I didn’t have much time for the first Mechanic, the 2011 version that is. It didn’t live up to the Charles Bronson and Jan Michael Vincent original, I felt. Although it was a decent movie, it kind of amped up the seriousness but didn’t really convince all that much as a violent assassin thriller. This sequel though, is different. It goes the Commando route and plays to Jason Statham’s strengths… raw, manly, mass murder with a truly astonishing body count. This is one for the Blu-Ray shelf.
The first half sets up the ‘story’ (such as it is), with Wetwork hitman Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) having his woman, Gina (Jessica Alba) kidnapped by baddie Riah Crain (Sam Hazeldine), an appropriately manly villain name I thought. If she is to survive, Bishop must use his unique skills to kill three highly protected men, culminating with the most difficult, the super villain and submarine hoarder (manly!) Max Adams, played by the troll Tommy Lee Jones. Bishop has no problem in killing these men, but he also develops an aspiration to kill Crain and his goons too. All of them.
The first half of this movie plays it slow and tries very hard to be another serious thriller. And even though the locations, the Thai beaches and the high-rise restaurants all looked good, it all felt a bit flat to me. Unconvincing, I felt a 6/10 coming along. The ‘twist’ also felt overwritten and ill-convincing.
But then the murdering started.
Somewhere in the second half or maybe second of three acts, Statham begins killing people. At first, the methods of murder are mildly inventive (gotta be stealth and all, if you want your movie to be taken seriously). But then, the makers of this movie simply said, fuck that, and upped the ante into mass murder. Statham kills his targets, sure, but he also makes repeated attempts to kill the man who is blackmailing him. Particularly as the third act begins, we are in full-blown John Matrix mode. The movie barely stops to update us with nuisance things like ‘plot’ and instead simply transports Statham from one killing platform to the next.
The last half hour of this movie reminds me of old 16 bit video games. You take a man with a weapon and have him steadily progress sideways, killing high and low. Eventually, he’ll proceed to the next stage with perhaps a brief interlude about story in between. And you know what, I fucking love it The pacing in this movie is amazing, Arthur Bishop is worse than the Terminator – take the scene where he kills around 50 men in a U-Boat pen, then transports himself to a giant yacht, to resume the killing there. It’s just seamless, yet hugely entertaining. Wall to wall violence, scarcely believable, yet gloriously manly.
Although I am sad that Tommy Lee Jones, thoroughly in on the fun, is used somewhat frugally, this movie makes me happy. It’s a return to the old Statham, the lunacy of the Transporter movies, yet more violent than those movies ever had the balls to be. This movie belongs in 1988.
More of this shit!