The Mechanic (Blu-ray)
Developing likeable characters is a key component sorely lacking in a lot of movies recently. Of course it’s important in dramas and comedies but it is also important in action films. Action cannot be the star of a successful film if no one cares about the characters. Thankfully, THE MECHANIC succeeds in delivering a fun ride by providing exciting action and cool characters to get behind.
As an elite assassin, Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is near perfect in his killing process without his presence ever being known. Cold and calculated, Arthur finally has a tinge of hesitation when his next assignment is his friend and mentor Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland). Following his death, Harry’s surly quick with a joke son Steve (Ben Foster) becomes an emotional wreck seeking vengeance through chaos. Feeling responsible for Steve, Arthur takes him as his own apprentice fine-tuning Steve’s less refined ways. The two are on a mission to track down and kill Harry’s boss who set him up.
The plot isn’t anything new as structure goes but the filmmakers did create one crucial element that I will keep a secret that helps sustain an ongoing tension throughout the picture without it ever becoming too typical. All the scenes build upon one another to bring the story to the next step. This basic technique deserves a lot of credit in keeping the film moving and the audience involved. The editing, music and structure of the story all do its part in making THE MECHANIC enjoyable. But the real stars of the film are the two leads in Ben Foster and Jason Statham.
Ben Foster has been consistently shining in supporting roles like 3:10 TO YUMA and 30 DAYS OF NIGHT that often overshadow the leads. His performance here is once again exceptional proving he will have a long bright career in Hollywood. He is naturally funny and strong as an emotionally hurt young man that can still take on anyone with fearless abandonment.
Jason Statham is the real deal when it comes to an action star. I can’t heap enough praise upon him because without his presence the film would not work as well as it does. Not many people can play a bad guy and still be the hero. Granted everyone in the picture is bad but I think it could be argued that he is worse than a couple of his victims. The key to his success is a charisma coolness that makes him more likeable than everyone else on screen. I’ve liked him before in good movies such as SNATCH, THE ITALIAN JOB and to a lesser extent THE TRANSPORTER. But seeing him in a more average action film really has made me appreciate him much more. He barely speaks and is upstaged in humor by his apprentice Ben Foster who is also great but the audience can’t help but root for Mr. Statham.
While THE MECHANIC isn’t necessarily groundbreaking or memorable it does its job as fun entertainment, keeping the pace quick, the characters likeable and the action just clever enough to keep the audience interested. Overall a solid movie with good performances that I think action fans will enjoy.
Video: (1080p High Definition 2.40:1) An extremely clear and sharp picture.
Audio: (English 5.1 DTS-HD MA) Explosions, gun fighting, hand to hand combat and dialogue all sound exquisite utilizing the sound to its full capacity.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (10:54): Five scenes wisely cut mostly for unnecessary redundancy spoken by the characters.
Tools of the Trade: Inside the Action (7:48): A quick overview making a few of the action sequences with interviews from the stunt director, Statham and Foster who did most of their own stunts.