Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Dennis Gansel
Stars: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Sam Hazeldine, Tommy Lee Jones, Toby Eddington, Michelle Yeoh, Femi Elufowuju jr.
2016 may well go down as the year of the insipid remake and the unnecessary and pointless sequel that no-one particularly wanted or needed. And now we have another one, with this underwhelming sequel to Jason Statham’s fairly forgettable 2011 remake of the 1972 action thriller starring Charles Bronson as a hitman who specialised in making his kills look like accidents. Statham (from the Transporter series, etc) is one of the last hard men of action movies, and his remake of The Mechanic was a more bruising and brutal take on the Bronson vehicle. But this sequel is formulaic, cliched, very violent with a high body count, and over the top. It is quite ludicrous at times and far from Statham’s best efforts.
Assassin for hire Arthur Bishop (Statham) thought he had left his former life behind. But former enemy, the scheming businessman Riah Crain (played by Sam Hazeldine, from Huntsman: Winter’s War, etc) wants him to carry out an almost difficult assignment, eliminating three rival arms dealers and making their deaths look accidental. At first Bishop refuses and hides out in Thailand. But then Crain kidnaps pretty school teacher and charity worker Gina (Jessica Alba, in a fairly thankless role) with whom Bishop has recently developed a relationship. To save her, he must complete the assignment.
The first target is Krill (Femi Elufowoju jr), a former African war lord and sex trafficker who is incarcerated in a tough island prison, located in shark infested waters and a long way from shore, and thought to be impossible to escape from. The second target is arrogant but well protected Australian mining billionaire Aidan Cook (Toby Eddington). The final target is flamboyant pyjama wearing arms dealer Max Adams (Tommy Lee Jones) who lives in his well guarded bunker near the Baltic Sea.
The film has been written by novelist Philip Shelby (the Pierce Brosnan thriller Survivor) and first time screenwriter Tony Mosher, but the formulaic story lacks imagination. There are enough gaps in the film’s logic to fly a jet plane through. The fight scenes admittedly are well choreographed and staged with gusto, and some of the stunt work seems like it was lifted straight out of a Roger Moore era Bond film from the 80s. And at times the film plays out like an extended live action video game with some cartoonish-like violence.
The director is German filmmaker Dennis Gansel, who admits that he regards Bishop as a sort of dirty version of James Bond. Although he maintains a fast pace throughout his direction is a little clunky and he seems out of his depth with his first foray into big budget Hollywood action films. But any hopes he may have had of turning this into another franchise for Statham may be stillborn.
Gansel does make good use of a range of exotic international locations, although we race from one to the next without much time to soak up the setting. Those scenes set in Sydney have been shot largely by indigenous filmmaker Warwick Thornton (best known for the drama Samson And Delilah), who gives us some good views of the picturesque cityscape.
The seemingly invincible Statham basically bashes, bludgeons, bruises and blasts his way through a legion of heavily armed muscular bodyguards here, emerging unscathed but leaving behind a pile of bodies. Statham is at his surly, brooding and humourless best here as the lone wolf assassin, but his reprisal of Bishop lacks any sort of charm or subtlety or nuance. He comes across as a ruthlessly efficient lean mean killing machine and he seems to be going through the motions here. His performance here is not as switched on as his recent turn in the comedic thriller Spy, a rare comedy outing that allowed him to show a twinkle in his eye and have fun sending up the type of character he usually plays on film.
Gansel wastes a good cast though. Alba is basically the typical damsel in distress and she at times seems uncomfortable. Hazeldine plays Crain as a typical stereotyped bad guy but he lacks genuine menace and is a rather bland villain. Michelle Yeoh, a martial arts action star in her own right, is wasted here and given little to do. Jones brings his usual laconic and laid back style to his extended cameo as the eccentric arms dealer. The notoriously grumpy star doesn’t seem to be taking this too seriously and almost walks away with the movie.
Mechanic: Resurrection is more violent but even less memorable than its predecessor. This is essentially B-movie entertainment, a lazy genre piece that probably should have gone straight to DVD where it would have found a willing audience. Nonetheless, it is full of mindless mayhem and gratuitous violence that will appeal to fans of Statham.