by M. Faust
Take this as a recommendation or not, but the best thing about The Mechanic is that there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. Remade from a 1972 Charles Bronson movie directed by Michael Winner (the same team that hit pay dirt two years later with Death Wish), this action movie stars Jason Statham as a professional assassin of the kind that probably only exists in the movies: sleek, quiet, able to pick off his targets with minimal fuss. He of course only kills such scum as international drug lords, sexually perverse cult leaders, and competitors who lack his moral code (which is to say, targets who evoke no sympathy from us). Forced to bend his code somewhat by the shadowy organization he works for, his guilt leads him into taking on as an apprentice the dead man’s wastrel son (Ben Foster).
The screenplay for the 1972 film was written by Lewis John Carlino (The Great Santini, Seconds, The Fox), and while he gets full credit here, my guess is that the job of adaptor Richard Wenk was to strip it of everything other than the barest plot details. It would be preposterous if you had a few seconds to think about any of it, but director Simon West (Con Air) keeps things zipping along without lingering on the details. Which is not to say that it’s one of those mile-a-minute overedited effects films that beats you into submission before the end of the first reel. Statham is no one’s idea of an actual actor, and is not taxed here: Foster is, as is Donald Sutherland, who appears briefly, and one hopes they were well paid for lending a little dignity to the proceedings. It should have been a little better, it could have been a lot worse, and while it holds your attention for 90 minutes, it’s not likely to take up any space in your long term memory.
Watch the trailer for The Mechanic
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