Jason Statham, a name synonymous with B movies, deserves more than being cast in run-of-the-mill action movies. ‘The Mechanic’, while certainly not a terrible addition to the genre, could have worked better. Of course, like every other Statham film, the point is not to convince yourself that you shall be exposed to pure grandeur, but instead reluctantly resign your mind to the knowledge that while Statham has potential for greater things, another formulaic flick is what we’re left with.
The problem with the movie is not Statham himself; the man carries a dynamic persona that always leaves the audience hungry for more. Having proved himself time and time again as an unstoppable fighting machine, there remains hardly any army of villains that can hope to present a challenge. I blame the lack of creativity that went into ‘The Mechanic’ for the way it blandly tracks along. Taking up the familiar theme of training a protégé to work alongside the protagonist, actor Ben Foster fills the role; Statham, eventually enlists Foster to work with him as a hit man. Therein lies a bit of irony and tension that the movie plays out rather successfully. Statham kills Donald Sutherland, a welcome addition to the film, and yet it is Sutherland’s son, blissfully unaware that his teacher assassinated his father, who happily tags along for the ride.
The audience is left feeling uneasy as Foster begins putting together the pieces of his father’s murder; we know the eventual confrontation between the two hit-men must come eventually. Yet here’s one of the movie’s central problems: the time it takes for Statham to train Foster. With nothing more than a quick montage, kind of like what we got in ‘Bangkok Dangerous,’ the disgruntled young man, looking for an outlet for his anger, becomes one of the planet’s most dangerous individuals. Though having had no previous experience in such matters, it should have taken years, and not hours, to get the lay of the land.
Parts of the movie really aren’t that interesting and are sometimes questionable as we’re wondering why Statham feels the need to kill anyone and everyone. Oh sure, the movie gives the trite reason of having been betrayed by those he was hired by, but certainly the writers could have gotten more creative. Either way, you get what you pay for. The action sequences aren’t special or even reasonably impressive, the teacher-pupil relationship serving as the movie’s most intriguing point.
I didn’t dislike ‘The Mechanic,’ since I knew exactly what I was going into, but I was disappointed. The best parts take place towards the end, when the entire film should have been not only outrageous, but also good. At this point in his career, Jason Statham deserves exceptionally more than what he’s been given and hopefully, we’ll start getting movies like “The Transporter’ again.