Mechanic Resurrection Review
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is an assassin with a penchant for pummelling bones and a knack of evading death, but has a complete inability of staying off his enemy’s radar for long. His planned retirement in Rio is cut mercilessly short when a messenger for crime lord Riah Crain shows up and demands that Bishop carries out 3 hits. He refuses and a furious brawl ensues before Bishop makes his dramatic escape leaping from the top of a cable car onto a hang glider. Fleeing to Thailand he meets up with old acquaintance Mei (played by Michelle Yeoh in a thankless role). There’s little time for leisurely strolls along the beach though before Crain tracks him down again, this time dispatching henchmen to snatch Bishop’s new love interest Gina (a bland Jessica Alba) which forces him to co-operate. Each assassination must look like an accident, with the first being an arms dealer named Krill who is being held in a high security Malaysian prison 70 miles out to sea. Just to make it even more of a challenge, the slammer is atop 100 metre high cliffs and surrounded by shark infested waters. The second hit is human trafficker Adrian Cook (Toby Eddington) who resides in a Sydney skyscraper. Fortunately this so called “fortress in the sky” has one weak spot to be exploited: a swimming pool jutting out the side of the building 76 floors above ground level. The third assignment is to wipe out nefarious Max Adams (Tommy Lee Jones), the most Bond-like villain of the bunch, with a secret submarine base that echoes the Spy Who Loved Me. What follows is a rather episodic adventure as Bishop meticulously plans and then executes each hit to secure the safety of Gina.
The first Mechanic movie with Statham in the lead was a so-so reboot of an early seventies Charles Bronson thriller about a middle-aged hit man mentoring a younger counterpart in the art of his profession. Tinkering with the original's twist ending paved the way for this inevitable sequel. The problem with Mechanic Resurrection is that it tries to be like so many other far more superior movies, including very obvious similarities to both the Bond and Mission Impossible franchises. The film makers seem to have a firm hand on the purse strings here though as some chintzy CGI suggests that the budget was not quite in the same league as the blockbusters that this pretender is attempting to imitate. Deft swimming pool sequence aside, Mechanic Resurrection really brings nothing new to the table.
Statham growls his way through the insipid dialogue without even having the saving grace of those witty payoff lines like Arnie used to deliver with aplomb during his heyday in movies such as Commando. The Stath does have an undeniable physical presence though, always looking cool and convincing in the slickly edited fight scenes. There is real talent behind the camera too, with renowned stunt co-ordinator Vic Armstrong working as second unit director. He’s a veteran in the business, responsible for some top class stunts during his career in over 100 films including several Bonds, Indiana Jones and Superman. Legendary Australian daredevil Grant Page, a stuntman in the original Mad Max no less, was stunt co-ordinator for the Sydney crew. We can feel assured that the action scenes at least are in safe hands. It's a shame that German director Dennis Gansel (We Are The Night) fails to get a decent performance out of any of his cast. For a movie offering not just one but four criminal adversaries, none of them manage to make much of an impression. Sam Hazeldine is instantly forgettable as Crain and by the time Tommy Lee Jones makes an appearance near the end sporting some snazzy pyjamas it’s all too late to add some gravitas.
Shot using Red digital cameras, the picture is pin-sharp throughout, really bringing out the beauty of some stunning location work in Thailand. The downside is that this level of clarity only further accentuates some inferior green screen work elsewhere in certain scenes.
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby True HD Atmos. An impressive sound mix with Mark Isham's energetic score greatly enhancing key moments.
Standard EPK material totalling less than 30 minutes. Perhaps unwisely more emphasis is put on scoring the film rather than how the stunts were achieved, which may be of more interest to Statham's fans.
Highly derivative, poorly written and guilty of wasting a decent cast. Only partially redeemed by Statham’s physical presence, a few cool stunts and some attractive locations. The Blu-ray is decent enough, but feature-light.