Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 05 February 2011
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
If this Mechanic uses a wrench it usually means someone’s going to get his neck broken with an expert twist of the skull. It is a type of “fix” after all.
Things do get fixed alright, only that might entail death and a good bit of destruction. Based on the 1972 original starring Charles Bronson, this mechanic’s got a lot more toys at his disposal, but the same badass attitude.
Packed with brutality while low on morality, the film is an unapologetic look at the lifestyle of a personal soldier of fortune – nothing against you pal, someone wants you dead.
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is one such mechanic, cleverly completing assignments as neatly as he can and making each look like a plausible accident. This guy likes to swim? Accidental drowning. This guy parks in an underground lot? Random carjacking. That kind of thing.
With victims viewed as mere assignments to be completed, there are no hard feelings – or if there are, it’s none of his concern (as long as he keeps receiving the super-stuffed envelopes of stacked cash that turn up at predetermined locations at the end of a job). The mechanic must be paid.
Mentor Harry (Donald Sutherland) is an old friend, having taught Bishop everything he knows about the deadly business. The wheelchair-dependent Harry has got a trouble-making son to contend with, a reputation he himself carries. This issue leads to Bishop’s next assignment, which he has to double-check with boss Dean (Tony Goldwyn) to make sure it’s accurate. (hint) Evidently, not everyone’s wild about Harry.
And yes, Bishop eventually teams up with Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) in an uneasy alliance, now with Bishop in the mentor role. That’s not a good thing to be in this film, especially when the new protégé is nearly as cunning and clever as his teacher.
The hits are all human cesspools, a requirement when your hero/anti-hero is a ruthless killer; it imparts a justification that makes it easier to root for the assassin. The rest of the details you’ll fill in, but not as predictably as you’d expect, a nice surprise from a usually formulaic film subject (hit men, rogue gun, revenge). There’s still formula but it’s mixed a little differently.
Women are incidental, used and paid for, given little thought except when the urge takes hold. Everything else is testosterone-fuelled manhood: guns, fire, explosions and material excess. Men will most likely make up the larger fan base.
Jason Statham slips neatly into this type of role; efficient, unsentimental, hard as nails – no stretch. I’m waiting for a sensitive portrayal of say a bisexual, modern dancer who’s just discovered he’s been usurped from a coveted role by his mother’s new boyfriend. That would be a real acting coup for Statham but seems destined for placement under the column heading Ain’t Gonna Happen. The former 1992 World Championship diver (12th place) is at home in the water as evidenced by his first low-key but high-adrenaline getaway.
Ben Foster’s character has got the face and temperament that takes to crime and brutality well, so you can envision him relishing murder, especially when it’s enhanced with a side of mayhem. Tony Goldwyn has perfected a slimy smoothness that serves him well here. Donald Sutherland’s Harry is well past the lethal stage, more tutor than traitor, but he can still rustle up the ghost of danger in his demeanor.
Director Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) puts the brutality on full blast with a side of slick and keeps the whole thing brief (92 minutes). Set in New Orleans and Chicago, the fast pace kicks boredom out of the way by presenting large doses of stealth and stamina.
It’s an action film, and provides that well. Don’t look for anything else and you won’t be disappointed.
Just don’t trust this guy with your chassis.