MECHANIC: RESURRECTION Review

I saw the 2011 Simon West re-make of the seventies era Charles Bronson film, The Mechanic, starring Jason Statham as an elite assassin with a unique talent for eliminating targets and making it look like it was an accident. I'm pretty sure I saw that one. I did. I know I did because I generally enjoy these no-brainer action flicks Statham pops out randomly once or twice a year, but why this admittedly forgettable re-make from five years ago needed a sequel is unclear. Unclear really isn't the right word though, as this thing is totally unnecessary and that's obvious from the get-go. There is no ambition behind the product, there is no flair to the fight sequences, and the bigger action "spectacle" looks so cheap this may as well have run after Sharknado 7 on the Syfy network. Still, we have Mechanic: Resurrection because why not at this point? If one is interested in this sequel it will undoubtedly be due to the fact they either love seeing Jason Statham beat people up or they have a general affinity for bad movies. The thing with Mechanic: Resurrection though is that it's not even a good bad movie. Guilty pleasures, if you will, give audiences something to enjoy despite the obvious shortcomings of the overall product whereas with Mechanic: Resurrection there is very little to enjoy at all. So sure, I like to think of myself as a Statham fan especially when he's given the opportunity to take these archetypal action heroes and turn them into brooding bad asses that actually are action heroes with none of the nonsense that differentiates him from say, the James Bond franchise. Statham doesn't normally mess with the fancy gadgets or the outlandish cars, but more he goes in, takes care of business, and escapes before the cops show up. In short, he's no nonsense, but that's all Mechanic: Resurrection is. Still, I can feel that for people who only venture out to the movies once or twice a year and will for some reason pick this as one of those two movies to see will inevitably find it to hit all the right spots and send them home happy due to the fact it met their expectations for an action movie with an evil European villain, but to them I say, "please spend your money on anything else-Hell or High Water if it's playing near you or Star Trek Beyond if it hasn't disappeared from theaters yet." Both are prime examples of B-movies done right; utilizing their genre restrictions in fun and refreshing ways whereas the only B-word to describe this latest Statham movie is bad. Just plain bad.

Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a hitman with a particular set of skills that weren't requested for a sequel, but we got one anyway.
Like I said, as the first one wasn't memorable enough to remember I'm not sure what happened to Statham's Arthur Bishop at the end of that film that puts him living off the grid at the beginning of this one. We can surmise that Bishop doesn't want to exist in the industry of killing people for cash anymore, but that naturally goes up in smoke when forced to meet with a courier (Only God Forgives' Yayaying Rhatha Phongam) that relays a message from Bishop's old friend, Crain (Sam Hazeldine), who wishes to have three people killed and for Bishop to carry out that wish. Refusing to do the job a choreographed fight breaks out in which Statham burns a guy's face on a grill and then proceeds to escape by jumping off the top of a gondola lift and onto the top of a hang glider that just so happens to be flying by. While I just said that Statham is basically an even more brooding Bond than Daniel Craig Mechanic: Resurrection essentially renders him the equivalent of Roger Moore as he rides away atop this bright yellow glider on top of a green screen that is so obvious they would have been better off just leaving the green in the background rather than superimposing the distractingly blurry screen saver images they decided to use. From here, Statham's Arthur Bishop retreats to a safe haven ran by friend Mei (Michelle Yeoh) who owns a stretch of bungalows on an isolated beach. Bishop isn't here long before he notices a damsel in distress named Gina (Jessica Alba) whose situation he can't help but to intervene in. Surprise! Gina has actually been blackmailed into making Bishop fall in love with her so that Crain might then kidnap her and hold her for leverage so that Bishop may finally kill the three men he needs dead. Even though Gina discloses this plan to Bishop and the initial intention seems to be that of avoiding any emotional entanglements the plan actually ends up working just as Crain hoped. Bishop and Gina fall for one another, Crain's henchmen show up to kidnap her, and Bishop is forced into knocking off three dudes, Krill (Femi Elufowoju Jr.), Adrian Cook (Toby Eddington), and Max Adams (Tommy Lee Jones), so that he may win her back.

