'The Mechanic' too mechanical

Article Published: Feb. 3, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
'The Mechanic' too mechanical

Jason Statham stars in 'The Mechanic.'

Jason Statham plays Jason Statham.

Cool-headed, ruggedly suave and unabashedly British, he"s the B-movie action hero of our time, never deviating from that path and pretty much playing the same role again and again, but in mildly different situations.

So, it"s only fitting that he"s playing the Charles Bronson role in a remake of 1972"s "The Mechanic." In many ways, Statham"s the perfect candidate. Like Bronson, Statham"s versatility"s been stymied by a typecast that works all too well, eventually defining the actor.

The new "Mechanic" reflects this, coming across as just another Statham movie a?" entertaining at times with an overbearing sense of "been there, done that," but this time without a sense of humor.

"The Mechanic" tries to be a straight-shooter, making its implausibility even more implausible and its predictability even more predictable, despite a few effective action sequences and some decent performances.

Statham ("Crank") is Arthur Bishop, an expert assassin referred to as a mechanic, in that he tackles assignments with a cold, systematic a?" and, most importantly, undetected a?"approach. This is a must when he"s forced to kill old friend and mentor David McKenna (Donald Sutherland, "M*A*S*H").

Visiting for the funeral, David"s reckless son, Steve (Ben Foster, "3:10 to Yuma"), meets Bishop and, unaware that he pulled the trigger, seeks to train under his father"s killer. Reluctantly, and with a tinge of guilt, Bishop accepts Steve as his apprentice. As Steve"s training moves to the next level, namely killing people, the duo realizes that Bishop"s employer (Tony Goldywn, "Ghost") isn"t who he seems to be.

This revelation places them in a precarious situation, as they must use their deadly talents to fight for their lives.

But they"re also fighting for our attention. While there"s action aplenty, the most engrossing sequences deal with Bishop"s cleverly executed hits, often intense and too few and far between.

The stuff in between, however, brings nothing new to the action genre, simply recycling scenes from other movies and filling Statham into the blanks, like a Jerry Bruckheimer-ish Mad Lib.

Action movies of this scale often ask audiences to suspend belief, but there"s usually some humor in there to balance it out, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Director Simon West"s ("Con Air") no-nonsense approach offers little levity, making our assassins" exploits all the more ridiculous and blatantly unbelievable.

"The Mechanic," rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.

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