Arthur Bishop is a mechanic, that is to say he’s a hitman who meticulously constructs his jobs to look like accidents. When his latest assignment involves killing Harry, his mentor, he is left to tutor Harry’s son in the art of assassination.
Let’s be honest, Michael Winner’s The Mechanic is hardly a classic movie. But at least its partially successful in its attempt to create a more enigmatic thriller with Charles Bronson perfectly suited to the role of an emotionally insular assassin training the sociopathic son of his dead friend. It's worth watching, if for nothing more than it's opening scene which depicts Bronson silently preparing his latest hit. Compared to this plot hole ridden remake the original is a work of genius.
As expected director Simon West’s version increases the action at the expense of plot or character development. Any semblance of the original’s intelligence has been removed, replaced by uninspired set pieces and an unconvincing relationship between Bishop and his more volatile protégée. In fact there’s zero chemistry between Jason Statham and the totally forgettable Ben Foster, but that's just another in a long list of failings. The plot, such as it is, lurches between dull scenes of exposition and bland montages of sex and violence; the shoot outs, the car chases and the fist fights are all in place but nothing gets the adrenalin pumping.
Jason Statham is an undeniably successful action movie lead, but here he is just going through the same routine and appears to be bored throughout the movie’s relatively short running time. The 1972 original lends itself to a better more intelligent remake than the formulaic thrills offered here. Statham fans are best advised to avoid this, and wait until the next installments of either The Transporter or Crank.