Friday, January 28, 2011

The Mechanic

I think it is fair to say that I am a bit of a fanboy when it comes to Jason Statham. “The Expendables”, “The Transporter”, “War”; heck, I even enjoyed the insane mess that is “Crank: High Voltage”. As with anything you are a fan of, the potential for disappointment is high when any new project comes out due to high expectations. Well, I went into Statham's new film, “The Mechanic” with really high expectations, and you know what? I wasn't disappointed at all.

“The Mechanic” is a remake of a 1972 film of the same name that starred Charles Bronson, and Jan-Michael Vincent. I've never seen the entire original, so I cannot really comment on how to new one compares, but I do know that there have been some significant changes aside from just modernization. I will say that I am not normally a fan of remakes, but that does not effect my opinion of this film.

Jason Statham plays Arthur Bishop, a “mechanic”, which is to say a man who fixes problems quickly, efficiently, and without emotion in a manner befitting his employer's wishes. He is a solitary man who keeps his emotions to himself, but he is not made of stone. When a job comes a little too close to home for comfort, he finds himself internally conflicted. When Steve McKenna (Ben Foster: “Pandorum”), the son of a friend that Bishop betrayed, comes to him asking to be trained as a “mechanic” himself, Bishop gives in and mentors the young man.

If you are familiar with other Statham movies, then you know what to expect here; snarky one-liners, car crashes, explosions, and lots of mooks getting shot, stabbed, and otherwise killed in brutal ways. Going with the idea that there is no kill like overkill, Bishop and McKenna cut a bloody swath through their enemies leading up to a climactic battle that includes a city bus and a garbage truck. It's everything you could want from an R rated action movie.

Statham plays one of his stock characters, in this case the character from “The Transporter”. He's quiet, but sarcastic, he is meticulous, and does not display a lot of emotion. He is a man who plans his jobs down to the smallest detail, but is quite capable of improvising when the situation changes suddenly. The biggest difference between Bishop and Frank Martin really is the wardrobe. Rather than wearing a suit, Statham dons a lot of leather jackets and pea-coats for this role, and he pulls the look off well.

If I had any real criticisms about this film, it would be that Ben Foster comes across as a little whiny and annoying, but I think that was intentionally a part of the character. The only other issue I had was the extremely short and completely out of place sex scene early in the film; I know that it was partly another excuse to show Statham without his shirt on again (he actually appears shirtless within the first two minutes of his appearing on screen), but it didn't really fit in with the tone of the rest of the film.

I loved every minute of this film from the first punch to the last explosion (except maybe that sex scene). If you are looking for a deep story with complex characters then you are looking in the wrong place. “The Mechanic” is just a fun popcorn film where you can relax and cheer as the sort-of-bad guys take out the really-bad guys with a pretty decent soundtrack playing in the background. There's no thinking required, just relax and let the awesomeness roll over you. If that sounds good to you, then I definitely recommend heading out to the theater to see this movie.

“The Mechanic” is in theaters now

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