‘The Mechanic’ explodes with strong characters and bullets

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By Stephanie Holland / Senior Staff Editor

By Stephanie Holland / Senior Staff Editor

Anytime Jason Statham gets naked two minutes into a movie, you know it’s going to be good.


In the new movie “The Mechanic,” Statham plays Arthur Bishop, a hitman who must avenge his mentor’s death by training his wayward son Steve (Ben Foster) and tracking down the killers.


The film is a remake of the 1972 movie of the same name starring Charles Bronson as Bishop and written by the legendary Lewis John Carlino. Though Carlino had no direct involvement with the new film’s script, his original story served as the basis for the updated film, and he has nothing but praise for Richard Wenk’s modern version of his story.


“I was pleased with it, with a lot of stuff that was not in the original that I really liked,” Carlino said. “I think Richard did well. I was pleased that he made some of the character areas in the picture more complex.”


The movie opens with what seems like a typical hitman, assassination scene, however it takes a different turn and sets up Arthur as one of the best “mechanics” in the business. This first impression establishes the film as more than the average hitman with a heart of gold movie.


Statham is no stranger to the action genre and his well developed skills are on display here. His ability to draw the audience into the story and make the film more than explosions and bullets is what sets him apart from other action stars.


He portrays Arthur with a controlled calm that belies the brutality of his profession. There is a scene in a bus where he confronts one of his mentor’s killers and the switch from mild conversation to fight to the death is instantaneous and surprising. The lack of build up shows the compartmentalization of his profession.


This is explored more in his detached relationship with a prostitute and even Steve when he begins to train him.


Arthur’s professionalism and meticulous nature is counterbalanced by Foster’s Steve, who seems to be shockingly self-unaware, letting his emotions dictate his life.


Foster’s open, vulnerable performance makes the movie better every second he is on screen. Though his character is quite unlikable at times, Foster uses Steve’s flawed personality to gain the audience’s sympathy.


This role is a change for Foster, who is known for dramatic films like “The Messenger.” At one point he has what can only be called one of the most brutal fight scenes ever put on film.


Foster admitted that he seriously hurt himself being slammed into a wall while filming the fight and because he toughed it out and continued shooting the scene, he ended up being treated the next day by the same trainer who works on the New Orleans Saints.


“That’s kind of the tentpole scene for what I have to do in the picture, it’s the big sequence, we trained and worked on choreography for about three months,” Foster said. “Pain can be a great motivator. At the end of the day, you can use pain as an energy.”


One of the best aspects of the film is the relationship between Arthur and Steve, which only works because of the chemistry of Statham and Foster.


Foster was particularly blown away with Statham’s performance in the film.


“I was impressed with the work he did in this picture,” Foster said. “It was quiet, internal, it was intense. He could have done it a few different ways but I thought he had some really good quiet, nice moments in this film.”


Though the “The Mechanic” is not breaking new ground in the action genre, it is a good, fast paced, popcorn action movie that will entertain audiences and isn’t that the point of going to the movies.


Well, that and the chance to see Jason Statham naked.

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