Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: The Mechanic

This review is also posted over at OK.

I don’t have much solid proof, but I’m pretty sure Jason Statham is Batman. No, not the Batman in the movies, but a genuine Batman who has yet to be discovered by the media and runs about in a cape, fighting crime, stopping bad guys and rappelling from buildings just because.

After watching him in approximately 10,000 action movies over the past decade, there is no other possible conclusion to which a reasonable man can arrive. In The Mechanic – which is totally different than The Transporter because he beats up and kills millions of bad guys without getting into car chases rather than getting in them – Statham is at his best. Which is to say, he’s exactly the same as he always is. Batman, after all, isn’t big on variance. He’s got the same intensity whether he’s taking on a gang of thugs or brushing his teeth.

Providing pride to all those affected with male pattern baldness, Statham’s job, as always, is to run around and kill people for no discernable reason. In The Mechanic – which is totally different than Crank because he engages in death-defying stunts not because he’s controlled by criminals who command him to do so but because criminals pay him to do so – Statham treats the screen as though it’s asked him “please, sir, can you tear me a new @hole?” And Statham being a polite and proper British gentleman, is only too willing to comply.

The movie has about as much of a story and character motivation as the video game Pac-Man, but that’s OK. All you really need to know is Batman/Statham is the best ninja samurai black belt judo king in the world, he’s pissed, and this time it’s personal.

All right, all right, there’s a little bit more story than Pac-Man. After an early-film mix-up forces Statham to kill his wise old mentor, he’s forced to take that mentor’s son (Ben Foster), who looks like Statham’s more hairy Mini-Me under his wing. Statham’s course in contract killing is a bit more intense and hands-on than what you’ll find at the University of Phoenix’s comparable curriculum. Blasting security guards through double-sided mirrors, spelunking through innards of buildings and seducing 300-pound security guards in an attempt to slip them mickeys are all on the syllabi. And boy, son, do you learn your lessons well.

If you’re in need of a dumb action flick injection, The Mechanic – which is just like Death Race and The Expendables except for the fact that it doesn’t suck – will fix you but good.

Starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland. Written by Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino, based on a story by Carlino. Directed by Simon West. 92 minutes. Rated R.

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