The Mechanic (2011) directed by Simon West
Jason Statham plays Arthur Bishop, a "mechanic," i.e. an efficient assassin for a shadowy agency that hires out hit men. Often the hits need to look like accidents or to be blamed on someone else. Bishop is great at his job. His mentor is Harry (Donald Sutherland), who is now restricted to a wheel-chair and can't do assignments. Harry can't connect with his ne'er-do-well son, either. A hit takes out Harry. In the aftermath Bishop and the son work together, partly to avenge Harry and partly...well...to keep the story going. The plot doesn't make a whole lot of sense. This is a Jason Statham vehicle, designed to show of his grit and action skills more than to develop nuanced storytelling.
The action is surprisingly sporadic. Some bits are very unbelievable but aren't redeemed by having a fun, over-the-top feel to them. The movie is straight-faced about its drama. Statham is his usual charming self. He's great at the action scenes but they don't showcase his talent like other films (the Transporter series comes to mind). The plot is just enough to string together various action set pieces.
So this is a movie that really could be better with a sequel or reboot. Here's the end of the summer offering Mechanic: Resurrection...
This movie does look like an upgrade for the story. It embraces over-the-top action and has more of a sense of fun. Tommy Lee Jones won't die off in the first third of the film, which I guess is a spoiler but also is reassuring that Statham won't have to carry everything. There was a girlfriend in the first film, but she seemed to be there just for sex and to tie up loose plot threads; she was never a person in her own right. Jessica Alba has the cliche role of the damsel in distress. Happily, she might be fending for herself more than the cliche would allow. Maybe I'll catch Mechanic: Resurrection in the theater; I will definitely rent the DVD!