Saturday, January 29, 2011

No Need to Fix The Mechanic

     It's safe to say that now, with the first month of the new decade slowly chilling our bones, one could consider Jason Statham to be among the greater action stars of the past ten years. Whatever film that he appears in--whether that be as a deadly knife expert in The Expendables or an expert car driver in The Transporter (or, let's be honest, an ass-kicking martial artist in every film that he graces his presence with)--there are wonderfully crazy action set pieces and plenty of scenes that display his downright scowl. The Mechanic, a remake of the 1972 film of the same name, throws a few interesting ideas into the Jason-Statham-Action-Movie-Machine, and it mostly succeeds. Statham is as ruthless as ever here, through his character is barely different as any of his others. Look Angry. Become Angry. Say Something Witty. Kill People. Escape With a Death-Defying Stunt. Repeat. Also starring (maybe) my favorite up-and-comer Ben Foster, 2011's The Mechanic is an ultra-violent and entertaining look at a hitman who joins forces with his last target's son to settle some scores.
     "Do you know what a Mechanic is other than the obvious definition?", Statham asks his young trainee. The answer is simple, yet complex. Essentially, the film is about an elite hitman that completes contracts for the company that he works for. Sounds simple enough. Why not just call this movie Jason Statham Action Vehicle Circa 2011? One of the reasons that it is slightly more than that is the two presences in the film other than Statham himself: the previously mentioned Ben Foster and the underused Donald Sutherland. Let's start with the elder. Nobody ever talks about Donald Sutherland; however, one would be hard-pressed to find an older actor that displays sinister charm and witty grumpy-old-man better than him. In this film, he portrays a middle man between the company that contracts the killings and Statham himself. Things do not go as planned once the company surpasses Sutherland's character to give Statham his next contract: killing Sutherland himself, due to a supposed treason that Sutherland recently committed. Ben Foster plays Sutherland's son, and him and Statham eventually team up to try and take down the entire operation.
    I've appreciated Ben Foster's talents far longer than most, starting with his years on one of HBO's best shows ever, Six Feet Under. He continued catching my attention is roles in Alpha Dog (I know...), 3:10 to Yuma, and more recently, the exceptional The Messenger. In my view, there is one simple quality that makes an actor great: you can't take your eyes off of them when they are on the screen. Foster has this quality, and I look forward to seeing him in roles for years to come. In this film, he takes a leap into a new role: action movie star. Whether he is taking on a 6' 7", 300 pound man or three thugs at once or drinking whiskey by the glass, Foster eradicates them with brutal force and emotion. He learns the ropes from Statham's character in the film, and apparently the montage of him shooting assault rifles gave him the ability to be precise and sure with the trigger, because throughout the entire film, he gives the star Staham a run for his money in terms of violent and entertaining killings.
     That's not to say that the film doesn't have it's share of problems and questions to be raised. Such as: why does it seem like in these types of films, there are no police officers rushing to the scenes of massive explosions and shootouts with P-90's and AK-47's? I don't remember seeing one cop throughout the whole movie doing anything to prevent or try and stop the massive cluster fucks that befell the cities and characters. Christ, I don't even remember seeing a police officer in the film at all. I guess that's what critics like to call, "A Suspension of Disbelief". That is, take the ass-kicking as it comes and don't bother asking logical questions. Fortunately, that's just how I enjoy my action movies.    (B)

1 comment:

  1. Why didn't you mention Crank 2: High Voltage when you were talking about great Jason Statham movies?