Fresh from this summers all-star The Expendables, Statham takes over Charles Bronsons role from the 1972 Mechanic as Arthur, the titles hit man for hire who is ordered to off his wealthy mentor (Donald Sutherland, TVs The Pillars of the Earth) and then, feeling guilty, takes the mans destitute son, Steve (Ben Foster, Pandorum), under his wing.
Forever poisoning his body with intoxicants, Steve takes to the assassination game like kids to candy, yet is so eager trigger-happy, perhaps to channel his thirst for revenge that he doesnt always adhere to Arthurs strict rules.
Steves brazen nature, of course, is to the betterment of the film, which comes alive in set pieces of violence so seemingly real, the audience can feel it. Best among them is a hotelset sequence in which their target is a corpulent, corrupt televangelist hooked on ketamine, and the situation calls for rather unique improvisation.
After an iffy start, The Mechanic finds its footing, however frowning. Without wasting any more time, it plays in the 1970s sandbox of the crime films of Bronson, Clint Eastwood and their ilk, when the screen was as dirty as the evil that men do. How much of this versions grime is the intent of director Simon West (When a Stranger Calls) or just a case of bad projection remains in question until this hits DVD. I suspect most audiences will wait until then to see The Mechanic at work.
If they have any love for The Stath, they shouldnt.