‘The Mechanic’ Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:45 am,

the mechanic reviews The Mechanic Review
Screen Rant’s Vic Holtreman reviews The Mechanic

Following on the heels of the most excellent updated version of True Grit we have a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson-starring film The Mechanic (click for info about the original). While True Grit was quite excellent mainly due to the performance of its young star, sadly, this new version of The Mechanic is nothing to write home about.

It opens promisingly enough with a silent introduction to the head of a South American drug cartel. Within minutes we get a sense of not only his power and brutality, but of his enormous wealth. Statham appear on the scene to assassinate the guy in a pretty slick way (“the best jobs are the ones where they never knew you were there”). In a tightly put together sequence we learn all we need to know about Statham’s character (incongruently named Arthur): He’s cool, focused, fearless – your basic bad-ass.

Ah, but eventually Arthur must utter dialog. I’m a fan of Statham, but sometimes I wish he’d try taking on an American accent for some roles – maybe he’d deliver lines more effectively or in a less monotone manner. Don’t get me wrong – he pulls off guy-you-definitely-don’t-want-to-mess-with very effectively, but for me his delivery is generally too monotone. He soon meets up with his mentor/contact Henry (played by the always engaging Donald Sutherland). They’re obviously very close friends, and it seems that Arthur is the substitute for Henry’s ne’er do well son Steve (Ben Foster).

Henry is implicated as a traitor to “the company” by its owner (played by Tony Goldwyn). If you don’t know him by name, check out his picture and you’ll know immediately that Henry has been framed. He is convincing, however, laying out what seems to be incontrovertible evidence, and asks Arthur to assassinate him. In the interest of knowing he can do it in a quick and (relatively) merciful manner, Arthur accepts.

Soon after Steve appears on the scene – he and Arthur know each other and Steve is resentful that he was replaced in his father’s eyes by Arthur. Of course his father still loved him, although he was distant. Knowing this, Arthur takes Steve under his tutelage (reluctantly) and trains him to be a “mechanic” – an assassin for hire. Having an anger and mean streak a mile wide, Steve doesn’t have a problem with this (in fact, he asks for it) and he seems to be a quick study.

There were things I did like about The Mechanic. Much of it has somewhat of a 70s movie vibe. It’s shot mostly in a straightforward manner (up until a major action sequence towards the end of the film) without too much use of shaky-cam, jarring quick cut edits or any of that “cool” camera work. There is lots of action/violence (including an awesome hand to hand combat scene between Foster and a monstrously huge Jeff Chase) and from time to time there are some low-key but funny zingers of dialog in the film.

If it’s not the sort of thing that makes you squirm uncomfortably in your theater seat, there’s a pretty explicit sex scene early on that seemed gratuitous and just inserted (pardon the pun) because they could with the R-rating and they figured it might draw an audience. Me, I’m not a fan – implied is good enough for me.

On the other side we have the fact that it just felt kind of generic – nothing really memorable. Having Sutherland in there briefly actually made me more aware of how little I really cared about the other characters – because he’s always able to make such a big impact even if he’s not on screen very long. The film just goes through its thing, and I watched it mostly disinterested, but went along for the ride.

If you’re a Statham or Foster fan, and you’re looking for a no holds barred, R-rated action movie during this sleepy movie season, then maybe The Mechanic will tide you over for a bit. Otherwise, you might want to hold out for Drive Angry 3D in February starring Nic Cage to satisfy your R-rated action craving.

Here’s a trailer for The Mechanic:


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Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. I’m torn.


    Remake=equals bad.

    I made a pledge to myself that I would not see another remake in protest to the lack of originality in Hollywood. I realise this will make no real difference, but, I will be able to sleep a little better at night.

    • Sam, with all due respect, that’s a really narrow minded approach to remakes.

      Some remakes are amazing.
      The Thing was a remake.
      Last House on the Left was a remake that turned out to be MUCH better than the original.
      Let Me In was pretty good.
      Insomnia was a good remake of a Norwegian thriller.
      3:10 to Yuma was good.
      True Lies was based on a French comedy La Totale.
      Dawn of The Dead was a GREAT remake.
      The Ring is another GREAT horror remake.
      Ocean’s 11 was better than the original.
      The Fly was MUCH better than the original.
      The Departed was just as good Infernal Affairs.
      Scarface was good too.

      Point is, if it’s done well, just like an original film, it will be a good movie. Do you also boycott movies that are based on books? comic books? video games?

      Just enjoy the movie.

