22nd Dec2016

‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, John Cenatiempo, Toby Eddington, Femi Elufowoju Jr., Anteo Quintavalle, Rhatha Phongam | Written by Philip Shelby, Tony Mosher | Directed by Dennis Gansel

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Living with a Jason Statham “superfan” (aka my wife) means that his version of The Mechanic – a remake of the Charles Bronson original – has become something of a legend in our household. I have seen the film more times than I care to admit and more times than any other Statham-starring feature. Which means, honestly, that excitement level for this sequel, Mechanic: Resurrection, was at an all time high.

This time round Arthur Bishop, aka ‘the mechanic’, is settling into retirement when a vicious crime boss, Crain, offers him an assignment. After Bishop turns him down, Crain kidnaps Bishop’s new girlfriend Gina and sets him a near-impossible task to get her back: he must kill three of Crain’s enemies – including an arms dealer and a genocidal warlord. If he doesn’t, Gina dies. Racing against time, Bishop embarks on a breakneck mission across the continents, to complete the three assassinations in his trademark style – by making them look like accidents.

Director Dennis Gansel may be, on paper, one of the strangest choices to helm a Jason Statham action flick. After all, Gansel has – for most of his career – worked outside the Hollywood system, directing dramas such as Before the Fall, The Wave and most recently The Fourth State. However if you look at the one other filmic oddity on his CV, the vampire movie We Are the Night, you can see direct correlations between Gansel’s visual style in that film, and the look of this Statham sequel.

Gansel’s visual style means this franchise film looks nothing like its predecessor: gone is the dark, gritty low-key look and in comes bright, sweeping international vistas. But it’s not only the look of the film that has changed. Mechanic: Resurrection plays much more like a straightforward action movie rather than the action-drama that The Mechanic was. Gone has any sort of subtlety and in it’s place comes more fight scenes and more espionage. It’s like the titular Mechanic has gone all James Bond on us – especially when he leaps off a cable car on to a hang glider. It’s like Timothy Dalton’s hard-faced Bond movies all over again! To be fair though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Beyond the appeal of The Stathe, the big draw in Mechanic: Resurrection is, obviously, Bishop’s kills. Combining the technical aspects of the previous film – the planning and design Bishop undertakes – with Mission: Impossible-style scenes of Statham executing his plans. And nowhere is that more evident in the stunning swimming pool high-rise scene (as seen on the cover of this home entertaiment release), which brings together everything that makes this series, and the character of Arthur Bishop, so great: the ingenuity of the kill design, Statham being a total bad-ass, and the sheer scale of the mission… It’s simply superb.

A mash-up of James Bond and 80s action thrillers, Mechanic: Resurrection is both a fantastic sequel and a throwback to a different (and brilliant) era of action cinema. Here’s hoping for a three-quel!

Mechanic: Resurrection is released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 26th.

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