Mechanic: Resurrection more or less spends forty minutes of its hour and forty minute runtime setting up these circumstances I just described in a single paragraph. And so, in its final hour we watch Statham go through the motions of plotting three different kills that will look like accidents and then executing those kills. Some of this can be entertaining in the same way that watching "how to tie a tie" videos on YouTube can be entertaining, but mostly what we're seeing here are the generic beats and plot structure of every action movie ever since the beginning of time. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that Statham and Alba display some charming chemistry through the sequence in which they are getting to know one another, but as soon as they are separated Alba becomes little more than a damsel in distress and Statham is left to do what he does best-only it's conveyed in the worst light here. At the very least, West's 2011 film was a gritty hard-boiled crime thriller that had a certain aesthetic to it and an idea of the type of tone it was going for. Mechanic: Resurrection, as directed by Dennis Gansel (who seems to have directed numerous straight to DVD releases since 2001), has no aspirations to be anything more than it needs to be and therefore does very little of anything at all. In fact, I'm not sure Gansel is even trying to make a good movie. Rather, it feels Gansel is well aware of the reasons this movie has been greenlit and that he is meant to deliver a reasonable film on time and under budget so that the many producers can get their fair share of the (possible) profits. On a $40 or so million budget this thing will need to do solid business globally as it won't even break $10 million in the states opening weekend. To that point is the fact that while the film squanders its only chance at doing something interesting by separating Statham and Alba early on (which admittedly even that could have only gone so far given Alba's limited range as a performer) the three kill obstacle is sometimes lent a hand of creativity in the way Bishop comes up with infiltrating and exiting the heavily guarded places in which his targets live. There's also the bit where he rubs himself down with shark repellent which is flat-out hilarious. I don't know if that type of product really exists, but either way-the fashion in which it is presented here is priceless.

International arms dealer Max Adams (Tommy Lee Jones) is one of three targets in Mechanic: Resurrection.
This is a terrible movie, don't get me wrong, but even in the worst of scenarios I try to find something to appreciate about what I've just spent my time witnessing. In the case of Mechanic: Resurrection it is the fact that, like Bishop, the film can't help itself. It can't help that it falls into every genre trapping ever invented and it can't help itself when it wants to throw a completely pointless action sequence in the middle of the film so that Alba's payday is justified and so that she gets to do more than sit around and show off her body. Statham is two for three with barely a half hour left in the film when he decides he's had enough of Crain's games and is going to rescue Gina. Why even bother at this point? It doesn't matter-like I said, the movie can't help itself. Either that or the movie needed another action beat and the running time extended by ten minutes. This brings us to the best part about the movie and the only reason I was mildly interested in seeing what this sequel no one asked for had to offer: Tommy Lee Jones. Jones, who is now seventy might I remind you, is dressed in extravagant and boldly colored clothes with orange-tinted glasses and a soul patch to rival Howie Mandel's. Like the movie it too is generally terrible, but Jones seems to be the only one in on the joke that this is supposed to be a terrible movie. Jones plays up his international arms dealer baddie with a flair for the sardonic and an eye for the extravagant. Needless to say, it seems the veteran actor put more thought into his portrayal than anyone else put into the film as a whole. What's worse is that Jones is underutilized. Being the final stop on the three man kill list we get maybe fifteen minutes of the character total before the movie slides into the clich├ęd ending of having everyone believe our protagonist has died in a fiery explosion before appearing sometime later in a seaside village where the only people he cares about are now thriving. Mechanic: Resurrection is the type of movie where the security camera angles are better than the ones used in the actual film, the type of movie where the musical cues are beyond corny and the score itself is cheap. Mechanic: Resurrection is the kind of movie that feels like a spoof of the genre it's actively trying to be a part of; failing to meet even the low, intentionally trashy standards of this subgenre.