      • Shall I make a list of remakes that aren’t as good as the original? Well, I would, but I simply don’t have the time to compile such an extensive list.

        I am against remakes I’m general. I’m not saying there isn’t a few good ones, but it smacks of unoriginality and that offends me.

        • Go ahead. Point is that it’s a fairly balanced field. you saying that you’re boycotting remakes is fine and all, that’s your decision, but to say that all remakes are unoriginal? no way brother. plenty of originality goes into some of these films. The story might be unoriginal, but that could be said about all “original” films.

          Anyway, not arguing with you. I’m a big proponent of “just watch the damn movie and then decide”. You can hate it before going in, I know i do sometimes, but still watch it. If you’re “boycotting” and find remakes “offensive” then all I got to say is you’re missing you on a lot of fun films, games, books, etc.

    • Meh Sam I personally have no problem in general with remakes. I’ve seen enough fantastic ones like 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit which IMO were both better than the originals. Sure maybe more often then not the remake may suck but there are enough true Gems out there to make the risk worth it. There are plenty of so called original films out there that suck as well. Heck I’ll go as far as saying through out any given film there are more original films that suck than don’t suck. I have no problems with remakes as long as it’s not a remake of a classic great film which they are not doing. Remake of a random action flick ok by me. Remake of a classic like say Psycho not ok and Vince Vaughn still has a place in hell reserved for that one.

      All that said I can’t stand Statham. The guy is a crap actor and all of his films are exactly the same mindlessy blow crap up action flicks with out any heart soul or brains. I’d rather poke my eye out slowly with an infected knife the see another one of his worth less talent less films.

      I hate to see such a huge talent like Ben Foster wasted on such crap. The guy has made some really bad choices last few years with X3 that horror movie from last year I believe and now this. I hope he goes back to doing good films that challenge him again.

      • Hey I liked Pandorum. Despite Foster being in it lol. I liked 3:10, and even though i like True Grit as well No one can top Wayne in a western, it’s The Duke after all. As far as what OBG said about there being a balance of both good and bad, not sure i agree there, but whatever lol. We are all allowed opinions here that’s what makes this site what it is :)
        How’s your little girl doing Daniel? I hope she isn’t keeping you up a lot lol.

        • Wow. Ive never known someone hates remakes THAT much. I agree with OGB on this one. Watch the movie THEN decide :)

          • It’s not thr remakes I hate, it’s the principal, the complete and total lack of imagination.

            • Drsam I have no problem with the principle of it because the good remakes actually show alot of imaginations. The good ones make changes changes that effect the film greatly and sometimes make the film even better. If your concerned about lack of imagination you shouldn’t like films at all because no film is completely original. Hell you should absolutely refuse to watch films based on books and comics on principle if that was the case. They lack imagination just as much as a remake does.

            • @ DrSamBackett: I completely agree with you on principle and lack of imagination when it comes to remakes. I have more leniency with re-imaginings than I do remakes, just because they call it more like it is.

  2. I’ll eventually check this out, hopefully in theaters. I’m not a big fan of Statham, he’s alright, but generally I don’t get into his films, but I’ve been a fan of Foster since his Disney Channel days (I know I know, but I was a kid then) and have followed him since, so I’ll definitely check this out soon.

  3. I plan on seeing this movie tomorrow and I am broke so that is how much I want to see it.

  4. Based on the review, I want to see it even more. I trust Vic but from reading his reviews I also know that some things that he doesn’t like usually work for me (I love violence on film and am not bothered by explicit sex scenes).

    Also, I’m a huge Foster fan and Statham is consistently good.

  5. hey vic is it because you dont relate to violence and explict sex scenes? be a youth in the word today and the son of a navy seal im continously exposed to vilolence due to kick boxing and training with fire arms. and i have multiple sex parters in women so could you just try to be more ranged in your opinions because what doesnt work for one person could work for others. i feel a review should have a range and just not the opinion of the individual

    • I think you have missed the point of what a “review” is.

    • Wow, hola – way to focus on one paragraph and ignore the rest of the review.


    • ….good argument, hola…..(sarcasm)

    • “and i have multiple sex parters”


      • Rosie and her sisters don’t count Daniel.

        • Multiple sex partners? A guy named Hola has mutliple sex partners?


  6. wait so this is equally as ‘bad’ as expendables, machete, resident evil (the new one) and predators ?
    i find that very hard to believe.

    • you figure a movie called “the mechanic” about *insert typical action movie plot here* starring jason stathem must be BETTER than all of those other films? And what exactly gave you that idea?

