Jason Statham And Ben Foster Deliver Guns And Blazes In "The Mechanic"
Statham plays Arthur Bishop, an assassin who specializes in eliminating his victims whilst making the deed appear to be an accident. Bishop is forced to assassinate his mentor, Harry, played by Donald Sutherland. From there, the film focuses on Bishop's training of Harry's deliquent son, Steve, who is portrayed in the film by Ben Foster. Overcome by the guilt of killing his former mentor, Arthur trains Steve in the deadly arts, preparing him to exact revenge on his father's killer.
There doesn't seem much point in describing the rest of the film. The rest of the plot is as predictable and unimaginative as is Statham's acting. It's not that the film is overtly bad; it's shot fairly well, the effects are good, and the action is very explosion-oriented. The biggest problem is the film's blandness. Stealing a plotline from a previous work has become such common practice that we no longer view it as copyright infringement, but rather a "creative re-imagining," and I'm largely ok with that at this point, at least to the point that I recognize that the trend isn't going anywhere.
The problem here is that the final product is COMPLETELY bereft not only of originality, but creativity. Anyone who has seen any of Statham's films has seen this movie. There are the same cars, the same martial arts, the same women beautiful women, the same lonely hero routine. The entire film could easily have been pieced together from stock footage.
Even the actors themselves seem completely bored with what they are doing in the film. On paper, the cast should be fantastic; Sutherland is a legend, while Ben Foster is normally excellent. Even the film's bad guy is a good choice, being played by Tony Goldwyn who gained notoriety playing the villain in Ghost. Unfortunately all of them deliver wooden, uninspired performances, as if they had showed up for their paycheck and read through their scenes that day. Even when justice is delivered in the form of a cathartic hail of lead, Statham and Foster's characters look as if they could be casually sipping a latte with their non-uzi toting hand, rather than exacting the revenge for which they had planned and prepared obsessively for months.
If you aren't looking for anything more than typical Statham fare, this film is fine. The girls, guns, and guts are all there. But for anyone who desires any semblance of depth in a film, "The Mechanic" needs fixing.
Reach reporter Sam Osborn here.