Arthur Bishop is a ‘mechanic’ – an elite assassin with a strict code and unique talent for cleanly eliminating targets. It’s a job that requires professional perfection and total detachment, and Bishop is the best in the business. But when his mentor and close friend Harry is murdered, Bishop is anything but detached. His next assignment is self-imposed – he wants those responsible dead.
I've always found stories about hitmen interesting. It's a world that I'll never know anything about other than what I see portrayed in movies. While I'm sure super-secret killers for hire are nowhere near as exciting as the hitmen on the big screen, I still find the profession to be an engaging one. They kill people for a living, and they usually do it in a perfectly planned, meticulous manner. It's oddly intriguing to say the least.
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a hitman. Statham was born to play this kind of role -- a reclusive loner who doles out death with fatal accuracy. "Anyone can pull a trigger," he says. The best assassins are the ones who can make it seem like they were never even there.
There's an ingenious opening sequence where Bishop has been sent to kill a member of a drug cartel. He could have easily taken out his target with a sniper rifle as the man drove through the city, but that would have been too messy. Instead, Bishop strategically enters scuba-mode and attacks the cartel leader during his morning swim, dragging him to the bottom of the pool and drowning him. After that he's easily able to slip out the front door, without anyone being the wiser. He's adept at killing, and he takes pride in doing it stealthily.
Bishop receives his orders from a giant, faceless corporation who deals in death. He's handed non-descript envelopes containing his next target, and from there he plans out every detail to perfection. That is until he gets an order to terminate one of his closest friends and colleagues, Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland). There's no easy way around this assignment, but after it's over Bishop feels an overwhelming guilt and decides to take McKenna's hot-headed young son, Steve (Ben Foster), on as his protégé.
I'm a fan of Statham's character, even though he's about as clichéd as hitmen come. He lives alone in a modern style house. There's wood paneling everywhere, he listens to instrumental music on vinyl, and spends his spare time fixing up a hotrod in the garage. He's a recluse, but his meticulousness is what makes him so interesting.
Steve is the Yin to Bishop's Yang (or is it Yang to Yin?). They're complete opposites. Bishop carefully thinks through things, and only when he feels everything is just right he sets his plan into motion. Steve, however, flies off the handle without much thinking at all. He's impulsive, careless, and distraught ever since his father was murdered. Bishop takes it upon himself to train Steve in the art of killing, and this is where the movie kind of falls apart.
It's mentioned that Steve has worked for security firms, but there's no real revelation that he's as good as Bishop is. Still, after a few bullet-filled montages of the two training together, Steve is suddenly a hardened killer who can take down five armed men in a small room without breaking a sweat.
I love Foster, but he feels out of place here. He's a terrific actor, it's just something about the way he plays Steve comes off phony and insincere. The plot also becomes spotty after Steve is introduced. We know at some point Steve is going to come to the realization that Bishop is the one who killed his father, which leaves little suspense for the rest of the movie. As much as I hate to say it, Foster really is a burden here, and 'The Mechanic' would've done much better if it would have gone 'The Transporter' route and just let Statham do his macho thing.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'The Mechanic' comes to Blu-ray on a BD-25 Single-layer Disc. No Digital Copy has been included. The case states that this disc is coded for region A.
Just as we've come to expect from Sony, 'The Mechanic' bursts onto Blu-ray with a near demo-quality transfer. Its 1080p picture is filled to the brim with heavy amounts of fine detail. When I say fine, I mean you can see each scraggly hair on Donald Sutherland's unruly beard.
The opening sequence where Bishop takes out the cartel leader has pumped up contrast and looks like any other Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay production out there. A golden filter is cast over the entire image giving it that modern day action film look, which is becoming rather tedious. After that opening sequence the golden hue and the pumped up contrast die down a bit, giving the movie a more natural feel.
A heavy grain settles on the picture giving it a very gritty feel, but it never hinders the overall detail. Colors jump off the screen while blacks are inky and bottomless. Shadows are delineated well giving faces and objects more depth in darker scenes. I didn't notice any significant video anomalies like banding or aliasing. A few soft shots aside, 'The Mechanic' looks rather flawless on Blu-ray.
The video presentation set the bar pretty high, but the audio presentation is more than able to match its excellence. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround experience is just that, an experience.
This is an exciting, balls-to-the-wall action movie audio mix that sucks you in and doesn't let you go until the credits roll. Explosions, of which there are many, will rumble your home's foundation with a constant and steady release of low frequencies. Gunshots ring throughout the soundfield, while the bullets quickly travel through the channels using directionality to its maximum effect.
Dialogue is always intelligible, even during Statham's whispered lines. Ambience provides an engaging listening atmosphere whether the characters find themselves in a laid back café or a room full of gun-toting security guards all firing at once. Whatever the scenario, the sound is reproduce with fidelity and clarity. This is what an action movie should sound like. People looking to pick this one up will be happy with the results.
While I enjoyed Statham's starring role, the movie seems to derail when Foster's character enters the picture. It feels forced and unnecessary, not to mention the training montages are just downright silly. I almost expected 'Rocky' music to start playing in the background. In the end, 'The Mechanic' is another sleek action-thriller with loads of gunplay and hand-to-hand combat that are too quickly edited to create a coherent string of events. That said, the video and audio are fantastic, but the special features package is extremely lacking. I'd still end up recommending this to anyone who's looking for a near demo-quality action movie on Blu-ray.