Mechanic Resurrection is directed by Dennis Gansel and brings back Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop, a super assassin who has gone into retirement after faking his death at the end of the The Mechanic in 2011. It also stars Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones and Michelle Yeoh.
The Mechanic was actually an amped-up remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson vehicle which had him playing a nuanced and sensitive yet deadly assassin who worked for a nameless organization, drinking fine wine and listening to classic music. He ends up schooling a young Jan-Michael Vincent in the ways of professional hit men only to have Vincent kill him in the end. Of course, Bronson is nobody’s fool and he ends up taking out Vincent from beyond the grave in what was admittedly a pretty good plot twist in the last scene. The 2011 remake played out on the same framework, except Statham’s character did not die at the end, leaving the road wide open for a series of crappy sequels such as what we have here.
Jason Statham is an action star I’ve enjoyed watching in a number of movies, most especially before he was an over-the-top action star such as in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and The Italian Job. His dry sense of humor and natural charisma make him fun to watch when given good material. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s struggling to find anything like original these days and so is re-hashing old crappy material such as The Mechanic, which definitely did not need to be resurrected.
It starts with a beautiful woman and her band of goons-for-hire having tracked down Bishop, who’s been hiding out in Rio, I guess so he could finally see the Olympics live. She lamely attempts to blackmail him into coming out of retirement and he of course refuses and chaos ensues. She and her thugs try to kill Bishop but he gets away by jumping from the restaurant balcony onto a sky trolley and then onto a hang glider. He then destroys all traces of his new life, gets away to an island paradise run by his old friend Michelle Yeoh and starts to track down where this woman and her goon squad came from with his laptop supercomputer which apparently has access to every criminal database in the world.
In a shocking development, somehow the bad guys track him down again within just a day. Jessica Alba appears in what has to be the most horribly contrived setup I’ve ever heard which apparently was meant to get Statham to fall for her, then she would be kidnapped and he would be forced to go out and kill people in order to free her. It’s beyond ridiculous but of course, he figures all this out within minutes of meeting her. This being an awful movie, despite the fact that Statham figures all this out, he then proceeds to fall in love with her, she gets kidnapped and he is forced to kill people to get her back.
Along the way we learn that the bad guy, Crane, is actually someone Statham worked with in the past who is doing all this bizarre setup as payback to get Statham back for getting away from some job-gone-wrong they were both doing years before. Now Crane not only wants to kill Statham, but first demands that he kill three impossible-to-get-to targets. Turns out these three baddies are Crane’s competition for top place in the International Worst People in the World contest so Crane figures that if Statham takes them out, he’ll be top dog.
All of this convoluted nonsense of course is just an excuse to put Jason Statham into perilous situations which require him to either shoot or beat the crap out of bad people, conveniently forgetting along the way that he himself is a guy who used to kill people for money and is about as far from a heroic figure as you can get. That’s pretty much what action movies since the 1990s have devolved into and is what much of our video game culture is also centered around. Games such as Grand Theft Auto and Hitman make drug dealers, thugs and professional assassins the heroes of the game and that’s fine. It’s a predictable counterculture response to some of the ridiculous nonsense we were treated to by Stallone, Scharzenegger and Van Damme in the 80s. I imagine in 10 years or so the pendulum will swing back the other way again.
Of course, because we are expected to cheer for the bad guy hero, most of the violence is also justified by the fact that the people the hero is taking out are so much worse. In Mechanic Resurrection, the three people Statham is tasked with killing by Crane are all such awful people, you’d cheer Hitler if he took them out.
Now I’m not trying to be an effete snob in talking about this. I love movies with action and crazy stunts but what annoys me about bad action movies like Mechanic Resurrection is that they are so forced, so full of contradictions and impossible coincidences and so insulting to the audience’s intelligence that I feel dumber for having watched them. Silly things like continuity or consistency, even from one scene to the next, aren’t even paid lip service. The whole gimmick with The Mechanic is this is a professional hit man who is supposed to make his victim’s deaths look like accidents, yet Bishop leaves enough bodies behind him at every hit that he could fill the local morgue three times over. This guy is the opposite of subtle.
Michelle Yeoh must have done this for a payday because there is no other reason imaginable for what she’s doing here, uttering insanely horrible dialogue like “those who have been hurt the most often have the greatest ability to heal” as though this is signficant wisdom.
Tommy Lee Jones also shows up for his payday but is almost unrecognizable as the third baddie Statham is supposed to kill. Because I don’t even care about spoilers with something this god-awfully horrible mess, I have no problem telling you that he ends up being an international arms dealer with a heart of gold who helps Statham take out Crane and survive to meet back up with Jessica Alba at the end.
So I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m giving this movie a rating of Total Suckage. But actually, I’m probably being way too hard on this stinker. Movies like Mechanic Resurrection do have two great purposes. One, they make great video game tie-ins because that’s all they really are to begin with and two, they are great for Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD parties where everyone watching can cheer and jeer and play a drinking game for every time the hero kicks or stabs someone (or just glares at them). With movies like this, you’ll be wasted in the first half hour.
If you’re looking for a good time this weekend, avoid this turkey. Trust me, you’ll have a better time watching the grass grow on your front lawn.
Thanks for watching.