Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Mechanic Remake

The remake of the 1972 Michael Winner directed, Charles Bronson starring The Mechanic, stars Jason Statham and was directed by Simon West, a director at least partly responsible (along with Tony Scott and Michael Bay) for how mainstream Hollywood action movies have been made to look since the mid nineties, the best example of West's is Con air.The Mechanic is a step or two down from that film, both in terms of scale and fun.

My thoughts on the original film can be found here if you need a refresher The Mechanic

Remakes are problematic for many film fans, with the majority being on the receiving end of nothing but vitriolic slaughter. For me some films are ripe for remaking, others not so but if you're going to bother, do something with it. I can live with changing elements of the story in a remake, to update the film to be relevant to todays audience, but the problem with much of todays audience is that means removing anything of interest from the original and just replacing it with blandness. For example with The Mechanic, in the original, nothing is really said about the hit targets, you just see pictures and snippets of information about medical records or their routine. In the remake you are made to see how loathsome they are, so its okay for them to be murdered, why is this necessary? Its so much more interesting to not know.

It was clear that in the remake the story would have to be changed as Statham is much younger than Bronson was and so the father issues explored in the original just would not work in this film, so what did they replace this important element with? Nothing really. If you watched the two movies side by side, the remake hits many of the same plot points as the original, but takes out all of the character beats that made it so interesting and does nothing to replace them, leaving it empty.

So, it clearly fails as a remake of the original, but how does it stand up as a Statham vehicle and action movie? Not very well is the simple answer, even though it is only just over eighty minutes long, it feels longer and apart from one brutal action scene featuring the two characters in the picture above, even the action scenes are disappointing, in fact the action scenes in the original are far more exciting than those on offer here. I was even left cold by The Stath in this one, even in bad movies he is usually enjoyable but here he looks thoroughly bored and just in it for the pay cheque. Ben Foster as his apprentice is pretty nondescript, but he does at least have that one good action scene.

So, to the surprise of absolutely no one The Mechanic fails as a remake of a classic film, and perhaps even worse its a decidedly below average modern action film, thats forgettable, soulless and just plain dull. Avoid


A. said...

That last pic of Statham seems somewhat ballet-esque. I wanted to see a new action film, but I chose Drive Angry over this one. To be honest, your last paragraph sums up how I felt about Drive Angry as well. Let's hope things get better for us as the year moves along!

A hero never dies said...

Thats a real shame as I had fairly high hopes for Drive angry, are you going to bother reviewing it?
I hope things do get better, action movies seem to be in a real slump at the moment.

A. said...

I will, I'm just about two movies behind and I spent way more time than needed on Miami Connection. It's disappointing too because Drive Angry is a hell of a title.

I still have faith in modern action films as I think there were a fair number of good ones per year in the 2000s than there were in 1990s. Ones from North America at least!

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