'The Mechanic' Review: Good Concept Eventually Stalls and Derails

Near the beginning of “The Mechanic,” a man dives into his indoor pool and starts swimming. Armed guards surround the man's home. There are even people working nearby the pool who watch the man swim. It doesn't matter. After spotting something underwater, the swimmer is attacked by a hired assassin who had infiltrated the man's fortress. The assassin clearly knows how to get the job done. He's had plenty of practice learning the skills that have made him a sought-after “mechanic.”

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According to this story, a “mechanic” is a paid assassin and Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a great one. Aside from his work in the pool, Bishop has handled plenty of tough assignments. “Pulling a trigger is easy,” Bishop notes calmly near the beginning of the story. He's spent much of his life finding ways to get to his "marks" and killing whoever his boss asks him to.

The newest target Bishop is given is an old friend and a fellow assassin named Harry (Donald Sutherland). Bishop is hesitant about the assignment and meets with his boss to determine why Harry is being targeted. Harry has betrayed the team, Bishop is told. After Bishop decides whether or not to accept the assignment, Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) approaches him and asks him about his work. Steve wants to enter the family business. Bishop reluctantly accepts him as an apprentice and Steve quickly becomes comfortable with the job.

This is where the story abruptly derails. After a few brief training sequences, Steve is given his first target, a well-known assassin in the area. Once he is given the greenlight to proceed and advice from Bishop on how to get the job done, Steve proceeds to get close to the target. Instead of following Bishop's advice though, Steve ignores what he has been told and ends up in the experienced assassin's home. He confronts his target and the two engage in an intense and bloody fight. Even though Steve is inexperienced and naive, he is surprisingly able to go toe to toe with a man who has been killing people for years. “The Mechanic” follows the stale cliché that any novice can become a successful assassin after a few quick training sessions.

Soon enough, Steve and Bishop are working together to complete complex assassinations. As the duo target people like a television prophet who is secretly on drugs, the film's violence amps up even more. The grotesque violence throughout this story is over the top and mindless. After a while, these scenes feel like sequences from a video game rather than scenes in a film.

The story takes predictable turns and ultimately winds up with no memorable characters and a lot of dead bodies on the floor. Unlike last year’s “The American”, which was an artistic and well-made story about a veteran assassin, “The Mechanic” is simply brainless entertainment. Nothing is worth watching in this lame story including the bland lead performance from Jason Statham.

Killing people might be easy for the lead character but creating an interesting story obviously proved too difficult.

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