In simple wordings, “The Mechanic” goes something like this. Talk, action set piece, another talk, another action set piece, repeat. In fact, to me, it does seems that the film was merely a series of action set piece focusing on either Jason Statham or Ben Foster or both doing whatever violence their characters are prone and wont to do. Granted, some of the set pieces were quite exciting, but after a while, as we didn’t see something that we haven’t seen before, and the amusement for these characters are dwindling, impatience and boredom are probably the natural responses.
This film was both a hitman film and a mentor, protégé film which has been exercised by many before and had achieved significantly better results. Jason Statham, once again donned his macho persona we’ve all used to know (and which I’m shamelessly in love with) is Arthur Bishop, a professional killer, a gun for hire, and of course, “the best” in his field. He could slip into a mansion guarded by a small army, lays hiding in its private pool, killed his target during his evening swimming routine, slips outside masquerading as kitchen’s staff, and made a stylish exit from atop of a bridge. How he got there? Doesn’t matter. The scene meant to show his resourcefulness and his meticulous and elaborate plan, and it worked. Somewhere along the way, he took a protégé, his only friend’s son, Steve McKenna (Ben Foster) as his partner, probably his successor.
Now I feel like I’m watching two different films. Before and after Steve McKenna. In a pure sense of entertainment, the ‘before’ part was more exciting. I’m not expecting much from Jason Statham and I’m not considering myself as a fan because he’s a thespian and known for his talent in acting. I’m a fan because of his imposing demeanor as an action star and his British accent. The first part showcased him in his best albeit a typecast role as an action star who was very comfortable with a multitude of guns and methods of killing. In it, we saw him, learned his background, his methods of work, and a glimpse to his character. This part is where you’d get as much as characterization from Arthur Bishop. It’s a shame that this part ends too soon.
The second part is where Arthur Bishop took Steve McKenna as his protégé. This is where the film goes into a catatonic cycle of action set pieces. At this point, Arthur Bishop’s character had stopped its development and there’s not much to see from Steve McKenna that even if Ben Foster tries to give as much as wiggle in order for his character to grow, the script didn’t allow him to do much except to just making a face (he did well on it), or exchanging few scripts with Jason Statham before relegating into an action scene where he, or Jason, or both at its spotlight.
“The Mechanic” has few notable action scenes particularly during some of the early scenes. I’m particularly fond with the parking lot scene and partially amused by one of the gun ‘demo’ where they showed a bullet big enough to obliterates a concrete wall (that’s news to me). However, as I’ve noted above, there’s nothing really new and compelling with the scenes. There’s no sense of urgency nor imminent danger that threatened our ‘heroes’ that for me, personally, eliminates any personal attachment I had to the characters and therefore making the action scenes as nothing more but just an eye-candy with sole purpose of displaying the human’s brutality.
A friend says that Jason Statham was a typecast as he jumps from role to role with almost identical similarity. Once, this friend of mine wondered about why I liked Jason Statham if he was a typecast as he is. I said, it’s exactly that. I liked him because of his typecast and I don’t mind seeing him donning the same persona over and over again. Meanwhile, Donald Sutherland nails his small part and Ben Foster, even with a small room of improvement given to his character from the script, he manages to shown that he is once again, a promising young actor. He might going to be the next Mark Ruffalo, but who could tell? All in all, fans of actions? I see no reason for you not to love this one. However, if you somehow grow tired of Jason Statham, then you might save a few bucks and few dollars by opt to not watching this.
My rating: ** / **** – An oft rehashed hitman and mentor/protege action film. Offers nothing new and it feels like watching a series of action set pieces with small meaning but as to merely provides an eye-candy and means to shown men’s creative ways to dispose other’s lives. I had a strong objection on how the film chooses to end itself, but I’ll let you to decide it for yourself.