Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Tony Goldwyn, Donald Sutherland, Jeff Chase, Mini Anden, James Logan, Eddie J. Fernandez, Joshua Bridgewater, John McConnell, Christa Campbell, Joel Davis, Mark Anthony Nutter, Ardy Brent Carlson
Written by: Richard Wenk, Lewis John Carlino, based on a story by Lewis John Carlino
Directed by: Simon West
MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity
Running Time: 92
Date: 01/13/2011

The Mechanic (2011)

3 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jason Statham, with his growling, British accent and his working class looks, is one of the best action heroes in years, and he steps easily into Charles Bronson's shoes. The Mechanic -- a remake of Bronson's 1972 film -- is less sprightly and sleek than Statham's Transporter and Crank films, but it adds a bit more heft to the drama. Ben Foster matches him as a small, severely damaged, slightly demented soul who eagerly and easily takes to the assassination game. Donald Sutherland and Tony Goldwyn offer sturdy support.

Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a skilled, effective hitman thanks to careful planning. Unfortunately, he gets assigned to take out his boss, and friend, Harry (Donald Sutherland). Harry, it seems, was involved in a bloody double-cross that resulted in the deaths of several good men. After performing this painful job, Harry's son Steve (Ben Foster) comes around and appeals to Arthur to train him for the same line of work. Arthur reluctantly agrees, and after a rocky start the two begin to make a pretty good team. Until, that is, Arthur discovers a clue to the origin of the double cross. A bit of revenge is in order.

On the downside, however, there's the sloppy direction by Simon West (Con Air, The General's Daughter Tomb Raider), who cut his teeth in the Jerry Bruckheimer school of filmmaking. His action scenes are ugly and choppy, and his rhythms are slightly off. When in doubt, he makes things bigger. Add to that some slight script improbabilities, such as Steve's sudden, drastic improvement in skill level, and the movie is knocked down a few pegs. But The Mechanic still provides some solid thrills.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released a slam-bang Blu-Ray with lots of trailers, some deleted and extended scenes, and a featurette.

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