Jason Statham is the biggest B-action movie star after nearly 20 years in the industry. He has a slew of credits on his resume with The Transporter and Crank series as his biggest hits. This year, Statham returns with a character that even I didn’t know was popular: Arthur Bishop, “The Mechanic.”
After getting his revenge, hitman Bishop has escaped to Rio. But his cover is blown and he has to go on the run. While in hiding in Thailand, he meets Gina (Alba), an American volunteering in the third world as a teacher who may or may not have ulterior motives of her own. After they fall in love, she is taken hostage by Bishop’s nemesis Crain (Hazeldine). To free Gina, Bishop must become “The Mechanic” again.
Mechanic: Resurrection was trouble from the beginning. Bishop lives on a boat in the bay in Rio. In the first sequence, he leaves his boat, arms it, and then heads to a secret rooftop bar on motorcycle. It becomes quite obvious Statham is not in Rio de Janeiro nor is he actually riding that motorcycle near Copa Cabana Beach. German director Dennis Gansel decided to use a green screen to give the appearance that Statham is kicking ass in Rio. How bad are the green screen effects? Have you ever watched The Phantom Menace? They’re worse than that. Also, multiple boats explode throughout with some of the worst video game effects I’ve seen since the Nintendo 64 was all the rage.
Once we’re finally introduced to the villain and his evil plan about 25 minutes in, the movie actually begins to be a little fun. Crain wants to Bishop to kill three specific targets, each in a time-sensitive fashion. But there’s a catch: each assassination needs to look like an accident. The first killing, inside an island prison, isn’t all that fun, especially when you consider how complicated the plan is with the time constraints in place. Want your movie to be dumb fun? That’s fine but you can’t make things too complicated in the process. The second killing, inside a billionaire’s skyfortress in Sydney, is pure absurdity as Statham recreates the Dubai skyscraper climbing scene from Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol in order to drain a swimming pool. The third killing, Tommy Lee Jones doing his Matthew Lillard-as-a-drug-dealer impression in Bulgaria, eventually leads to the most hilariously over-the-top action climax since Fast 5.
For as hilariously bad as some elements of the screenplay by Philip Shelby and Tony Mosher are, others are just plain awful. Crain is nothing but a wannabe Bond villain in a decent suit whose role is to send dozens of nameless goons after Bishop to die for their cause. The cause? To take over the world’s bomb-making market, of course! How original!
Finally, we get to the big problem with the movie: Alba’s Gina. Alba, now more famous and wealthy for her skin care line, doesn’t have the nearly enough charisma to go toe-to-toe with Statham. I wouldn’t be shocked if a producer said in a meeting, “Since Gal Gadot turned us down, let’s get her talentless American twin.” In her defense, even Jessica Chastain wouldn’t have been able to infuse life into Gina. Gina starts as a battered girlfriend until she is rescued by Arthur. Their love story takes all of a day (or so it appears, continuing the lack of awareness of time in the movie) culminating in a love scene as erotic as a make-out scene in a Disney Channel Original Series. How does one make love then fall asleep yet have no smeared make-up or “sex hair”? The next day (or so it appears, again) she is taken hostage by Crain, who subjects her to more torture. How can one enjoy a popcorn action movie when the damsel in distress is kicked, punched, slapped, shot and stabbed more than the hero?
All in all, Mechanic: Resurrection is a mostly just plain bad Euro-action movie. Sure, it becomes progressively more fun as the movie goes along but has such backwards gender politics that it puts a stain on the proceedings. Statham continues to be the poor man’s Dwayne Johnson. Maybe with better scripts, he’ll get out of his shadow.
1 out of 5