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Jason Statham, Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland star in this remake of Michael Winner's 1972 action thriller. When his best friend and mentor Harry (Donald Sutherland) is murdered, professional hitman Arthur 'The Mechanic' Bishop (Statham) sets out to wreak his revenge on those responsible. When Harry's son Steve (Ben Foster) asks if Arthur will take him on as an apprentice, the two look set to become the deadliest duo in town, but complications arise as the young student starts to outstrip his master.
For more about The Mechanic and the The Mechanic Blu-ray release, see the The Mechanic Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 8, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Tony Goldwyn, Donald Sutherland, Jeff Chase, Mini Anden
Director: Simon West
» See full cast & crew
The Mechanic Blu-ray Review
'The Mechanic' can't fix a broken genre.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 8, 2011
Vengeance is the mission.
Sure The Mechanic is another remake (see The Mechanic, Charles Bronson, 1972), but more than that it's really just another excuse to make a flashy Action movie with no real purpose behind it other than to entertain easy-to-dazzle audiences with, what else, gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, and explosions, oh, and to make the studio some money. Both worthy endeavors, but it would be nice if the end product weren't just so routine. The Mechanic is a teacher-student Action movie that has no lessons to teach except to serve as a good example of how a routine script can be turned into a slicked up standard Action movie that's got nothing on The Professional and only wishes it were half as good as Luc Besson's genre standard-bearer. There's no real difference between this and some invisible direct-to-video Action flick except for a bigger budget and a bit more technical savvy. The movie is nothing more than a few bland twists and turns tossed in between bursts of gunfire, the plot serving as little more than a bridge to take the film from one polished action scene to the next.
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham, Crank) is a high-value hitman who's proven his worth time and again, just recently pulling off a daring assassination -- made to look like an accident -- of a high-profile Colombian drug lord. Arthur meets with mentor, the wheelchair-bound former assassin Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland, Space Cowboys) to talk shop, but it turns out Harry is Arthur's next target. He meets with his employer, a slick businessman named Dean (Tony Goldwyn, Ghost), to confirm before pulling off the job. Arthur kills his friend, making Harry appear as if the victim of a carjacking. Soon thereafter, Arthur happens upon Harry's depressed and angry son, Steve (Ben Foster, Pandorum), who haphazardly vows to avenge his father's death by murdering carjackers. Arthur saves Steve from his own stupidity and chooses to train him in the art of assassination. As student learns from teacher -- as victim learns from killer -- will Steve piece together the truth behind his father's death and get his revenge on the same man who is training him to kill?
The Mechanic isn't a terrible movie by any means; genre overexposure and general fatigue from the same old routine is its biggest enemy. The film has all the basics covered, but in a world where there are just so many movies that look exactly like this one, well, the basics just don't really cut it anymore. The Mechanic aims not for the lowest common denominator but doesn't set its sights much higher. Technical competency abounds, but so too does a sense of sheer repetitiveness that plagues almost every scene in the movie, beginning with the obligatory "hit on a random bad guy to prove the lead character's value as an unstoppable killing machine" all the way down to the "trick" ending that anyone with half a dozen or more of these sorts of movies under his or her belt can see coming several reels away. Aren't Action movies supposed to have some life to them? The Mechanic is on life support throughout, waiting for a shot of adrenaline that the action scenes alone cannot provide. The film feels hollow and cold to the touch, and even though the script cobbles together a fair enough story that at least puts the action scenes into a context, there's just no heart and no purpose to any of it.
