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The Mechanic Has A Slow Start, But Exciting (And Ridiculous) Finish

The Mechanic
Directed by Simon West
Written by Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino
CBS Films, 2011

The Mechanic is packaged just like every other Jason Statham movie, and there’s no doubt he’s a profitable action star.  If you don’t think he’s the action star of the past decade, taking over the mantle of Schwarzenegger and Stallone, you haven’t been paying attention.  He’s done it in a different way, a more gritty, “everyman” sort of way.  He doesn’t have these ridiculously huge muscles or have the presence of someone who can kick your ass, but he does go about his business like his predecessors, and the way he does it is often more over-the-top than those older guys.  There’s a reason why Stallone put him in The Expendables.  He recognized that Statham belonged to the action fraternity that The Expendables tried to gather up all in one flick.

Statham here plays a character much like his Transporter persona Frank Martin, here named Arthur Bishop.  He’s an assassin (aka mechanic) who is hired to make all of his kills look like accidents.  He is given a job by his boss, Dean (Tony Goldwyn), that means killing his mentor Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland).  Dean claims that Harry is responsible for killing a whole bunch of other mechanics, and that he might be next.  Arthur’s actions lead to Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) coming to town looking for revenge, thinking carjackers are responsible.

Steve wants to learn what Arthur knows, but he’s unhinged and doesn’t really care.  His efforts to become like a mechanic are pretty laughable and messy.  Arthur tries to teach him what he knows, and of course hopes Steve doesn’t figure out that he’s actually responsible for his dad’s death.

The movie is extremely slow in its first half, and you’ll wonder if anything will happen to get it going.  The movie could have used some better editing: great lengths are taken to show how unhinged Steve is, and so a couple of scenes prove redundant when the film could have been better served just getting to the main action that takes place in the latter half.  The latter half is the action movie you decided to watch in the first place, and the ending, while completely and totally ridiculous, is fun.  If not for the lame first half, this would be a total recommend.  As such, it’s “enter with extreme caution.”

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