Jason Statham stars in the remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film The Mechanic. He plays Bishop, who is known as a ‘mechanic’ – an elite assassin with a strict code and unique talent for cleanly eliminating targets. It’s a job that requires professional perfection and total detachment, and Bishop is the best in the business. But when his mentor and close friend Harry (Donald Sutherland) is murdered, Bishop is anything but detached. His next assignment is self-imposed – he wants those responsible dead. His mission grows complicated when Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) approaches him with the same vengeful goal and a determination to learn Bishop’s trade.
Statham plays the role with control and grace, but the direction of the film takes us away from the well-though out execution at the beginning, rather relying on the sedate and odd relationship between Bishop and Steve. The outbursts of action and violence are not as exciting as the opening sequence, which but help to tell the story and development of Steve and his thirst for revenge. The relationship between Steve and Bishop remains cold and distant from beginning to end and could have used a bit more emotion. Many have faulted Statham for making the movie cold and one-dimensional, but the fault doesn’t lie with Statham, it rests with a story that’s in need of something more.
Directed by Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Con Air), The Mechanic is based on a screenplay by Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino (1972’s The Mechanic, story also by Lewis John Carlino). West did a good job bringing the ‘72 classic into the modern age, but the story could have been worked over to include more scenes like the early execution. It might have been more interesting to follow Bishop on a few missions rather than face the son of his friend.
The Mechanic might not be the movie to make Statham a mainstream star, but it certainly won’t hurt. It’s not a fun movie to dive into – it’s dark, cold and emotionally violent, but it’s also not something to leave on the shelf when choosing between it or an average b-action flick.