The Mechanic is just your typical Jason Statham action film, whether or not that’s a compliment is entirely up to you but he has a brand not unlike Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger from the ‘80s and ‘90s transformed for the 21st century. As for what the Blu-ray offers, the video and audio both deliver the goods but it falls far short in the special features department.
Genre(s): Action, Thriller
Sony | R – 93 min. – $34.95 | May 17, 2011
Directed by: Simon West
Writer(s): Lewis John Carlino (story), Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino (screenplay)
Cast: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn
Theatrical Release Date: January 28, 2011
Features: Featurette, Deleted Scene
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
There’s no doubt about it, Jason Statham is the 21st century version of Arnold Schwarzenegger, sans sexist womanizer and father of a bastard kid, of course (that we know of). I like the guy and I think he is a charismatic actor able to bring personality and likability to even the most mundane and clichéd character. After doing three Transporter movies, the action ensemble The Expendables and two Crank movies, now he’s off to do another fluffy action flick this one blandly entitled The Mechanic.
This go around, Statham plays Frank Martin… err… Arthur Bishop, a hitman working for some obscure and nameless organization jet setting across the globe taking out evil wherever they may live. When the film opens in Columbia, a well protected drug lord is no match as Bishop lies in camouflage at the bottom of a pool waiting for his latest victim, kills the guy and makes it look like an accidental drowning before getting out scot-free undetected. Yep, as you might guess, Arthur Bishop is one of the best assassins working thus he’s the guy to get the job done and get it done right.
His newest assignment, from the head guy of this organization (played by TONY GOLDWYN), is to take out Harry McKenna (DONALD SUTHERLAND). There’s a problem with that one, though because Harry is Bishop’s mentor. After dealing with the dilemma and knowing if he didn’t do it, somebody else would, he takes the job and kills Harry. This isn’t much of a spoiler as it does happen early on. During the aftermath, he meets Harry’s estranged and wayward son, Steve McKenna (BEN FOSTER) who despite not having much of a relationship with his father, wants revenge believing the killer was a carjacker.
So I guess feeling bad for killing his father, Bishop decides to take Steve under his wing and trains him in the ways of stealth assassination. As you can imagine, there’s much drama to be had if and when Steve discovers the truth to how his father actually died. Well… not so much. Yeah, he discovers the truth but it’s kind of a letdown when we get to that point.
The Mechanic is as bland as the title might suggest. It’s a typical Jason Statham action flick that’s only watchable because of Statham himself, with some help by Foster who has been coming into his own that began with 3:10 to Yuma. Aside from Statham – going through a routine that’s no different from his performances in The Transporter, Crank and The Expendables – and Foster, we at least get a decent villain played by Tony Goldwyn whose face alone exudes “Don’t trust me” even when the character himself isn’t anything memorable and the motives are at the very least thin.
The film was directed by Simon West who I know mostly from Tomb Raider and the Hollywood gossip that came out of that project. I guess for the most part West does an OK job with the action scenes and at least makes what could’ve been a direct-to-video flick into something entertaining. This was also the brainchild of Lewis John Carlino the writer of the 1972 original starring, and this is a shocker, Charles Bronson. It was co-written by Richard Wenk who was behind a half-decent thriller 16 Blocks.
All in all, The Mechanic is nowhere near being a great action flick nor is it that good, but it did manage to entertain me through its short 90-minute running time. Jason Statham once again dons the tough guy role we’ve seen several times before from him, of course it helps that he pulls off the part to near perfection even when the script does him no favors. I would give this a moderate recommendation but as a rental only.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.5/5
Deleted & Extended Scenes (10:54; HD) – Here we get an alternate ending to the opening sequence which defeated the purpose of hiring a mechanic to make a murder look accidental and the rest are extended scenes that don’t offer a whole lot more to the film.
Tools of the Trade: Inside the Action (7:48; HD) – This is a very basic behind-the-scenes featurette where the cast and crew talk about making the film but doesn’t delve all that deeply into how the movie was made.
BD-Live – The portal for everything Sony where you can watch trailers to view some mundane featurettes for other movies. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
movieIQ – This is a staple for most Sony releases where, after a long wait, you can watch the film with trivia or filmographies of the various people involved in the production. It’s mainly a useless feature IMO since I could just as easily use IMDb to look up the info if I so choose. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Previews – Faster, Battle: Los Angeles, Insidious and Quarantine 2: Terminal
VIDEO – 4.5/5
The Mechanic is presented in its original 2.40 aspect ratio and looks very good in 1080p high-definition. The picture itself is generally free of flaws like dust and/or grain but still has enough noise to provide fine detail levels throughout. Colors are a bit oversaturated but this is presumably the director’s intention than a studio pumping up the video to make it look good on Blu-ray. In any case, this is a fine video transfer.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio track is also impressive, albeit certainly not the best I’ve heard. Dialogue obviously is clear throughout but there’s also plenty of action scenes that make use of the front and rear channels while the bass kicks in every so often giving the right depth I’m looking for from a lossless track.
OVERALL – 3/5
Overall, The Mechanic is just your typical Jason Statham action film, whether or not that’s a compliment is entirely up to you but he has a brand not unlike Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger from the ‘80s and ‘90s transformed for the 21st century. As for what the Blu-ray offers, the video and audio both deliver the goods but it falls far short in the special features department.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.