There are perfectly serviceable quick action movies with big time stars that are released direct to DVD (or now, direct to streaming) every week. I am not sure why this was not one of them.
The original Mechanic (did you know there was an original Mechanic, which was actually a remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson movie?) was released in 2011, and directed by big-time action director Simon West (ConAir, Expendables 2, Tomb Raider), and starred Jason Statham, Ben Foster, and Donald Sutherland. Basically, Statham plays Arthur Bishop – an assassin whose specialty is making his hits look like accidents. In the movie, he trains an apprentice of sorts when things go a bit sideways.
I saw that one in the theater, and it was just fine, but a bit forgettable. This one, is slightly less than fine and even more forgettable – incidentally it’s called Mechanic Resurrection because he faked his death at the end of the last one.
We catch up with Arthur Bishop as he’s living a life of semi-relaxing leisure in Brazil – or at least in front of blue screens that will have Brazil on them later. He’s suddenly tracked down by someone working for ‘Cain’, who wants to hire him to perform three kills. He refuses, and runs again.
Taking refuge in Thailand with his friend Mei, he encounters a young woman, Gina, who seems to be in the midst of a domestic abuse situation that he rescues her from – only to learn that she’s actually bait. She runs a school for refugee children in Cambodia (of course she does), but Cain threatened to shut all that down if she didn’t come seduce Bishop into doing what he wants. Well aware this is the plan, Bishop and Gina seem to play right into it, falling for one another (unless that’s a trick?), giving Gina time to swim around in a bikini – for literally no other reason that shots of her in a bikini.
Gina gets snatched by Cain – and Cain says he’ll kill her unless Bishop does the three kills that need to look like accidents (which is why he needs Bishop to do it, and can’t do it himself).
From this point on, the movie plays like a game of Hitman, with Cain giving Bishop the information on each target in a voiceover as Bishop preps for the hit. The first is in an impenetrable prison, so Bishop has to get thrown in, and then escape.
The second lives in an impenetrable fortress-like penthouse apartment with an infinity swimming pool.
The third lives on the coast of the black sea in an impenetrable old communism monument. Bishop successfully takes out one and two – and then attempts to snatch Gina back from the yacht on which she’s being held, but his stealth game is not up to par – so that entire sequence basically ends with him going back to doing what Cain told him to do.
He realizes that Cain is having him take out his ‘arms dealing’ competition, so reaches the third victim, and instead of killing him, makes a deal with him – in an attempt to get to Cain and rescue Gina from Cain's huge yacht.
This movie is directed by Dennis Gansel, a German director. The story is simple, the action is good, and the movie is short. So – it’s not terrible, but it’s also not very good. The cast is fine for this type of movie.
- Jason Statham carries the movie by doing exactly what he does best – grumbling and beating people up. There’s not a ton of growth and development for Bishop in this movie, to say nothing about any kind of story arc. I wasn’t sure he really felt anything for Gina, since he knew really early on that she was working for Cain, so couldn’t he just let her go? But, he doesn’t want anything to happen to her, so he goes through with Cain’s request. I did appreciate his stunt-ability, the prison sequence was silly – but I enjoyed watching him dive out (he used to be an Olympic-level diver), and the pool sequence was really amazing.
- Jessica Alba plays Gina – and while female ‘characters’ are always poorly developed in these types of movies, this one was really bad. She states she was a soldier, but upon leaving service, opened the school for refugees. That is enough to win over Bishop – but if she was a soldier, she really should have had some fighting skills and should have been able to defend herself. Was it part of the plan that she get captured so that Bishop could finally track down Cain? That seems to be overthinking it a bit. I wanted her to be as capable as her backstory indicated she was.
- Tommy Lee Jones – for reasons unknown – is in this movie and plays the third hit – Max Adams, with whom Bishop makes the deal. He has a ridiculous soul patch - and an even more ridiculous wardrobe, but honestly – he’s really entertaining in this and brings some life to the third act.
- Michelle Yeoh is completely and totally wasted in this as Mei – basically Bishop’s friend who runs a beach community. She’s an incredible action star – why didn’t she get an action scenes? Why have Michelle Yeoh in a movie is you’re not going to allow her to kick some ass?
- Sam Hazeldine plays Crain, and he’s done some episodes of Peaky Blinders – and apparently was in Huntsman: Winter’s War – but I don’t remember him in that at all. He’s very British and evil in this, and spends a lot of time ding voice-overs of the hits while Bishop works. There’s a bit of a backstory where he and Bishop were both captured while they were young, and Bishop escaped, but he didn’t – so he’s angry and holding a grudge.
- Toby Eddington plays Adrian Cook – hit number two - in the crazy pool – that was an interesting scene and Femi Elufowoju Jr. plays Krill – hit number one – in the crazy prison – not that interesting a scene.
Overall, the movie was average – some of the action was visually interesting, but the story was not that interesting. Hey – at least it was short!
5 out of 10 – a passable way to spend an hour and a half. Gained points for Tommy Lee Jones being weird, and reminding me of his Under Siege character.