Nevertheless, Action fans who want only another installment of "blow stuff up real good" will be rewarded by stuff blowing up real good. Jason Statham plays pretty much the same character he always does, running around all tough guy-like, playing it cool and proving he's a natural-born deadly weapon, proficient with his fists, guns, and a wrench, oh, and don't touch his prized phonograph. Statham really is a treat to watch even if the supporting materials aren't worth much; he's got his routine down so well that even plopping him into one movie after another that are all pretty much distinguishable by title only are at least worth a watch if only to see this modern master of the Action genre at work, and providing the bulk of his own stunts at that. Ben Foster plays a gritty, revenge-driven, rough-around-the-edges would-be assassin with a scruffy edge who allows his character to slowly but surely mature into a stoic, efficient killer who might be proficient with a gun but who needs to understand the finer nuances of the hitman lifestyle if he's to survive the game. The juicy dynamics that define the very essence of the Arthur-Steve relationship, however, are never explored to their fullest extent; this is a story ripe for some wonderful psychological underpinnings, but Director Simon West, who's shown great skill in crafting a few notable Action movies over the years -- Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider -- proves in The Mechanic that he only seems to care about the superficial. While the nitty-gritty of the story might not be fully explored, West does once again prove that he hasn't lost his action touch. This is a visual tour-de-force and a structurally sound picture; it just has no soul.
The Mechanic Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Mechanic rolls onto Blu-ray with a near reference-quality 1080p Blu-ray transfer. Only a few bouts of softness are all that mars this otherwise pristine image. Fine detail is spectacular, evidenced right away in the Colombian compound where even the smallest of textures -- scuffed and cracked tile, the intricacies of a statue -- are revealed with lifelike accuracy. This Colombian opening features a heavily tinted color scheme where contrast has been boosted to off-the-charts levels, giving everything a blazing golden hue. The color palette settles down into a warm, but certainly not wholly unnatural, appearance as the film moves along, but fine details remain extremely strong. Both Statham and Foster wear plenty of scruffy facial hair that's very roughly and naturally textured on-screen. Clothing, facial pores, and other standrad elements are also very strongly detailed. Blacks are spectacular and flesh tones are only as warm as the rest of the image. The Mechanic is covered in a very fine but handsome layer of grain gives the movie a complete feel and a strong cinematic texture. The image is abundantly crisp and sharp, and it's free of any kind of physical or digital artifacts. Sony's done another high-class job on this Blu-ray release.
The Mechanic Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Mechanic features an expectedly powerful DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Music is exceptionally delivered, playing with a big and wide cinematic flair. A potent and authoritative low end, a strong midrange, and crisply accurate highs are the norm. Music enjoys not only a spacious front-channel delivery, but a healthy surround support structure. Background ambience is pleasantly natural at all volumes, whether the light sounds of a busy restaurant in chapter two or heavier, more robust elements at other junctures, particularly as heard during various action scenes. Speaking of, gunfire is crisp, heavy, and fast but not excessively loud, and explosions are tight and powerful without sounding artificially over-pumped for the sake of working the subwoofer harder than is necessary. Rounded out by expectedly clear and satisfying dialogue reproduction, The Mechanic makes for another first-class Action movie audio presentation from Sony.
The Mechanic Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Mechanic fixes up only two supplements of value for its Blu-ray release.
The Mechanic Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Mechanic is a routine Action movie that's well made but structurally repetitive and thematically insignificant. The action is crisp, the direction is smooth, the score is competent, and the acting is sufficient. Unfortunately, it all adds up to a big pile of flashy nothing. It's not even all that watchable because it just drags on and on with that unshakable sense of déjà vu, except yes, viewers have experienced this movie before -- countless times -- and it all seems so pointless to sit through it again. As for Sony's Blu-ray, the supplements are few and the technical specs are up to par: video looks great, audio sounds great. Is that all that matters anymore?
The Mechanic: Other Editions
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The Mechanic Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, May 16 -22: The Mechanic is No. 1 - May 25, 2011
In its initial week of release The Mechanic bowed on top of the Blu-ray sales chart with a solid 47% of total package media sales coming from the HD format. Mechanic, a box office disappointment with a domestic total of just under $30 million, managed to displace ...
• This Week on Blu-ray - May 17-23 - May 17, 2011
Jason Statham is a pure badass, and thankfully he knows it. You won't see him pulling a Tooth Fairy or a Jingle All the Way; nope, he knows who he is and not even an Allstate Insurance homage can water down the intensity that is Stathum.
• Sony Brings The Mechanic to Blu-ray - April 11, 2011
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced its release of The Mechanic on Blu- ray on May 17. The action film tracks a hit man who is teaching an apprentice with ties to a previous victim.
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