Movie Review The Mechanic: Arthur Bishop is a mechanic, but not the kind that tinkers with wrenches, hammers and screwdrivers.
Bishop’s brand of mechanic is a hired killer who gets his hands dirty using a tool box full of assault rifles, knives, pistols and other weapons of mass destruction. And, he’ll put the screws to you, all right, especially if you double cross him, as happens in “The Mechanic.”
When we catch up with Bishop, played broodingly by Jason Statham (“Snatch”), he has just taken out a Colombian drug lord and is returning home to the remote swamplands of New Orleans.
Once inside his tricked-out contemporary-style home, it quickly becomes clear the guy is a meticulous loner. His therapy involves vinyl records, a vintage Porsche and a French Quarter hooker (gratuitous sex alert!).
The only real friend he seems to have is his killer-for-hire mentor, Harry (Donald Sutherland). These are dangerous dudes, not your run-of-the-mill hired guns. They are cerebral killing machines, highly sought after for their skill at making the hit look like an accident or the work of someone else.
After something happens to Harry, Bishop decides to teach the hit-man trade to Harry’s volatile son, Steve, played pitch-perfect by Boston-native Ben Foster (“The Messenger”).
A remake of the 1972 film of the same name that starred Charles Bronson and Jan Michael Vincent, “The Mechanic” takes you on a taut 92-minute adrenaline rush.
Directed with ease by Simon West (“Lara Craft: Tomb Raider”), the action thrives on loud and bloody shootouts and daredevil stunts, many performed by the actors. Richard Wenk’s script has more plot twists than a summer blockbuster. Admittedly, you can see some of the turns coming a mile away, but you forgive the predictability because the leading men, Statham and Foster, are so likable, even in the wake of their gruesome destruction.
Dare I say, they generate more chemistry than Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher in last week’s No. 1 movie, “No Strings Attached.”
Much of the action unfolds as a surprise for the viewer, so to say more would spoil the ride. Statham, no stranger to playing the badass, doesn’t do anything extraordinary here because he doesn’t have to. He’s here solely to deliver tough-guy lines, beat the tar out of people and appear lonely and remorseful. That’s his specialty, which he can dial up on his worst days.
Ditto for Foster, whose character, Steve, is a hotheaded guy nagged by demons. Yup, he thinks he knows more than his teacher, Bishop, and it’s a matter of time before he turns on him. How it all works out, I leave for you to see on your own. There’s a lot going on, but it’s easy to follow.