Review by Gordon Justesen
Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn
Director: Simon West
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Features: See Review
Length: 93 Minutes
Release Date: May 17, 2011
“Those were my two best teams. I guess I'll have to send more.”
“Save the fuel. I'm coming for you.”
Ever since he established himself as one of the top tier stars of the action genre, Jason Statham's movies have become more or less interchangeable. This doesn't include the Crank movies, which are quite original pieces of work. But because Statham carries himself so extremely well in these movies, and there are few guys around in the business who have successfully filled the shoes of Schwarzenegger or Stallone, fans of the genre always have something to look forward to when he comes out with a new movie.
Such is the case with The Mechanic, which is a remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson movie. I never saw the original, but from what I've been told this update has very much upped the ante as far as action goes. It's a downright perfect vehicle for Statham, as it put's the action star's badassery to explosive use.
Arthur Bishop (Statham) is an expert assassin who relies on specific details in order to pull off jobs without a single trace. He frequently hires his services out to a shadowy company. Bishop is caught by surprise to find that his latest assignment involves taking out his longtime mentor, Harry (Donald Sutherland). According to Bishop's boss, Dean (Tony Goldwyn), Harry has been leaking sensitive information, and has thus become a liability.
Bishop agrees to the job, and carries it out with a great deal of regret. Not too long afterward, Bishop is greeted at Harry's cemetery by the man's son, Steve (Ben Foster). He's a hot tempered deadbeat who never saw much of his old man, but is there to pay his respects nonetheless.
Steve, as it turns out, is interested in what Bishop does for a living. With no other direction in life for him, he expresses interests in being trained as something of an apprentice. Bishop is hesitant at first, but eventually gives into the young man's request, as it may be a means to mask the guilt of carrying out his last job.
The movie wastes no time in applying the formula of the professional teaching the young inexperienced newcomer all the ins and outs of a skillfully trained hitman. It's a plot line we've see done countless times before (possibly in past Statham movies, no less), but the training methods here are something of a first. One of the first tests Bishop puts Steve through is quite complex, and leads to quite a brutal and bloody resolution.
But Bishop's superior doesn't much like the fact that he's begun working alongside a newly trained assassin, and really don't like the fact that the newly trained assassin happens to be the son of Bishop's last target. And when Bishop soon discovers that he was setup in an unexpected fashion to carry out that last job, he doesn't much like that either...so he and Steven soon take the war to them.
This is, to simply put it, a movie that knows its audience and delivers the basic essentials of what that audience expects. In this case, that means 90 minutes of ass-kicking, explosions, shootouts and Jason Statham looking as badass as possible. But this movie also carries a bonus in the form of an unexpected final moment, which completely worked for me
As far quick and efficient action thrillers go, The Mechanic, gets the job done...just like the lead character.
This Blu-ray release from Sony boasts a striking, lively picture right from the very beginning. Colors are incredibly strong and are displayed terrifically. Image detail is crisp and clear throughout the movie, whether in light or darkened areas. The New Orleans setting is captured quite effectively, especially in the sun-drenched daytime shots. Skintones are also on grand display, which works well especially in observing Statham's menacing face.
You've got Jason Statham and an arsenal big enough to level an entire city. What's even better is all of this is brought to you in glorious DTS HD! This is one slam-bangin' piece of lossless audio. Everything here is delivered in the fullest effect, but the action sequences are indeed the highlight. Pretty much the last half of the movie is enough wall to wall fighting, gun play, explosions and car crashing for two movies (Statham gets to drive a garbage truck at one point...meaning he's come close to driving every possible vehicle throughout his filmography). Dialogue delivery and music playback are also delivered in top-flight form. In terms of big time HD audio, this is a can't lose release.
Included is a brief featurette titled “Tools of the Trade”, as well as around ten minutes worth of Deleted and Extended Scenes.
Basically if Jason Statham is given an action role, then I'm a happy camper. The Mechanic is guarantee to satisfy die hard fans of both Statham and action thrillers with something of a brutal edge. On Blu-ray, it's even more explosive!