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RANT: Even though I could rant about something non-movie related, I still find new things to rant about during my movie going experience. The first is that I bought a new water bottle, so that I can stop ingesting all of the carcinogens from the reused Poland String bottles. That's a good thing. The second is that, although I am all for saving concession money by bringing your own foods, you should remove your food from the store or home from their crinkling plastic store bags so that the rest of us do not have listen to you rummage around with whatever you are hunting for at the bottom of the bag through the entire third act of the film. Come on, people!
SYNOPSIS: An elite contract hitman teaches his trade to his assassinated mentor's son.
Simon West, a better known director for television action series like The Human Target and The Cape, brings Jason Statham to the screen with a role that plays to all of the actor's strong points. Rebooting the Charles Bronson 1972 film of the same name, Statham portrays Arthur Bishop, a stone-cold assassination machine. Tasked with eliminating his longtime mentor, Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland) by the shadowy government-affiliated corporation run by Mr. Dean (Tony Goldwyn), Bishop finds himself at a moral crossroad. Once he completes his contract, Bishop runs across Harry's son, Steve (Ben Foster), who is looking for vengeance for his father's assassination and for training in the trade by Bishop.
The opening sequence of the film lets us in on Bishop's methods and exactitude when he attempts to kill a Colombian drug lord within his heavily fortified estate while said drug lord takes an afternoon swim in his indoor pool - all the while with armed security watching from the mezzanine above. The contracts that Bishop undertakes all run to completion like clockwork, all intricate and exact.
But once Foster's Steve McKenna comes looking for training and payback for his father, it seems that Bishop smooth running world may be encountering a few speed bumps. Two of the contracts that Bishop assigns the younger McKenna end up as such skin-of-you-teeth events, that you really do feel bad for what Bishop has to deal with - even though the resulting action is fun to watch.
From the beginning with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Statham exudes that steely, confident and calculating demeanor that has landed him a couple action franchises (Crank and The Transporter series) and has put him into many other films that require the same skill set. Strangely enough, I think even now that many may still not consider Statham a full-blown action star to the caliber of Stallone or Schwarzenegger. In The Mechanic, he still delivers - and with style!
Ben Foster, one of my personal favorite actors to watch, brings a subtle crazy to his role of Steve McKenna. His intentions seem straightforward as he hones his skills to face his father's killer but every directive from the expert Bishop seems to be more of a suggestion to McKenna, as he finds his own more personal and visceral way of dealing with the issues of the day.
Tony Goldwyn and Donald Sutherland round out the main cast, one as the man who pulls the strings on every contract, the other as Bishop's now wheelchair-bound mentor and friend. All of the other cast, from Bishop's prostitute female companion to the whiskey loving old man who watches Bishop's New Orleans skiff, are simply colorful background to the main players.
If you are a Jason Statham fan, this film comes in ahead of Death Race, but behind The Transporter and The Italian Job. But as with any of his films, The Mechanic is definitely fun to watch.
Worth: Matinee or DVD
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