What I do requires a certain mindset… Jason Statham is back this week in Mechanic: Resurrection, so I’m taking a look back at the first film. The Snooty Ushers’ Number 1 Actor AND one of our Dependables are in it – what more could you possibly want?
So, I don’t know if you have noticed, but Jason Statham is bit of a personal favourite. There are very few people who can do “action” as well as he does, and so far he has always delivered on the big screen. When Sylvester Stallone needed a younger star to do the heavy lifting in The Expendables, The Stath was the obvious choice. This is a remake of a Michael Winner film from 1972 that starred Charles Bronson, and famously had a 16 minute opening with no dialogue.
This version is directed by Simon West (Con Air), and the opening scene, although not as long as the original, sees hitman Arthur Bishop (Statham) drowning a cartel boss in the swimming pool of his own home. He is a “mechanic” – literally someone who takes care of problems. He is given a target, and kills them in a way that leaves no trace of his presence. Sometimes it look like an accident. Sometimes it puts the suspicion on someone else. But they always end up dead.
Bishop meets up with Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland) his mentor and handler in an anonymous roadside cafe to get his payment. Harry works for the government, and Bishop is the type of deniable asset that they use to do the dirty jobs they cannot be seen to be involved in. But, after a botched mission in South Africa leaves five other mechanics dead, Bishop is contacted with a new target – Harry. As ever, Bishop completes the job, but still feels remorse for his mentor. When Harry’s wayward son Steve (Ben Foster) turns up at the burial, Bishop offers to help him out, at first with money, but later by sharing some of his skills, eventually himself becoming a mentor. Steve has potential, but is he too hot headed and emotional to become a mechanic? And how will he react when he discovers the truth about his father’s death?
You see, this is the type of performance that made Jason Statham our Number 1 Actor, and why Ben Foster deserves his place as one of our Dependables. Both of them are great here. Statham is fantastic as the remorseless assassin, and his physical work here is top notch as usual. But the brief relationship between Bishop and Harry is believable and real. Now, a lot of that is Donald Sutherland, but Statham more than just holds up his part of the deal. Similarly, Statham and Foster have a friendship that develops through the film. Jason Statham’s characters always have just a little bit extra going on beyond being just a bland action cliche, and this is another one of them.
I’ve got to admit, I didn’t expect this film to get a sequel, simply due to how no nonsense both the mechanic and The Mechanic are. In the same way that Bishop quickly and efficiently takes care of his targets, the film tells its story without fuss. This makes it such an enjoyable action film. Sutherland is used perfectly, Foster is tough but vulnerable, and of course Statham delivers the goods. Plus, director West knows exactly what the audience wants – we get increasingly violent and brutal fights, car chases, shoot-outs (including one memorably O.T.T. double machine gun scene) and it all culminates in a huge explosion.
In fact, TWO huge explosions. So I’ll ask again… what more could you possibly want?
Mechanic Resurrection is released in the US and UK on Friday 26th August.
The Mechanic is on Netflix now, and pops up quite often on Film4.
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
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