Jason Statham seems to like about five things: driving cars, beautiful women, kicking ass, not saying much and diving. He is the consummate modern-day action star. His movies are full of explosions, fights, some sex, and a ton of plot holes. The Mechanic is no different.
Like I said, the plot really doesn’t matter here, but since you asked. Arthur Bishop (Statham) is the top assassin for an unnamed organization. Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland) is the closest thing Bishop has to a friend – not counting his weekly sexual encounter with Sarah (Mini Anden). Shockingly, Arthur is commissioned to kill Harry. He does so – spoiler? – and tries to ease his conscience by training Harry’s disappointment of a son, Steve (Ben Foster), to be a lean, mean killing machine.
The time between fight scenes in The Mechanic is about as minimal as you could possibly imagine while still being able to reach eighty minutes. The violence gets more and more gratuitous as we move from Arthur’s meticulous style to Steve’s slapdash apathy. This is not to say the fight scenes aren’t great and fun. I am saying, however, that there needs to be more to a movie than action. There is so much time spent on the action you get bored twice as fast during the “informative” scenes.
Regarding the “information”, Arthur acquires it from these hardened thugs with the greatest of ease. Apart from the absurdity of some of the action – you’re a highly skilled assassin and you waste an entire clip from an automatic rifle into some guy’s head? – there is just a complete lack of thought and effort put into the story. Try and think of every typical spy/assassin plot cliché. Now put them into a list and make a movie. Bam, The Mechanic.
I feel I am getting too cynical so here’s what I did like. Ben Foster is underrated and under-appreciated. It might be his role choices, but he is solid in everything I’ve seen him in so maybe one day he’ll get the recognition. I like Statham, because really how can you not. He knows what he’s good at and delivers each time. The soundtrack doesn’t fit with the film, per se, but it is a bunch of relaxing, enjoyable music.
The main motto of the film is “Amat Victoria Curiam” (Victory Loves Preparation). Clearly there was no preparation in making The Mechanic apart from the fights. It is everything you’d expect from a Statham film, but with just a little bit less. Go watch The Transporter instead.