      • ‘what exactly gave you that idea’ your trash opinion is based on your own thoughts, so dont assume you know what i’m thinking about. have you seen any of the ‘action’ movies i mentioned, if you have you’ll know that out of all of them expendables is the only one worthy of a 3, everything else should get <2.5

        • Jwalka I’ll have to disagree. All the movies you listed were indeed bad, but I’d say Predators was the best not Expendables and I’d rank Machete as the worse. That film deserves a .5 and nothing more.

          • Machete was great. I really liked The Expendables too, as well as the new RE film. But I’m not gonna see this updated version of a Bronson classic.
            You are right though Daniel, Predators was the best of what was listed above. :) I guess it comes down to personal taste too, I just love seeing stuff blown up.

            • That’s why I loved Rambo so much!!

              I’m going to check this out when it hits Netflix.

            • predators was nothing more then a wanna-be original predator movie. everything was ripped right out of the original, except for some cheesy/stupid scenes. almost every bit of dialogue was garbage, the acting was terrible, action garbage and the story could have but wasnt good/well thought of.

              expendables had decent humour, some good action sequences and was a more enjoyable movie, sure it had bad camera/editing but it was no where near as boring/terrible as machete or predators.

              i haven’t seen this yet but i expect it to be just like the transporter movies – gritty one liners, good action scenes and interesting characters.

              • jwalka,

                This is different than the Transporter movies. Not as out there crazy, more of serious action film.


                • i felt that transporter did get abit ‘show offy’ with the shirtless scenes etc and the over the top fights. good to know stath is keeping his shirt on this time ;)

              • @Jwalka,,,
                The predators wanted to recreate the crew and jungle setting, so they could learn how a bunch of humans beat one of their own.
                I can’t speak Pred, but it seemed like the first predator had shamed his race/culture and they were punishing his “family/brother?” by using him as bait.

                • you know there was bad planning when a predo teams up with a human at the end ;)
                  the 1st one was alot better being an original/classic, yeah the acting wasn’t top notch but those guys where green berets – tough mothers.

                  RR’s one was pure crap, it had no back story for the characters, no char dev or anything just random gun fights with noob predo’s. the ‘super’ predator was wasted and the end fight was way to reminiscent to arnold’s one. alot of the scenes felt like they where taken directly out of the original. not to mention the main character looked like a b****

                • 790 replied!! :)

        • I didnt say opinion isnt based on personal thoughts genius. I am asking what gave you the idea that this movie would be better. It has typical written all over it. Not even excite worthy like the expendables or predators (which were both better)

  7. How do you rate a genre movie like this? As a film, it’s 3 stars and no more, but as a genre movie rated on it’s own terms you can’t fault it, it’s a 5 star Jason Statham Action Movie. I wish I could remember the Bronson original more clearly, I know I’ve seen it but that was a long time ago. It’s funny to think that Charles Bronson was the one of the highest paid actors of the time, and Michael Winner wasn’t just a restaurant critic.

    • UKKID35 actually no Vic rates genre movies with in their own genre. So as an action flick he’s giving it a 3/5. He always takes genre in to consideration. Or at least I do believe he has said that several times.

  8. Hmm, I think I’ll pass on this one. I dont like cookie cutter action flicks. Now Crank on the other hand was cool. So obnoxious I laughed most the way through it.

  9. Hate remakes, and if it has the same ultra-cool ending as the original does i already know how it turns out so i won’t bother, not even on dvd.

  10. Well your no fun Jwalka.

    Where were the character back stories in Predator? We learned more about the characters in Predators hands down.

    • yeah only through that brief moment where pinochio gives the women a run down of everyone’s background. in predator we knew from the get go that these guys where top dog commandos, emotions aren’t expected form such people, yet we saw mac break down and go ‘crazy’ over the cowboys death.

      not only that but the movie had a sense of mysteriousness to it b/c it was the 1st, where as predators wasted time making viewers ‘guess’ what was attacking them even when he already know.

      imo the premise was good, but the execution (script etc) was terrible.

  11. Jwalka, if I pay you $10 bucks will you agree it was a decent action film?

    Also, on the Mechanic, I’ll wait for the dvd.

