Do you remember the Jason Statham action vehicle The Mechanic (2011), the remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson action flick of the same name? If you don’t, please don’t feel bad. I reviewed it and barely have any memory of the thing. It appears that most everyone who saw it watched from home, since strong home-viewing revenue was apparently enough to justify Mechanic: Resurrection. So here we are, with the theatrical release of a sequel to a movie that made no money in theaters, looking for all the world like the straight-to-video concoction it should’ve been to begin with. In short, it ain’t pretty.
It’s also not especially fun or entertaining. Mechanic: Resurrection had five years to get it together, and this is the best it had. Statham again plays Arthur Bishop, a hit man who specializes in knocking off people in convoluted ways designed to look like accidents. He’s retired, however, spending his days living on a boat, sipping espresso and cleaning his record collection. But nothing gold can stay, and he’s drawn out by an arms dealer (Sam Hazeldine), who wants Bishop to take out his main competitors. The stipulation is that he must make each death look like an accident — a silly proposition, since any cursory observation by a half-competent investigator would easily tell that this isn’t the case. But, of course, there’d be no movie without this. (I say that like it’s a bad thing.)
Tangled up in here is a truly needless subplot where Bishop’s new lady friend Gina (Jessica Alba) is also being held hostage as collateral. This literally serves no purpose in the film besides padding the runtime by about 20 minutes. Not that it matters, since so much of the film tends to meander on its own. For a movie so absurdly constructed … boy, is it not fun. There are moments of purely sublime farce — Bishop purchasing a tube of shark repellent (literally labeled “SHARK REPELLENT”) so he can escape from a Malaysian prison, or a clever, ridiculous action scene involving a lifeboat — but they’re incredibly rare. The Mechanic: Resurrection even has Tommy Lee Jones with a soul patch and red John Lennon sunglasses and it’s still not fun.
The reality, instead, is a movie that feels like a bargain-basement Crank film which was drained of those movies’ pure imagination and sense of tasteless anarchy and boundless energy. Yes, Statham fights a bunch of random dudes, shoots some of them and slams numerous heads into an endless array of kitchen countertops. He even sets countless boats of various sizes on fire. But, inside all this mayhem, nothing feels clever or imaginative. Everything ridiculous feels accidental — and even then it’s buried inside of so much macho tedium and a plot with no forward momentum that it’s impossible to enjoy on its own merits. Rated R for violence throughout and language.
Now playing at Carmike 10, Carolina Cinemark, Regal Biltmore Grande, Epic of Hendersonville.