Review: THE MECHANIC (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 7 February 2011

Review: THE MECHANIC (2011)


When the trailer is first shown to public, the marketing campaign surrounding over the 1972 Charles Bronson remake of THE MECHANIC which starred none others than Jason Statham, looks like an obvious pitch for a third sequel for THE TRANSPORTER. Which is of course, anything that has the name of "Jason Statham" and a premise reminiscent of THE TRANSPORTER, it's no surprising that THE MECHANIC is the same-old action formula that we have seen countless times before. But unlike THE TRANSPORTER which has its fair share of guilty-pleasure entertainment moment, THE MECHANIC is more of a slow-burning slog. More on that later.

The story: After professional hitman Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) pulled off a successful latest target over a Colombian cartel dealer Jorge Lara (James Logan), whom he manages to drown him underneath his own mansion's swimming pool, he returns home to New Orleans awaiting his next assignment. When his boss of the shady corporation Dean Sanderson (Tony Goldwyn) assigns him the next job, Arthur is surprised to learn that his new target is his wheelchair-bound former mentor Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland). At first he is reluctant to take the job but in the end, business is business. After Harry is out of the picture, along came his no-good alcoholic son Steve (Ben Foster) arrive to find his father's killer (he doesn't know Arthur killed his father) and he wants Arthur to train him as a "mechanic" (a term refers as a "fixer" who eliminate wanted target) as well.

Lewis John Carlino and Richard Wenk's screenplay is threadbare and it could have work upon its favor to generate a fast-paced narration focuses more on action than talks. But director Simon West, whose last movie was the 2006's WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, insists on focusing character-driven drama where the pace is slow and steady. Actually it's a refreshing move but a movie that headlined by Jason Statham doesn't exactly transcends into a good idea after all. Statham, as always, is the same old monotonous hero we have seen him countless times before. Despite the fact he's a natural when comes to his familiar territory, his once-engaging presence has now becomes a tedious bore to watch him goes by. Ben Foster, on the other hand, seems to be in the wrong movie altogether. Make no mistake, he has his fair share of compelling performance here but ultimately his character is defeated by the weak script that drowned him altogether.

In the meantime, there are surprisingly little action for this kind of genre. While Simon West is a deft hand when comes to action set-piece (notably on 1997's CON AIR and among others), he seems to favor more on tight close-up and the ever-annoying shaky cam technique. Still, there are some worthy moments throughout the movie: the fight-to-the-death scene between Steve and a hulking gay killer; the exciting chase scene between a car and a bus; and of course the cleverly twisted conclusion where Arthur and Steve tries to outwit each other. That particular ending is the most redeemable quality for this otherwise forgettable movie and if only Simon West can retained that kind of same momentum, THE MECHANIC would have been a good entertainment. Instead, what you get here is merely a half-realized effort belong squarely to one of those listless action pictures easily found in the bargain-bin basement.

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