The Mechanic: Now, are you familiar with the works of Oscar Wilde? Because Jason Statham isn’t.
He plays Arthur Bishop, a cold, emotionless hitman who does his best to make the hits look like accidents, as if no-one was ever there to commit a murder, and this starts with killing a gangster boss in his own swimming pool.
Now, by the time I got 10 minutes into this film, Statham had only killed baddies and had intimate relations with women. At what point was he actually going to fix a car?
Still, technicalities aside, we learn soon after that Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), Arthur’s friend and mentor, is the target for his next mission, but why? Well, he has a meeting with Dean (Tony Goldwyn), also a high-up bod in all this. The hit came about because six months ago there was a mission to take out a very high-profile target in South Africa. All five of the operatives sent there were killed. Since The Company only ever allows two partners to know the details about any given mission and that this one was known only to Dean and Harry…
The job is carried out quickly, leaving Arthur racked with guilt.
Soon after, Arthur meets up with Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) at his graveside and gives him a lift to the old man’s house, with Steve commenting that he wants to get the men who killed his Dad. In short, he takes Steve under his wing after he says he wants to do what Arthur does, but seriously cocks up his first attempt. Apart from the fact that the general plot stretches credibility, what takes it one step further is the fact that Statham plays a character who, as always, clearly only ever acts alone. So why is he working so well with someone else? That just seems the most ridiculous thing about it.
However, there’s a little bit more to it, plot-wise, which you’ll find out as you go, even if it is a bit predictable. Even the press release and Amazon reveal what comes next, but why not let the viewers find out for themselves? Anyone who’s a fan of watching Jason Statham kick bad-guy ass admist explosions aplenty is going to buy/rent this anyway. And on that subject, there are some gret action and fight sequences.
Basically, this is ‘Transporter 4’ but without his Audi.
Oh, and I have to ask, why does this film need NINE producers? I hope there isn’t one paycheque to split between them…
Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture never looks anything other than fantastic with bold, bright colours and is crisp. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, for which I got the 5.1 DTS version, and where the film could occasionally go for subtlety and tension, it opts instead for explosions, gunfire and more explosions. Did I mention it has explosions?
The extras are as follows:
- Alternate Scenes (10:52): Five of them here, including an alternative opening sequence, although I felt the original one worked perfectly well. In fact, none of these require replacing what’s already there.
- Tools of the Trade: Inside the Action featurette (7:47): A bog-standard making-of mixing chat from key cast and crew members with clips from the film and work-in-progress footage. Don’t expect anything ground-breaking here.
- Trailer (1:31): In 2.35:1.
The menu features clips of the film played out with the theme tune in the background. There are subtitles in English only and the total number of chapters is a mere 16, which isn’t quite enough here. I work on the basis of one chapter for approximately every 5 minutes, taking into account one each for the opening and closing credits.
One of my bug-bears comes up with this disc as it’s another case of putting trailers before the main menu, like a rental video from the 80s. And not only that, but also there’s an advert for a chocolate bar. Why do they do this? They should be in the extras menu – the trailers at least, and nowhere else. You pay for the disc and you don’t need extra advertisements as if you’re in the cinema.
Running time: 93 minutes
Cat no: MP1109BRR0
Released: June 2011
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Simon West
Producers: René Besson, Robert Chartoff, William Chartoff, Rob Cowan, Marcy Drogin, Avi Lerner, John Thompson, David Winkler and Irwin Winkler
Screenplay: Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino
Music: Mark Isham
Arthur Bishop: Jason Statham
Steve McKenna: Ben Foster
Dean: Tony Goldwyn
Harry McKenna: Donald Sutherland
Burke: Jeff Chase
Sarah: Mini Anden
Jorge Lara: James Logan
Lara’s Guard: Eddie Fernandez
Car Jacker: Joshua Bridgewater
Vaughn: John McConnell
Kelly: Christa Campbell
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.