I checked in on my phone at the theatre a few hours before seeing this one as I did a double feature tonight. On my facebook page, I asked “why does this exist?” In the realm of sequels out there, there are ones we deserve, ones we want, ones we earn, and ones we go – how did this even happen? The remake of the Charles Bronson, Jan-Michael Vincent classic hitman caper debuted in January of 2011; with a production budget of $40 million and a total domestic haul of $29 million ($62 worldwide). It didn’t do much better in DVD sails with a mediocre $17 million total. Yet…here we have a sequel. We have a sequel to this thing when Ghostbusters (2016); which has earned $208 million on it’s $144 million budget and is still showing is being lambasted as a “flop” and sequel plans cancelled. So 5 years later, we get this film, but Jason Statham is usually good for an action sequence.
The question is should the Mechanic have been resurrected?
The story and screenplay are brought to you by Philip Shelby (Survivor) and Brian Pittman (A Haunting At Silver Falls, Dawn Patrol), with screenplay by Shelby and Tony Mosher (just this..); I am left wondering if they know how to tell a cohesive narrative. They introduce points that mean nothing, jump locations as if they are nothing, fail to create dramatic tension, and quite honestly just get to the edge of farcical but take themselves too seriously to let the audience feel comfortable to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. I feel like there may have been a man with a gun in the writing room waiting for the first draft and taking that as the final copy despite protests to the contrary. There are leaps of logic, decision making, and plot points that left me scratching my head and scrunching my face in confusion.
Some of that blame might go to director Dennis Gansel, who provided me one of my favourite vampire films in the past few years We Are The Night (look for a review in October). He failed on this one and failed big, I can see all the marks of the European shooting style and sensibilities in how many of the shots were blocked, how the camera was used, and actors positioned. But he, or someone in the production, should have watched the dailies and realized something wasn’t working. Ok…nothing was working. Chemistry, the Camera, the action, none of it worked.
Jason Statham clearly was in it for a paycheck and must have been doing this while rehearsing for Fast 8. His attention isn’t here nor is any of the charm he can manage. This is just generic Statham. A generic movie with him that I think they rewrote to make it a sequel to the Mechanic because they couldn’t do anything else with the concept to make an attempt to sell it. I spoke of chemistry and there is none. If someone buys the relationship and so called emotions between Jessica Alba’s Gina, and his Arthur Bishop tell me what I missed. There’s precisely one scene where they are drinking beer together that I bought and I think it’s because both actors realized the mistake they made signing this and needed the drink. Alba emotes with all the force of Jai Courtney in this movie. The writers didn’t do her any favors when they tell me she’s supposed to be ex-military and she’s entirely relegated to damsel. I am not even bothering to talk about the villains; there isn’t a point – much like this movie.
I may have cared more if I could see a shot. Some shots linger too long or have no point. I mean Jessica has a lovely body, always has, but there’s really no point to watching her dolphin kick in the lovely blue waters of Thailand for 30 seconds. Other shots cut so quickly from one angle to the other I think there may have been two editors playing a nasty game of tug of war with the audiences attention span as the flag in the middle of the rope; and we suffer for it. It’s so choppy and bouncing (not quite shaky) that a love scene in the film comes across as two blocks of wood trying to figure out how this kissing thing and sex thing work. They even kept a shot of Alba laughing in the scene, not a smile, I mean a laugh. It is not good to have the lady love laugh during sex. Just sayin’. The kills are patently ridiculous…beyond the pale.
Oh and I get you are on a budget. I totally do. You could try just a bit…bit harder to make me not realize you are on a set and the image is composite. Maybe make the lighting look less like a studio? Maybe not use something that’s obviously a miniature. There’s even a scene near the beginning where Statham is in a small boat and you can *tell* it isn’t on the water. It looks like a students first film and I expected to see someone’s hand moving the underside of the boat. You can almost..almost see someone throw water in the air as he ‘jumps in’. It’s THAT bad.
This is bad.
That’s it. Just bad. You can’t even MST3K it because it’s that bad. There are absolutely no stakes. No concern. No real threat. Plot armor of the gods. The action is mediocre and nothing new. This is like bad fanfic (and there’s a lot of good fanfic, this isn’t it!)
Should you see it?
Really, you need to ask? No. No you shouldn’t. I shouldn’t have either, but I have to live with that choice. You don’t.
Will you buy it on…?
Stop. I am done writing about this. It isn’t worth a single other word.