film review: The Mechanic (2011)


The Mechanic Poster Jason StathamI had high hopes for The Mechanic.

Well, kind of… I mean, I knew it was an action film starring Jason Statham. I may love Jason Statham but you can only hope for so much from his movies. In this case, unfortunately, I hoped for a little too much. In that I hoped for a bit more action.

I guess this is why I shouldn’t watch trailers.

You know what? I’m going to have a bit of a rant here. Why make something look like a straight up action film if it’s not? And while I’m at it; putting things in the trailers that aren’t in the film. What’s that about? I’ve noticed that cropping up a lot more lately and I don’t like it one bit. Stop lying to me trailers. This is why I become fascinated with my shoes every time I see a trailer of a film I think I might like. I don’t want to have unrealistic expectations. I fear all hope is lost for Priest and Sucker Punch mind, there’s no way they can possibly live up to those trailers. Battle: Los Angeles too. Not a chance.

I’m not done ranting though… The fact is, there seems to be this view creeping into cinema that it all rests on the opening weekend – like in music, where if a certain song or album doesn’t get straight to #1 it’s a failure. It’s an awful road to go down. It’s leads to this ridiculous mis-selling of films, mostly in an attempt to appeal to the 15-25 y/os who regularly go to the cinema. This in turn means that most of the gross –is– in the opening weekend. Not because it’s necessarily a bad film, or that people only want to see films when they’re new, but because it was marketed in such a way that it got the wrong audience to go along. Those folks hated it and off they went and told all their friends. Now even the right audience is put off because 1. it looks like a film for teenagers and 2. they’ve heard it’s crap. Poof. A good movie becomes a failure.

But I digress.

Anyway, I’m not actually saying that happened here. The Mechanic isn’t a particularly good film. It’s not a bad film per se… It just tries a little too hard to develop something that appears to beyond the capabilities of it’s director and screenplay writers. Or maybe it’s the editor that’s at fault. I’m not sure. I’m thinking the director though. The problem with The Mechanic is that it’s an action film that’s trying to build in a bit more um… motivation… than you generally see in these kind of action flicks.

I could probably throw a bit of blame on the actors here, I won’t. Not just because I love Jason Statham, but because I don’t think they’re given much to work with. I don’t know. Put it this way… I would have expected that Jason Statham getting a protege would involve him actually working with the protege in key scenes. Apparently not. I would have expected that the “getting to know you” phase wouldn’t have just been a 2 minute montage. Apparently not. I’m sure Ben Foster and our man Jase would have been able for the task but it just wasn’t put in front of them.

Ok. It’s not all bad. There are some good bits. Perhaps call it a collection of good scenes thrown into a jumble of irrelevent incidents. And shaken about. To be honest, I don’t know what exactly this film thought it was doing but if it was action film there was too little action in it and if it wasn’t… then what the hell was it?

It’s just weird. You have this supporting cast of interesting characters and these 2 leads who seem to be interesting characters… but none of them are put to real use to create any semblance of plot or emotion. It’s like the film skirts around the idea of having a real plot and creating real relationships between the characters but ultimately it never actually gets to saying what it’s wants to say. It’s supremely annoying. That is the main thing really. It’s not that it’s a bad film. I just think it could have been a really good film if more effort had been put into it.

Anyway, I feel like I should say something nice about it since I didn’t actually hate it. The action scenes were class… It does manage to have more plot than the average action film (for all the good that does) and um… Oh yeah, it looked cool. I liked the… what’s it called in film? Grading? Anyway, like I said, it looked cool.

And I liked his house. Now that the one from A Single Man is off the market I’ll have to start looking elsewhere… in preparation for when I win the lottery of course.



  1. comment-avatar
    Zohar LeeFebruary 9, 2011 - 12:41 am

    Great review of an ok film, I never really get the feeling with his films they will ever require me to put my brain into gear. This one had potential but was let down by a poor script/editor/director(cross off as necessary). All in all worth a view but don’t expect anything other than a run of the mill statham film.

  2. comment-avatar
    MunirFebruary 9, 2011 - 7:59 am

    My favourite part of this review is the meta-critique you swing into of deceptive trailers and that “Billboard-100-or-DEATH!” mentality of the music industry in your 3rd/4th-ish paragraphs. Wait…does the Billboard 100 even exist? Maybe it should be “Top-40-and-Sales-or-DEATH!” Actually…I am so divorced from commercial music I have no idea what goes on there anymore. It’s all just gossip articles of Miley Cyrus’ ass or Justin Bieber on the precipice of going full on rockstar and nailing some groupies (there goes my appetite). The singles sell off the back of gossip….or the gossip sells off the back of singles…something.

    I think Sucker Punch will be fine. A bit empty of brains, world-building logic or continuity…but still fun.

  3. comment-avatar
    Nicola-tFebruary 21, 2011 - 2:08 am

    Thanks Zohar and Munir!

    Yes, I am getting very annoyed at trailers, I shouldn’t go on about it so much but when you write about trailers all the time… well. Those misleading ones are the worst. It doesn’t affect me as much as some since I try not to watch them much but I just think it’s completely disengenous for the films in question and the industry in general.

    I’m just gonna stop myself there before I launch into the rant again… 😉

  4. comment-avatar
    MunirFebruary 21, 2011 - 7:15 am

    Speaking of having no clue about current commercial music, the guy I carpool with wanted to play his copy of “Now That’s What I Call Music 77”. Remember that series? Yah…I think it was only in the late 20s when I remember it! 😛

    Anyways, so supposed to be a collection of the latest radio spam. I knew none of the songs. NONE of them. And they were all bad…so bad. Then Travie McCoy comes up with his song “Billionaire”. Oh god. I wish I could unhear it. This is what gets on the radio waves?

    I’m happy being an uppity music nerd with my obscure indietronic and post-rock bands 😀

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