Jason Statham is that rare consistent action star that you know exactly what you’ll get with his films, and ‘The Mechanic‘ remake is on different, but his acting skills show a little weakness when paired up with Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland.
What I found interesting looking into the history of the original ‘The Mechanic’ movie with Charles Bronson was that critics skewered it for focusing more on the action aspect over acting, but watching it today, it’s a pretty cool kickass film, and Jason Statham has some pretty big shoes to fill tackling this character. Normally, Statham is surrounded by B & C type actors, but in ‘The Mechanic‘ he’s got Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland (who could’ve done this role taking a nap), and up against them you see that his acting is not the strong suit, but when it comes to straight up action, he’s your go to guy. This makes the film fun to watch, although I’m sure it will get mixed reviews. Those of us that love films like ‘The Expendibles’ will be lining up to check this out since January has been pretty much a straight out suckfest for movies. Yes, I know ‘The Green Hornet’ is still in the top 5, but that doesn’t make it suck less; it just shows that there’s so much cabin fever from all the snow ins that they’ll watch anything to get out.
It’s always great to see Donald Sutherland in a film, and he sets the stage well where we see that he’s more fond of his surrogate son Bishop (Statham) than his real son Steve (Foster) who’s just an unlikeable mess. Statham’s character reminded me a lot of his role in ‘The Transporter‘ as his Bishop prides himself on his success rate, by adhering to three steadfast principles: hits that must either look like accidents, cast suspicion entirely on someone else, or send a message to the survivors. As in the other film, Bishop feels that by keeping to himself and just having the occasional one nighter is paramount to his success. This perfect world quickly goes askew when Bishop is assigned to kill his mentor which turns into quite the brutal scene. Statham pulls off the emotional tug of not wanting to do this but realizing that someone else will be coming along to do the job so it might as well be him. Donald Sutherland acts circles around Statham in this scene, but Statham has probably learned a few things about acting working with someone of this caliber.
Ben Foster’s Steve gets into the action as he tries to find out who murdered his dad in his hotheaded way so Bishop takes him under his wing to mentor the guy. This is the cool part of the film as Bishop is training Steve all the aspects of the killing for money trade which could wind up leading to his own demise should the hotheaded kid realize what’s happened. In the original, the age difference between Bronson and his pupil was much greater so you felt that he was more of a father figure, but in ‘The Mechanic’ remake it’s more like two brothers measuring appendages to see who can kill the quickest and best while also blowing lots of stuff up.
‘The Mechanic’s’ definitely worth checking out for all you action junkies, but the bond between Bishop and Steve doesn’t feel as ‘bonded’, and that’s where you can see that Foster’s acting style is many many notches above Statham’s. Not a bad thing, but when it comes time for the emotional bonding part, it doesn’t stick as well as when stuff is blowing up and bullets are flying.
Best Movies Ever Rating: B
The Mechanic is definitely worth checking out at the theater for another consistent Jason Statham movie, but Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland do show the limited range of our favorite action star. Director Simon West did a pretty good job on this remake.
You can check out all the images, clips, posters and trailers for Jason Statham & ‘The Mechanic’ (2011) on our ‘The Mechanic’ Movie Preview Page.