Movie Review: Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)

“Revenge is a dangerous business.”

1 Stars
Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)

Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)


Director: Dennis Gansel

Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones

Synopsis:  Arthur Bishop is forced to carry out the assassinations of three highly dangerous criminals in order to save the life of his girlfriend.

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There can’t be many things more reliable in life than a Jason Statham movie.   When you see his name on the promotional material, you know exactly what you’re going to get: a straightforward mindless action thriller with no frills or subtext – and that’s exactly what Mechanic: Resurrection, the sequel to 2011’s The Mechanic, delivers.

Statham (Snatch) returns as Arthur Bishop, a man who possesses the ruthless skills of a professional assassin and the name of a chartered accountant, and who has used the world’s belief that he is dead to enjoy early retirement on one of those lush paradise islands that most people can’t even afford for two weeks a year.   Naturally, such a relaxed state of affairs can’t be allowed to continue, so into his life comes doe-eyed Gina (Jessica Alba – Machete Kills, Barely Lethal), the saviour of Vietnamese kids targeted by human traffickers.   After capturing Bishop’s heart during a whirlwind romance, Gina is kidnapped by a slumming Bond villain – all super yachts and cream suits – seeking to force Bishop into carrying out the assassination of three highly dangerous major league criminals.   With no choice but to comply, Bishop sets about eliminating his targets while simultaneously trying to discover where Gina’s kidnapper has hidden her.

The tone and realism of Mechanic: Resurrection is established early on when Bishop, who greets every situation and assailant with a granite-jawed lack of expression, escapes a tricky situation by hurling himself onto the wing of a passing hang glider.   That’s what Bishop is: the kind of clinically capable anti-hero who’s usually only found in pulp spy novels, who always has a briefcase full of fake passports and hand weapons somewhere close by, and who can fashion a weapon of mass destruction out of a packet of cigarettes.   His nemesis is a chap called Crain (Sam Hazeldine – Grimsby, The Huntsman: Winter’s War) who, unlike our hero, never escaped from the vaguely described gangster academy they were forced to attend as kids, and has therefore followed a life of crime rather than a respectable profession like killing people for money.   Crain gives the impression that he no longer pursues a criminal career out of financial necessity but simply for the hell of it.

One of his conditions regarding the enforced killings that Bishop must carry out is that none of the hits must look like murder, which gives screenwriters Philip Shelby and Tony Mosher the opportunity to dream up outlandishly creative methods of murder, the highlight of which is the sabotaging of a cantilevered swimming pool jutting out from the roof of a high rise luxury hotel which sends his victim plunging to earth in his Speedos.   While other killings might not have the spectacular invention of this one, they are all carried out with unflappable efficiency by Bishop, who sees off legions of bodyguards with the same calm detachment that you or I might display when picking fleas from the neck of our pet dog.

Statham’s done this kind of thing so many times now that he looks more than a little jaded as he growls his lines, but Jessica Alba adds some welcome freshness even if she does seem out of place, and Tommy Lee Jones (The Family, Criminal), looking like a cross between a balding gonk and Ozzy Osbourne, enlivens the final act simply by showing up.   It’s all too familiar and predictable to be considered a success, but at least the exotic locales provide a pretty backdrop to the reliable but largely routine bouts of action.

(Reviewed 23rd August 2016)

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