Review: The Mechanic

(MA15+) **

Director: Simon West.

Cast: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland.

YOU shouldn't raise your expectations too high when it comes to Jason Statham movies; it's probably better to be surprised by the occasional good one he pulls out. Plus, keeping your expectations low will help you enjoy this deficient actioner.

A remake of the more intriguing 1972 Charles Bronson film of the same name, it stars Statham as Arthur, an elite assassin who specialises in clean kills - hits that look like accidents, leaving no trace that a killer was even there.

After the death of his mentor Harry (Sutherland), Arthur finds himself wanting to protect Harry's son Steve (Foster), but Steve is keen to learn the hitman's trade.

One of the saving graces of The Mechanic is the presence of Foster as Steve. Given that Arthur is a one-note killing machine that the script struggles to give any depth to, it's actually surprising how well-rounded and nuanced Steve is. Foster is getting good at giving excellent performances in sub-par films (check out Pandorum or X-Men 3 for further proof) but it's a shame he doesn't get to act in the films he deserves (hopefully Ridley Scott's upcoming Prometheus will change that).

Another plus for The Mechanic is some cool action sequences, and the clever "accidental" kills are interesting.

That's what the Statham fans will watch this for, so they probably won't care that it's hilariously bad in places. Some of the editing and continuity is cringe-worthy, and a lot of the dialogue seems to have been churned out by a machine that has had every action movie cliche poured into it. Sutherland's first scene with Statham is a stellar lesson in how not to write dialogue, as is the stunningly unneccessary narration from Statham at the start of the film.

The Mechanic will be a decent time-killer for Statham fans, but it's another black mark against the name of director Simon West, the man responsible for Tomb Raider and When A Stranger Calls.

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