The chrome headed superman of the moment, Jason Statham delivers nothing less than what we would expect from him in his latest actioner "The Mechanic". It isn't hard to know what a January action film is going to deliver either, even if it does star Statham and gives him a sidekick played by the talented and underrated Ben Foster. This is a run of the mill, hit man, shoot-em up genre pic that follows its guidelines carefully and plays on its campiness so close we're not really sure if it's joking or not. Statham has played this guy before, and in much better films. It would be nice to see him stretch his skills a bit, but until that kind of script appeals to him, we will have to settle for what has made him famous.

Director Simon West, who is a veteran of action flicks such as "Con Air" and the first "Tomb Raider" delivers on what is important here. Beginning with the opening sequence, our ruthless tone is set and the intelligence and skill level of our main character is well noted. It is an original execution and we could have only hoped the rest of the film would live up to this type of interesting, silent methods of killing, but instead it gets loud and worst of all messy. What story there is around the action sequences concerns the employer of Statham's Arthur Bishop and the death of his mentor Harry, played with a fun air of smart ass by Donald Sutherland. After the death of Harry, his estranged son asks Bishop to train him to do as he does. To become an assassin of the highest degree. Played here by Ben Foster, a loose canon of an actor that looks almost too well suited for his role. Steve (Foster) learns quick and yearns to kill, but his anxious emotions of course complicate Bishops quiet killing style.

It is entertaining to watch the calm and collected Statham play opposite the wild card of Fosters Steven. In fact, it is this element that allows "The Mechanic" to stand alone. If not for these two characters and their partnership this movie would be nothing more than a copy cat dud with some satisfactory action sequences. And even with the relationship between our leads, the previous description is pretty fair seeing as the climax of such built up tension is nowhere near as explosive or as violent as you might anticipate them to be. Statham is a master at hand to hand combat, it is in that element that he shows why he is the man to beat these days, but we get none of that here. He is too busy running and firing off hundreds of bullets that, while loud and no doubt effective, make poor use of the opportunities for beat downs here. Really? The killing off of the main baddie is simply watching these guys fire guns at his trapped body. C'mon Statham, don't get lazy on us now.

That is how it is starting to seem though. For now, Statham will remain the go to guy for a quick action fix, he can always make another "Transporter" film and made a nice choice in following Sylvester Stallone's lead in last summer's "The Expendables", but throwing in a clunker like this in between his better roles won't always be forgiven. This is a smear on his career and though it may not work against him, it is certainly not building much faith in him and he clearly has more to offer than this. We saw a glimmer of it in "The Bank Job" where Statham was more than just the killer, he was in command, not just of his team, but of all the aspects of his character. He is a strong persona. But he need beware for it can wear thin quite quickly. He deserves better material, there are smart action films to be made, he simply isn't looking hard enough. We'll give you our time Mr. Statham, you just have to deliver the goods. Here's hoping for better results next time.

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