Worth Watching  The Mechanic (2011)

 

The Mechanic (2011)

The Mechanic (2011..
Views: 1974
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The Mechanic (2011)



Director: Simon West
Writers: Richard Wenk, Lewis John Carlino
Stars: Jason Statham, Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland
Category: Action, Crime, Thriller
Release Date: 2011-01-28
Rate: 6.5/10
Views: 1974

Follows an elite hit man as he teaches his trade to an apprentice who has a connection to one of his previous victims.

As title character Arthur Bishop, a no-nonsense hired killer, Statham is as steely as Bronson, even though the script repeatedly sentimentalizes the original concept. Out of guilt over the death of his mentor and controller (Donald Sutherland), Arthur takes the man\'s aimless, ne\'er-do-well son, Steve (Ben Foster), under his wing as an apprentice. But Steve — through a combination of arrogance and self-destructiveness — repeatedly screws things up; and there\'s always the looming threat of the falling-out between them that we know has to happen.

Director Simon West and screenwriter Richard Wenk have taken the original\'s Lewis John Carlino script and converted it from a \'70s-style existential killer film to a state-of-the-art (read: loud) 21st-century action machine. The soul of the story seems to have been softened, and its contemplative moments excised, to make room for bigger, noisier action set pieces. I rarely can find kind words in my heart for the work of the original\'s director, Michael Winner, but he directed Bronson to a taciturn, internalized performance that Statham could have matched, had the script allowed it.

The old film opened with a dialogue-free sequence, nearly 15 minutes long (yes, as long as the “silent” opening to “There Will Be Blood”), showing Arthur methodically and unemotionally carrying out a single assignment. The filmmakers doubtless worried the pacing would drive today\\\'s action audiences crazy, so instead we get a flashier five-minute equivalent. Where Winner didn\'t have Steve and Arthur team up until past the halfway point, West gets to it within the first half-hour.

The modernized sensibility does have its advantages, though. For one thing, it clears away Winner\'s artsy pretensions. The latter clearly wanted this to be in the mode of John Boorman\'s now classic “Point Blank” (1967) — Jerry Fielding\'s dissonant score makes that clear — but he\'s no Boorman, not by a long shot.

The new version delivers in a far more conventional way, but it does deliver. Foster is a much better actor than his original counterpart, Jan-Michael Vincent — good enough to make us accept what a jerk his character is.

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