In 1972, Charles Bronson was the star of director Charles Winner’s action/thriller “The Mechanic.” A movie that wears its era in every frame. Also starring a young and handsome Jan-Michael Vincent, this film told the story of a hitman passing on his trade, of executing hits by making them look like an accident, to a young protege. This gritty and violent film for its time defines Charles Bronson’s work in cinema. In 2011, Jason Statham tried his hand at a more action oriented remake. While it was an average attempt at a remake, no one expected that it warranted a sequel. You can’t keep a good hitman down even in death.
Mechanic: Resurrection sees the return of Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop. Living a life of quiet contemplation after faking his own death. Arthur is tracked down by a mysterious woman asking Bishop to take out three targets. Bishop proceeds to fight off mercenaries and escape the woman and get to the more friendly shores of Thailand. Once there he meets an old friend who needs his help with a woman who is being abused by her boyfriend. Bishop doesn’t want to get involved, but against his better judgement does help and leads him down a path to rediscovering a shadowy man from his past that will persuade Bishop to get back to doing what he does best.
If you took the DNA of James Bond and Jason Bourne and put them together in a petri dish and it mutated you’d get The Mechanic’s Arthur Bishop. This sounds like faint praise and you’d be right. Jason Statham’s second at bat with this character is a typical end of Summer actioner. This film is light on any real substance, but attempts to make up for that in globe hopping action, inventive assassinations, an underwhelming villain and an attractive Jessica Alba to ogle in a bikini. Jason Statham feels at home in this type of role, although his gravelly voiced and often misunderstood tone does become grating to listen to after 30 minutes. Tommy Lee Jones even shows up towards the end of the film and not surprisingly does the best acting in the film with what felt like a total of 10 minutes of screen time. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment to Jones or an insult to Statham? Out of all the unbelievable action that occurs in this film nothing is more unbelievable than convincing the audience that Jason Statham and Jessica Alba have any attraction towards one another.
The Mechanic: Resurrection is a serviceable attempt at turning this series into a franchise, but even with the attempt at making the film bigger than it is it doesn’t feel at home on the big screen. This movie will work better on our home theatre screens as part of a saturday afternoon action double feature with The Expendables. All the things that The Mechanic: Resurrection does right I can’t recommend spending your money to see it. Do yourself a favor and wait for it on video. If you must spend your money at the theatre on an action film see Jason Bourne. Its story is more involving, its action more realistic and Tommy Lee Jones, who is also in it, has much more screen time and is quite the adversary for Matt Damon’s Bourne.