This Mechanic doesn’t fix a smile

If there really must be big, loud re-makes (and apparently, there must), we can at least celebrate the fact that, finally, someone got it right.

  • Feb. 3, 2011 7:00 a.m.
Ben Foster and Jason Statham star in the remake of The Mechanic

Ben Foster and Jason Statham star in the remake of The Mechanic

If there really must be big, loud re-makes (and apparently, there must), we can at least celebrate the fact that, finally, someone got it right.

The Mechanic, a souped-up version of the 1972 Charles Bronson action vehicle, is slick. 

The original film wasn’t overly big on intelligence –– not surprisingly, neither is the re-make –– but dang, did it have style! And, when you’re going for a whole lot of edge and not a lot else, Jason Statham is a pretty good choice to plop in the driver’s seat.

Statham plays Arthur Bishop, a mechanic, which is to say he’s a specialist assassin, remarkably adept at making his hits look like accidents. When the film begins (in a shortened, although cool nod to the original in which a huge chunk of movie rolled by with no dialogue), Bishop rubs out some wicked kingpin in his swimming pool, even though a sea of beefy, heavily-armed bodyguards roam about.

Then Bishop’s “employer” (a predictably shady Tony Goldwyn) gives him a touchy contract: Arthur is forced to kill his mentor, Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland). 

Perhaps out of guilt, or maybe he just sees something in the hothead, Bishop goes on to teach Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) everything he knows about being a mechanic –– and we ain’t talking 30-point inspection here.

It’s a surprisingly good pairing: the cold, expressionless, textbook action hero, teamed with a very loose, very angry young buck. 

Director Simon West (Con Air) blows things up awfully good, which should make adrenaline junkies happy.  But there’s something within The Mechanic that puts it a notch above Statham’s usual kick-butt fare (Crank, The Transporter, etc.)

This one, for the most part, takes itself seriously. Sure, it’s absurd at almost every turn, but the fact that West and company refuse to crack a smile? Pretty cool.

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.