wheelchair-assisted former hitman who serves as Arthur's father figure.
Director Simon West, who began his career with 1997's "Con Air," shoots each action scene in a visceral manor. While there is a significant amount of gunplay in the film, there are also several intense brawling segments. One of these scenes, in which Steve carries out his first assassination, teeters between shocking violence and Vaudevillian hilarity, as the target throws him through walls and furniture.
Statham continues to stake his claim as this generation's dominant action star. While the character of Bishop does not stray far from the stoic anti-hero he normally plays, the film's dialogue-driven segments show Statham has continued to develop as an actor.
Ben Foster proves he is also worthy of carrying the action mantel, while maintaining the pathos he displayed in 2009's "The Messenger." Steven is a well-designed foil for Bishop, as his blunt approach to most situations is in contrast to Bishop's meticulous planning.
This film improves upon several aspects of the original "Mechanic," including the introduction of a new sub-plot that serves to flesh-out the shadowy organization responsible for issuing the contracts. Unfortunately, the ending is not as fortunate.
The film's finale feels incredibly abrupt and then descends into a realm of lunacy. While this injustice will not be detailed here, it leaves the viewer on an incredibly unsatisfying note that spoils the memory of the film's better moments.
In spite of this, "The Mechanic" remains a competent action film that
has enough visual flare and quality performances to garner a viewing.
This review was originally published in the Indiana Statesman.
Video Feature: January 2011 Releases
January...movies are coming out.
The Mechanic Trailer
Jason Statham plays a hitman. No, seriously! This time he's teaming up with Ben Foster in a remake of the 1970s Charles Bronson flick of the same name.
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