Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Mechanic

Good action movies are pretty hard to come by. You really have to match the escapism with a dependable story. As far as I'm concerned, John McTiernan's Die Hard is probably the best action movie ever made, but every year there is at least one truly dependable action movie. Last year we had Joe Carnahan's The A-Team, a film that was as exciting as it was well-acted and shot. The film, for me, was a guilty-pleasure adrenaline ride. The Mechanic, the new film from Simon West (Con Air), is somewhere in between being a fun movie and a truly ridiculous movie. Not as skillfully made as The A-Team was (and I'm in the minority on The A-Team even being enjoyable), but it still has some escapist moments despite a dull story.

Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is known as a "mechanic," a slang term for a hit-man. His mentor, Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), is killed by the company they both work for because McKenna may have started selling out the company's employees. Arthur is then introduced to Harry's son, Steve (Ben Foster), who wants to follow in his father's footsteps. There is more to the plot in the early moments of the movie, such as who is really behind Harry's death, but I'll leave those plot-points to be discovered when one watches the movie.

Jason Statham is one of my favorite action stars at the moment. Yes, he does some bad movies even by "B-movie" standards, but every so often he does a good bit of character acting (Snatch, The Italian Job, The Bank Job) and I'm personally waiting for him to do something that shows he has range (I'm not sure how alone I am in believing that he even has "range"). I'm just waiting for him to do a film more like The American than this. So with Statham doing his action-star bit, that leaves what little emotional elements the film has to be picked up by Ben Foster. He embodied pure villainy in 3:10 to Yuma and was emotionally raw and powerful in The Messenger, so he is simply one of the best young actors working today. He has the grungy, rebellious youth down pat, but the film's story doesn't give him much to work with.

Like I said, it was fun, but at times it sets itself up to be way too serious of a movie and then some physically impossible feat happens. It will get stupid at times, but if you believe in the idea of there being entertainment where you "turn your brain off," then you'll enjoy yourself. I personally, just sat and waited for something exciting to happen.

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