The Mechanic

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A plane lands at a private hangar and the lone passenger makes his way to his mansion with an armed escort. When he goes to have a swim in his pool he notices his watch at the bottom of the pool and retrieves it. A stranger suddenly grabs the swimmer and holds him under until he dies. The assassin, Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham), escapes in the ensuing chaos to a nearby river, where he jumps in and makes his getaway. Bishop later meets with his friend and mentor, Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), who pays Bishop for his work in Colombia. They discuss Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) before parting ways.

At his house, Bishop checks for his new contract only to find that he is to kill Harry. Bishop’s employer confirms by phone that the contract is correct, whereupon Bishop requests a face-to-face meeting. Dean (Tony Goldwyn) tells Bishop about a failed mission in South Africa in which assassins of Bishop’s agency were killed. Dean relates that only two people knew about the mission – himself and Harry – and that Harry had been paid for the contract details. Bishop reluctantly kills Harry and makes it look like a carjacking. At his funeral Bishop meets Steve, Harry’s son, who tells Bishop that he’s going to kill any carjacker as revenge. Bishop secretly follows Steve and interrupts him before he carries out his plan. Bishop recognizes the raw potential of Steve and decides to train him as a “mechanic”. He adopts a chihuahua and instructs Steve to take the dog with him to a coffee shop each day at the same time. As Steve settles in to his routine, Bishop escalates his training by taking him on a contract. Bishop strangles the man with a belt, stages it to look like an erotic asphyxiation accident, and shows Steve all the planning that went into that assassination.

Bishop informs Steve that he has a contract of his own. The target is a mechanic for another agency named Burke (Jeff Chase), who frequents the same coffee shop to which Steve has been taking the dog. Burke’s only weaknesses are that he is interested in young men and small dogs. Burke makes his move on Steve and invites him out to drinks. Bishop instructs Steve to slip a large dose of Rohypnol into Burke’s drink to cause an overdose. Steve ignores this direction and instead goes with Burke to his apartment. Burke begins to undress and Steve attempts to strangle him with a belt as Bishop had done. Steve manages to kill Burke after much effort. Dean expresses his disapproval of Bishop’s use of Steve for the Burke contract, but Bishop replies that he was given that contract through Harry and not Dean. Angry at his indignation, Dean informs Bishop that he’s on a short leash.

Bishop is given a new contract to kill Andrew Vaughn (John McConnell), the leader of a cult-like church. Steve and Bishop plan to inject Vaughn with adrenaline to simulate a heart attack, for which the paramedics would unknowingly administer a fatal dose of epinephrine. While Bishop and Steve wait in the walls of Vaughn’s hotel room, a doctor arrives and sets Vaughn up with an IV of ketamine. Realizing that the adrenaline overdose would be inhibited by the ketamine, they improvise and quickly suffocate him. When Vaughn is found by his guards, Bishop and Steve are discovered and are forced into a shootout with the guards. Bishop and Steve slip out while the building is being evacuated and Bishop decides they should fly home separately.

At the airport Bishop sees one of the men he was told had been killed on the South African mission that Harry had allegedly sold out. Bishop realizes during a confrontation with the man that Dean had tricked him into killing Harry and that it had been Dean who engineered the failed mission to cover up his own shady dealings. Having been misled, Bishop begins to get things in order, only to be ambushed by a group of mechanics. After taking them out, he discovers that Dean was behind the hit. Bishop races home to call Steve, only to find that Steve has also been ambushed at Bishop’s house. Bishop directs Steve to a hidden gun, which Steve uses to kill his ambushers. Bishop has Steve gather supplies for their new mission while he plots how to get to Dean. In the process Steve finds his father’s gun and realizes that Bishop, not carjackers, had killed Harry.

Bishop and Steve work together to kill Dean. On the way to a gas station, Bishop notices Harry’s gun in Steve’s jacket and realizes Steve has discovered the truth. Steve gets out to put gas in the truck but adjusts the nozzle so it pours on the ground instead of in the tank. With Bishop still in the truck, Steve pulls out his father’s gun and shoots the gas, blowing up Bishop’s vehicle and the gas station. Steve returns to Bishop’s house, plays a record on the turntable, then takes out of the garage the vintage 1966 Jaguar E-Type coupe Bishop had been working on. As he is driving off, Steve notices a note on the passenger seat which reads: “Steve, if you’re reading this then you’re dead!” Steve laughs at the message but moments later the car explodes, killing him. At the same time the record player at Bishop’s house finishes playing, activating a tripwire which causes Bishop’s house to also explode. Back at the gas station, a security video reveals that Bishop had escaped from his truck moments before Steve blew it up. Bishop gets in another truck he had by the beach and drives away.

REVIEW:

A lot of people are calling this the 4th Transporter film. I can totally see why that is. However, I think the plot and everything veers a bit too far away from that franchise.

The plot of this film is that Arthur Bishop is a hitman for hire, as such he has to kill anyone who he’s paid to kill. Eventually, he is paid to kill his friend and mentor, much to his chagrin.

At the funeral, he meets his mentor’s son, who had been such a disappointment to his father. The son goes out that night and tries to kill a carjacker who was thought to be the one behind the murder of his father, but Arthur steps in and tells him that it is not a good idea to kill when you have motive. This starts a mentor/partnership between the two that involves some interesting training tactics, to say the least.

In the film’s climax, the two learn that the mentor/father was indeed innocent and setup by the very man who paid to have him killed, so they set out for revenge.

After avenging his death, there is an uneasy interaction between the two resulting in an explosion, murder, and daring escape to end the film.

I saw the trailer for this film and was a bit on the fence about it. I’m glad that I waited until it came out on DVD because there really wasn’t anything that hadn’t already been done in every other Jason Statham movie I’ve ever seen.

As usual, the action scenes are the highlight of the picture, but the rest of the picture falls flat. Of course, this is a remake of the 1972 original, so I shouldn’t be surprised that it isn’t that great, huh?

For me, I would have liked to have seen more of a build up to the twist at the end, as well as maybe some actual flashbacks instead of random newspaper clippings. Maybe that was a nod to the original, if so, then that’s fine, but for me, it just seemed to be a bit of lazy filmmaking, or that they were running over budget and needing to hurry up and get it done.

The chemistry between Statham and Ben Foster was quite extraordinary. They played off each other very well. The whole yin-yang dynamic, really sold me on their relationship, but when Foster got all serious at the end, even given the circumstances, it killed everything they worked for.

It is no secret that I hate remakes. I’ve made my disdain for them known as publicly as I have my distaste for overpriced 3D. However, having not seen the original, I can’t make a comparison, as of the time I’m writing this, but I will revisit it after I watch the Charles Bronson version.

As a stand alone picture, this isn’t that bad, but it certainly isn’t anything special. I think I just expected more and didn’t get it. This film should have been better than it was, but for some reason it didn’t get over that hump. If you want to see it, go ahead, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to do so.

3 out of 5 stars

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