Mechanic: Resurrection

 

starstar

 

 

Jason Statham is back in a sequel to the remake of Michael Winner’s The Mechanic – and 

it’s all so mechanical.

 

Mechanic Resurrection

    

Few actors can lay claim to having appeared in so many sequels. Or remakes. And Mechanic: Resurrection is the sequel to a remake. The original The Mechanic (1972) was directed by Michael Winner, which can hardly bestow much confidence in the franchise. But it’s Jason Statham up to his old tricks and at the age of 48 the actor shows no sign of slowing down or changing his spots. His fans probably won’t be disappointed.

 

He plays Arthur Bishop, a former assassin who’s gone off the grid. He’s now living in Rio de Janeiro, which a caption helpfully informs us is in Brazil. He uses a bog standard Nokia and favours vinyl over CDs – or streaming – because he’s an old school kind of guy. He can also look after himself, so when he’s approached by a strange woman with a small army in tow, he manages to eliminate most of her foot soldiers before jumping off a cable car and onto a passing hang-glider. He really does put James Bond to shame.

 

We then cut to Koh Lipe in Thailand, where Bishop visits an old friend, Mae (Michelle Yeoh), who lives on an idyllic beach. It’s a good place to hide. But Bishop’s skill at disguising his hits as accidents precedes him and an English gangster called Crain (Sam Hazeldine) tracks him down to make him an offer he can’t refuse. And this is the really silly part. Crain plants a beautiful aid worker, Gina (Jessica Alba), on the island in the hope that Bishop will fall for her. It’s Jessica Alba – so who wouldn’t? Well, he falls for her and after a night of formulaic intimacy, Gina is used as bait to get Bishop to eliminate three high-profile targets. If he doesn’t, then Crain will kill the girl. So, Bishop sets off to terminate several hundred bodyguards and their employers in an effort to win back his one-night stand.

 

The problems with Dennis Gansel’s Mechanic: Resurrection – a sequel to Simon West’s The Mechanic (2011) – are manifold. But the main downside is that the film treats its audience as mentally subnormal. Clarifying how he managed to track Bishop down, Crain explains the marvels of facial recognition and satellite tracking, as if Bishop hadn’t a clue (he’s a past master as this game). And the captions are downright patronising: we are informed that Bangkok is in Thailand and that Sydney is in Australia. But the film’s worst fault is that Bishop’s ingenious schemes to reach his targets, reflecting the film’s title, are rendered so mechanical. Only a vertiginous sequence in which Bishop scales a Sydney skyscraper (in Australia) in order inject a glass-shattering chemical into the underside of a glass cantilevered swimming pool gets the pulse pumping. Quite how Bishop knew that his target would be swimming at that precise moment is not explained.

 

On the plus side, there are nice aerial snaps of Rio, Sydney, Bangkok, Penang and Bulgaria, some gratuitous shots of Statham’s eight-pack and Ms Alba’s loosely bikinied bottom and an eccentric turn from Tommy Lee Jones, who struts around his Bulgarian fortress like a deranged Hugh Hefner in pyjamas, John Lennon glasses and soul patch. One can only imagine that the Oscar-winning actor suggested his own wardrobe – and a favourable per-day salary.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine.

 

Dir Dennis Gansel, Pro John Thompson, Robert Earl, David Winkler and William Chartoff, Screenplay Philip Shelby and Tony Mosher, Ph Daniel Gottschalk, Pro Des Sebastian T. Krawinkel, Ed Michael Duthie, Todd E. Miller and Ueli Christen, Music Mark Isham, Bryce Jacobs and Michael D. Simon, Costumes Preeyanan 'Lin' Suwannathda.

 

Davis Films/Chartoff-Winkler Productions/Millennium Films-Lionsgate.

98 mins. USA/France. 2016. Rel: 26 August 2016. Cert. 15.