Statham and Foster are excellent together, and there are some nice tense moments and action spots
Plot: Hitman Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) kills his mentor, Harry (Donald Sutherland) and then trains Harry’s son, Steve (Ben Foster), on the trade of murder for hire.
Review: Never having seen the original 1972 flick starring Charles Bronson, I didn’t have a profound moral outrage about Hollywood remaking yet another film. That being said, I rarely like remakes, even if I haven’t seen the original. They often seem sloppy and dull, making me wish I’d watched the original instead.
Well, The Mechanic is neither sloppy nor dull. I own the Bronson movie and am sure when I do watch it, it will be kick-ass (after all, it’s Bronson), but The Mechanic was a hell of a fun ride. Most of that has to do with Statham himself, who seems born for the role. A mysterious, focused, all-business Statham? I know, it’s Parker, it’s Safe, it’s the Transporter, it’s a lot of his other roles. But when it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it.
Pairing him with Ben Foster was a genius move. Foster has his own intensity that he brings (check out Hostage if you want creepy and psycho Ben Foster, for instance), and his chemistry with Statham is undeniable. There’s something sympathetic and likeable about him in the movie, even though you know there will be a parting of the ways between him and Statham. Most of the film, I was rooting for Foster’s character to make it as a hitman, even though you know when he finds out the truth, the shit will hit the fan.
My only negative is that I didn’t care for the swerve regarding Donald Sutherland’s character. Even though it meant having Tony Goldwyn as the villain, which was a treat, it felt contrived. I called the twist a mile away and wished they had just left it as the Sutherland hit being justifiable. That would have made things more interesting between Statham and Foster’s characters, with neither being right nor wrong.
The action in this was bloody good. The fight between Foster and Jeff Chase was unexpectedly downright brutal. The whole scene in the hotel, Foster and Statham hiding behind the mirror, the tension rising, and the subsequent chase was brilliant. Even the ending, one of the best non-confrontation confrontations of all time, was terrific. The drug dealer ruse at the beginning of the film? Outstanding. Simon West really did justice to the action scenes in the film.
The soundtrack was decent. I thought the theme for the Statham character worked, and using a piano was a nice change from the usual electronica mix. The central theme has a relentless beat that also fits the movie perfectly.
I highly recommend this movie, especially if, for some reason, you’re a fan of Statham and haven’t seen it yet. A lot is going on in the film, and the electric partnership of Statham and Foster is top-notch. You won’t be disappointed.