    • believe it or not i wouldn’t :D even my dad an old school 80′s action fan hated it, he ended up playing with his glasses case the last 20min of the movie it was that bad.
      if you managed to watch (and like) predators then you have to see this in the cinemas, its not in 3D so you dont have an excuse ;)

  12. I’d rather see Statham team up with Ritchie again for another Snatch movie.

  13. Well Jwalka, there’s 50 other guys I know that disagree with ya on Predators so,,,,

    and I actually only see a few films in the theaters these days. There’s nothing on my radar to see anytime soon.
    Maybe Battle LA, but only to see the town destroyed. :)

  14. I don’t get your comment Rickster!

    I replied?

    What chew takin bout Rickster!?

    • Yeah he replied to a comment of mine with something that had nothing to do with my comment too 790 ::shrug::

    • You clicked the reply button on that comment up there :)

  15. Also Rickster! what’s Fever Pitch?

    • Fever Pitch is scapegoat’s band lol ;)

  16. Hhahahaha, you make me laugh…

    Have you heard Statham’s attempt at an American accent?

    Check out Jet Li’s the one….hahaha

  17. @Rickster! ,
    Oh that. Yeah I try sometimes to do that but can’t all the time. Its too big a pain to go back to the page when I can just reply after the comments start rolling in.

  18. BTW, Rickster! You didn’t answer my question.

    What’s Fever Pitch?

  19. Oh just read that.

    Scapegoats band.


    • 790

      your pic always makes me laugh!

  20. Hmmmm intriguing stuff… Predators I have to say was a pretty huge letdown for me. I’m such a huge fan of the franchise but this movie was clearly inspired by the original. I would go as far as saying it ripped it off completely. As jwalka said the premise was great but the execution was def lackluster. I would barely rate it over the AVP movies… and thats not saying a whole lot. As far as this movie, I might check it out on bluray when it comes out for a nice mindless action pic but nothing more. I don’t think anyone was honestly expecting too much from this one. A movie that pleasantly surprised me however was the movie RED which i believe Vic gave 5 stars to(a little biased I think). For a pg13 action flick I think it hits all the right notes. Subtly funny throughout peppered with some great and engaging action scenes, movies aren’t this much fun anymore. And as far as statham, I understand the guy is a bit one dimensional in his roles but that doesn’t mean he is pure crap. Hes had some great roles in movies like Snatch, lock stock, crank, and the highly underated guy ritchie flick Revolver. I mean the dude used to be a stuntman I think so how much range can you really expect out of him? Solid review as always Vic :)

  21. “If you don’t know him by name, check out his picture and you’ll know immediately that Henry has been framed.” Bahahahahahahahaha! Greatest review line ever!

    I have an empty night this week, I might kick up my feet and take this one in. Sounds like a decent popcorn flick. Thanks Vic. :)

  22. Saw this last night and enjoyed it tremendously. A review on MSN gave it 3 stars as well while Ebert gave it 2. Ebert’s not a fan of action movies like this. I love Statham’s films and this one is in my top five.

    The sex scene wasn’t as explict as I thought it would be after reading this but definitely nudity. Foster’s character reminded me of a more deranged version of his Punisher character. And the ending was pretty sweet.

    This is going in my dvd collection.

  23. I did dig how the film began slowly, almost like a ’70s film in no hurry to tell its story. But the characters are thin even by action film standards.And if Arthur is so good, why is every kill after the opening sequence so sloppy?

    And that ending … wow. Just flat out terrible.

  24. Is this film related to the Charlie Bronson film of the same name? I’ll never forget how that film began, with him breaking up with a chick….I’ll kill myself, I’ll slash my wrist!…. go ahead, he sez. She does. How much do you weigh?… 120 lbs. It should take you —–long to bleed to death. He sits there and watches her bleed out..and she calls 911! Real cold .. and too great.

  25. Your review seems to indicate that Charles Bronson is still the master “Mechanic”. Interesting that his first wife Harriett Bronson’s book “Charlie & Me: A Memoir by Harriett Bronson” has come out recently with personal family photos and the inside story of Charles’ rise to fame. Their sixteen year marriage and commitment to each other made his dream of fame come true – until fame took control and Charles strayed.

    Their marriage ended and so did their dream together. Harriett moved on to reclaim her own dream of being an author and radio talk show host.

    For those who have wanted to experience the inside story of the late actor’s rise to fame, Harriett gives a very realistic, affectionate account of her life with Charles Bronson, both as the world famous actor and as the father of her children.

    Charles Bronson was truly one of a kind – as only Harriett can tell you.

  26. It’s another Jason Statham’s great action movie. As usual, there is much blood in this movie. The ending is quite predictable. But I like the quote, “Victory loves Preparation.”