Sunday, June 19, 2011

THE MECHANIC (2011) - Review

Jason Statham is Bishop, a stone-cold hitman with a very good track record. Killing you and making it look like an accident is a walk in the park for him. His perfectly disciplined life hits a speed bump, though, when his employer, Dean (Tony Goldwyn) contacts him for a new job. The target : Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), a member of the same company and Bishop's mentor. He goes through with it. This is the nature of his job and even if he refused to do it, someone else would have readily taken the assignment. Guilt-ridden, he recruits McKenna's son, Steve (Ben Foster), as his apprentice and introduces him to the world of high class assassinations, which will, of course, end up becoming a quest for revenge.

The movie, directed by Simon West ("Con Air"), is nothing more than a hyper-active violent B-flick shot in muddled sepia tones. Remade after a Charles Bronson movie, "The Mechanic" plays it cool and fast, doing away with things it doesn't aboslutely need, things like character developement or plot. It just move forward at breakneck-speed through required checkpoints. By the end of it, you'll hardly even remember what it was all about.

It's all designed to dazzle you with its ultra-violent action scenes and no-nonsense attitude, but it does find a way for the two leading actors to stand out among all the mayhem. Statham is perfect as the professional hitman. He's cool and reserved. A man of few words, calculated and always looking for the clean hit. Foster is equally effective as the hot-headed rookie, full of anger and frustration. They team up and do their jobs, forming an uneasy alliance that pretty much holds the focus of the plot, giving us something to hold on to as the scenes in this movie whizz past us like bullets in a firefight.

In a way "The Mechanic" is better than you'd expect, because it doesn't get entangled in excessive cheesiness. Even the one-liners seem toned down, thanks to Statham's dead-pan delivery. It's just an action movie and it isn't ashamed to act accordingly. So what if you can't really connect to the drama ? So what if the inner conflict of the characters is never truly addressed ? You came to see Statham kick some ass, and that's exactly what you're gonna get.

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