The Mechanic (2011)

Rating: C+

Dir: Simon West
Star: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Tony Goldwyn, Donald Sutherland

Top-class government assassin Bishop (Statham) is ordered to take out his handler McKenna (Sutherland) by his boss Dean (Goldwyn), who says McKenna betrayed the organization and blew an operation in South Africa for money, resulting in the deaths of all the operatives. Reluctantly, McKenna takes the job, making it look like a carjacking gone wrong. At the graveside, Bishop meets McKenna’s son Steve (Fostr), who tries to take revenge on the local criminals, a mission which ends with Bishop accepting accepting him as an apprentice; Steve is unaware he’s training under the man who killed his father.

Eventually Steve is ready to assist Bishop with missions (after a misadventure or two), and following a more-or-less successful assassination of a cult leader, they make their way separately back to their base. But on the way, by chance Bishop sees one of the operatives who was supposed to have died in the South African operation – confirming what the audience probably knew all along. This is a competent remake of the Michael Winner/Charles Bronson film from 1972, with Statham proving an acceptable replacement for Bronson, particularly when it comes to crunchy violence.

Foster delivers there too, in particular with an apartment brawl that takes no prisoners, though I found myself weirdly irritated by the fact he seemed to wear his cap everywhere: indoors, in a car… I was almost expecting to see him keep it on in the shower. On the downside, the plot is entirely predictable, even if you haven’t seen the original (the ending is significantly different here), and none of the actors involved have the opportunity to do anything much with their characters. It’s a competent slab of action cinema, and is as well-staged as you’d expect given West’s pedigree in this area. However, it’s largely indistinguishable from any of the other Statham movies in which he runs around and kills people. Hey, at least he sticks to what he does best.