Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Mechanic

Directed by Simon West.
2011. Rated R, 92 minutes.
Jason Statham
Ben Foster
Tony Goldwyn
Donald Sutherland
Jeff Chase
Mini Anden

Bishop (Statham) is a gifted hitman specializing in unconventional kills. He’s also all business. So when his next target is his only friend in the world, he only raises a small fuss before doing the job. As expected, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Bishop finding out what’s below the surface by accident ensues. The main thing that happens isn’t quite an accident, but definitely not a planned event. Bishop meets his buddy’s estranged son Steve (Foster). Yes, the same buddy he just killed. By what can’t be considered good logic, he takes Steve under his wing, training him in the ways of assassination. A remake of the 1972 film starring Charles Bronson.

For whatever problems this movie has, and it does have problems, time is not among them. It’s a brisk ninety minutes that feels like sixty. Like it, or not, sitting through it doesn’t feel like a chore. You hit the close button on your DVD player and a few moments later, the credits are rolling. In an era where lots of movies stretch themselves out to well over two hours for no good reason other than justifying their bloated budgets, this element is refreshing.

With that previous stuff said, it can move a little too fast. Another ten or fifteen minutes wouldn’t have hurt anything. In fact, it would’ve helped things develop into something approaching logical. Bishop continually and willfully breaks his own rules for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, Steve almost magically becomes an expert “mechanic” (that’s the slang here for hitman). The overall effect is that the story is strangely more preposterous than the action. By the way, the action is very well done. The movie is also predictable. It pretends we don’t know who’s who. However, within five seconds of him appearing on the screen we know the identity of the villain. This robs us of intrigue and possibly having empathy for our heroes. The very end throws us a nice curveball, but its not quite enough to save the whole thing. That’s because instead of being engrossed in the story, we’re merely watching things happen in front of us.

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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