Review: MECHANIC: RESURRECTION Primes With Experient Action Stardom Far From Fading


Jason Statham has a checkered past when it comes to action movies. This is a man who has subjected himself to the direction - if we can call it that- of the infamous Uwe Boll (In The Name of The King: A Story With An Already Ridiculous Enough Title That It Didn't Need A Subtitle to Make it Worse), confused the shit out of us as Jake Green in 2005’s Revolver, and still found time in his schedule to make basketball interesting again in 2010 with The Expendables. From the cartoonishness of his survival spree as Chev Chelios in the Crank series to his Bond-on-wheels turn as The Transporter, I would argue in gest that said past and all its turbulent splendor has contributed significantly to the cultivation of that bitchin’ perpetual scowl Statham sports. But I fear he wouldn't appreciate the joke and thus proceed to openly diss superhero movies again. So we’ll skip all that unpleasantness and talk about Mechanic: Resurrection instead.

The 2016 actioner is a sequel to The Mechanic, which itself is a remake of a 1972 classic. Director Dennis Gansel takes over at the help for Simon West, pleasantly honoring West's film with a continuation of the narrative that succeeds at upping the ante in sequel fashion while not falling victim to the pitfalls of “sequelitis”.

The story picks up where the first film left off, with Arthur Bishop (Statham) left presumed dead but now, five months later, living a quiet though cautious anonymous life in Brazil. He is approached by the beautiful courier (Rhatha Phongam) of a handler offering him a job: to kill three people by making the deaths look like accidents (his specialty) in exchange for, well, permission to continue his quiet, anonymous life.

Now, a gambling man would bet it was the permission part that immediately sours Bishop to the idea. It's a good bet. Either that or, well, since one of those three they want Bishop to kill is played by Tommy Lee Jones, I’d wager that alone is enough scoff at this raw deal. It's anyone's guess. But the action scene the follows at this point, arriving even before the film’s title, made Jason Statham my spirit animal for the hour.

After the title, Bishop returns to his boat (which in the beginning we saw him arm with an explosive alarm), sees what he expected, men on his boat snooping around, blows the charge and disappears. But not before destroying his fake identity and searching some intel on the lovely but sadly overconfident stranger he just had the pleasure to meet.

After this we find him in Koh Lipe, Southern Thailand. The camera coasts the skyline, offering a wide shot of the islands -all spread out amid the calm quilt of blue. I'm jealous of Bishop’s travel miles already before we even see him again.
He arrives on shore to the warm greeting of Mea (Michelle Yeoh). As every great assassin must have a designated safe zone, this, an islands inn ran by muthahfuckin Michelle Yeoh no less, is Bishop's. And I have no problem with that.

We are shortly after introduced to Gina Thorne (Jessica Alba), a woman in an abusive relationship and you know where this is going. Bishop's gonna intervene. It's gonna get ugly. And the femme fatale, she's gonna be grateful for his hard work.
Good news! This isn't a rom-com, so at this point our friend the handler, Riah Crain (Sam Hazeldine) manages to locate Bishop. Now he has a bargaining chip; Gina. Do the job, or we kill your new girlfriend.

So the main plot of the film begins, and it barely ever let's you catch your breath. I found myself waiting for when Bishop’s whole “mechanic” mojo would kick in. One of the things I enjoyed about its predecessor, besides the brilliant chemistry between Statham and actor Ben Foster, were the obstacles set between them and their objective which allowed for them to show off the titular skill set. Perhaps sensing this, Gansel’s narrative does not make us wait long. The intricate puzzles and strategies Bishop must devise to achieve his objectives are oh so worthy of the title. One of my favorites involves a swimming pool at 72 stories up -epitomatic in symbolic vigor, a cocktail of pomposity and prestige, and a cinematic Fuck You to it all!

Mark Isham’s score was a perfect marriage to Daniel Gottschalk’s work with the cinematography. The locales are every bit Bondsian, so to speak, but - and sure, I’ll be the guy to say it - Bishop would kick Bond’s ass. Blindfolded. In his sleep. While seducing the current Bond girl.

A big kudos to Allan Poppleton, J.J. Perry and the team all involved in the film's overall stunt coordination and performance. I loved the way the climax of this film came together. Every action set piece was not only integral to the progression of the story, but each one seemed to top the last. They weren't going for greatness, they were going for escalation - achieving both in a sort of bombastic modesty.

Sadly though, we didn't get to see Michelle Yeoh throw down like you'd expect when you see her arrive in a movie, and this is double sad in the wake of my recent viewing of Reign Of Assassins in which she starred. Balancing this disappointment is the lack of disappointment in Alba. She gets a tough shake for being just a pretty face with minimal acting prowess, but she holds her own here as the femme fatale. Does beautiful with zero effort -duh- and, surprise, DOES do some ass kicking.

Hazeldine makes a good villain in Crain. He's suave and conniving enough that you don't actually hate him. You want to. You enjoy the effort it takes, to be sure! But in the end, you're just in ‘awe shucks’ mode for his unfortunate ego.

In the end, again like its predecessor, Mechanic: Resurrection ends on ambiguity. There can, in fact, be a threequel. I’d welcome it. And unlike that time Statham came back as Chev Chelios, I won't have to tranquilize my eyes to keep them from rolling out of my face as a consequence.

Buy your copy at Amazon.com today!

~Khalil Barnett, Contributing Writer

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