Tuesday, February 08, 2011

This Mechanic doesn't fix cars...

...well actually he does kind of, but its more of a hobby like listening to the exact same Schubert record over and over again like some sort of bizarre obsession... but I digress.

Jason The Expendables Statham takes a well deserved break from driving cars insanely through a movie [The Transporter Trilogy, The Italian Job, Death Race] to present himself as Bishop, a subdued killer for hire. We're treated to an example of his craft and through his interaction with his agents we learn that this man is the best in the business of killing without leaving a trace [and although he doesn't seem to wear gloves, he never leaves prints - yes, he's THAT good!!!]. When he's hired by his agency to kill someone he knows, he starts down a road that teams him up with his mentor Harry[Donald Sutherland]'s son Steve [Ben 3:10 To Yuma Foster] whom he trains to become an assassin too.

If you think you've seen this before - you have; but you may have seen the superior-in-many-ways Charles Bronsan & Jan-Michael Vincent original The Mechanic [1972]. In that movie Bishop [Bronson] was a tragic figure who popped pills because of the stress and paid a prostitute to compose love letters to him because he can't risk human friendship. Statham's Bishop didn't seem stressed out at all and actually screwed the prostitute. The way Bronson's Bishop trained Vincent's Steve was done in such a way that makes perfect sense of it's clever ending. Alas you don't get that in 2011 and the training is nothing more than a Rocky-esque montage that somehow culminates in Steve going from a bum to the equivalent of a special forces soldier in the space of a few months.

But the exceptional character development and a well constructed plot is hardly what you expect in a Jason Statham movie and certainly not why I wanted to see it. No, I wanted some hard and fast action and this movie is not light on it. Foster and Statham are very physical and while it does take a while to truly open up the killing is delightfully theatrical as well as utterly implausible at times.

The movie's pace is a welcome change for Statham who sometimes seems like he's constantly on Crank [see what I did there?]. Director Simon Tomb Raider West seems to use Foster, who is a far superior actor, to subdue Statham's pace just enough for you to enjoy each on-screen death at a pace you can relish. West's trademark use of "overkill climactic death scenes" such as Cyrus the Virus' end in Con Air and Colonel Kent's suicide-by-landmine in The General's Daughter come to mind when you see the climax of this particular movie.

Final Verdict: This is a highly predictable and formulaic action movie with a bare hint of Shakespearean tragedy if you're prepared to excavate. So if you hate those or hate Statham then you won't find anything here, but after 3 weeks of Season of the Witch, The Kings Speech and Black Swan I found exactly what I wanted.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

12 comments:

Constance said...

What? You went to see The Kings Speech AND Black Swan? Weren't those like, chick movies or something? Why'd you see those?

Civilian Overseer said...

, it's alright, I got this.

Connie, Madam, could you step overhere for a moment, Madam, you really need to step overhere for a moment. Alright, shakedown Jenny, how much do you want to just drop it and go away quietly? My advice is to take the money and walk away while you still can. It never happened, the Colonel never saw those movies, neither did he like them and he most certainly did not cry at the end and even if he did, it was a single manly tear.

Constance said...

What's this about tears? Were those crying movies? I assure you sir, I saw those movies and they are not exactly tearjerkers.

Civilian Overseer said...

Connie, you just don't learn. Takes out memory eraser, adjusts it, Madam, look here please, FLASH.

Constance said...

Yes, Please. Erase my memory... the terrible, terrible memory of never beating you to the punch! Dammit! I'd love to win one. Just one. That's all I'm asking for!

Civilian Overseer said...

Heavy hearted sigh, takes out memory eraser, adjusts for jealousy & envy, Madam, Could you look here please. Flash

vaughan said...

civvy

Actually he did like the kings speech...there are witnesses to the event of him actually saying it as he came out of the cinema. You can't silence every witness who heard him say it out loud!you can't kill every small child within earshot?....can you?

And again Colonel....in the Mechanic , the man lived in a house rigged to explode....he drove a car....rigged to explode!

Constance said...

I will go on record as saying that I enjoyed the King's Speech. In fact, when given the opportunity I submitted a question which was to be answered by the director. I've no idea if my question was chosen, they said they'd choose 10 questions and only about 20 people submitted questions. I thought that was very low.

No response yet from your man Hooper.

Former Grunt said...

But Mr. V., The Colonel also lives in a house that's rigged to explode! It's easy to see why he liked the Kings Speech too. The man says that's he's a naval officer and has little mind for such Kingly duties. The Colonel's favorite is Ultra Magnus - "I'm not worthy of the Matrix Optimus, I'm just a soldier!" The colonel's responsibilities were thrust upon him by fate too - and the fact he was indirectly responsible for the deaths of his predecessors, but thats another story.

Civilian Overseer said...

Mr.V, I don't have to harm/silence/kill anyone. For you see, the Colonel's mere presence inspires such spine chilling terror in the minds of all witnesses, that no one, I repeat, no one, especially the ones who know whats good for them, (that means you Mr.V), can ever remember anything..., anything at all...

Connie Are you referring to the notorious space pirate and human slaver Spatter Jay Hooper by any chance?, if so, how do you know about our associ......, Hrmmupp, what I mean to say is, never heard of any one called by that name. You must be mistaken, now if you would care to look over here please,

FLASH.

Wow, never used this three times on the same person before, I sure
there must be some unpleasant side effects. Hold on, thumbs through user manual, where is it, where is it, Ahh, Side effects!, Repeated use of the Acme Memory Diarrhoea..., Brain Tumors..., moving on, Dementia, Wow. Unlucky Connie, still needs must and all that.


Grunt, you know that's classified, We are still investigating what actually occurred during the unapproved Oedipus operation. Don't spoil our chances of finally bringing charges against the Colonel that also don't incriminate me.

Civilian Overseer said...

Colonel, are you quite done destabilizing the middle east?. I'm all in favour of toppling corrupt regimes but could you not have started closer to home?

Colonel Creedon said...

@ All: I will review the 4 Oscar-season movies I've seen quite soon and you'll learn my thoughts on all then.

@ Civvy: Discussion on corrupt regimes begins here at 21:00 so stick around.