Jason Statham has built a cult following based on the silent but steady action characters he has created. He is back in his new film The Mechanic, playing a fascinating and intriguing hit man. The film is a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson star of the same name. He and Bronson share the same silent and moody aura.
Statham plays a guy named Arthur who performs "hits" on people he is assigned to wipe out. He is a "mechanic" as he knows what he is doing and does it effectively. His mentor is Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland) and they both work for the top man whose name is Dean (Anthony Goldwyn).
Early on in the film Arthur is assigned a job and it is to eliminate Harry. This is a complex element of the plot but Arthur does what he has been tasked to do. Feeling guilty he meets up with Harry's son Steve (Ben Foster) and decides to mentor him in the tools of his trade. Steve is an adept student and soon is working jobs with Arthur.
The relationship between Arthur and Steve; the guilt Arthur feels over Harry's death; and the complexity of Arthur's relationship with Dean all add up to a suspenseful film that is full of twists and turns. Just when you think you have something figured out the next scene complicates it.
Statham is like a coiled spring and the audience never knows where or how he is going to strike. He likes roles where his actions speak louder than words, so in most of his films he is the strong silent type.
Foster is a good counterpart for Statham. He is wiry in his build and fierce in his expression. There is always something going on behind Foster's eyes and this makes Steve as explosive as Arthur is. When he and Statham are on the screen together the audience doesn't know who to watch more intently.
Sutherland is such a legendary actor that he adds gravitas to any role he plays. He isn't on screen that much in The Mechanic but he makes a huge impression in the scenes in which he is featured. Goldwyn has been a hissable villain since his role in "Ghost" and he is still refining his most hateful characteristics.
The film is rated R for profanity, violence and nudity.
Watching a Statham movie is like riding a bucking bronco. You have to hold on tight and go with the flow. A film like The Mechanic will never win any acting awards but it sure is pure entertainment of the violent kind from beginning to end, and for many of us that is enough.
I scored The Mechanic a fixed 7 out of 10.