Movie Review: The Mechanic

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Jason Statham (“Transporter, ” “Crank”) is back in killing-machine mode as Arthur Bishop in “The Mechanic,” directed by Simon West (“Con Air,” “Lara Croft: The Tomb Raider”). Living in laid-back Louisiana bayou country, Arthur is an elite assassin with a rigid code to abide by; prepared, detached and on the mark. Always.

When his mentor and close friend, wheelchair-bound Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), takes a bullet to the chest, everything changes. The identity of the shooter, connected to Arthur’s employer, ‘Dean’ (Tony Goldwyn), is disguised in the plot synopsis, but there is no mistake about it.

Henry’s screwed-up son, Steve, (Ben Foster) latches onto Arthur to learn everything about the trade and looks for revenge. Job after job, Arthur takes Steve as an apprentice and methodically shows him the mechanics of being a professional killer.

There is a specific mindset required to “fix things.” Detachment. Patience. Different methods are applied to different jobs, depending on a variety of variables, such as the subject, habits and surrounding environment.

It’s not as simple as shoot and kill. You’ve got to study the subject. Not only that it’s imperative he hits the target every time, the killing is also meticulously and precisely done in a way so that it’s as efficient and clean as it can be. To the outside world, each death appears to be accidental by nature. It’s the perfect kill; nobody knows they were there.

Once Steve enters the picture, it’s different mechanism. Far from a steely professional, he goes in for the kill in a purposefully brutal way. Assassinations that are planned to be quick and tidy turn vicious and messy. As Steve joins forces in pursuing Arthur’s shady employer and uncovers the identity of his father’s killer, the duo’s relationship is altered.

If you’ve seen and enjoyed a Statham movie, you know what to expect. The surprise factor here is Foster’s hot-tempered Steve; be it when he defiantly engages a hitman twice his size in mano-a-mano, or jumps up to gun down a band of hitmen.

The “pre-ending” as the closing scene would have been a fresher route. At the same time, as inscribed on Harry’s gun, “Victory loves preparation” is the overriding theme of the movie. There’s no way of getting around it; all the way to its back-to-back, blown-to-bits finale.

Copyright (c) 2011. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

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