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If it ain't broke - 'Mechanic: Resurrection'

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Action sequel offers thin narrative and ludicrous violence

In a lot of ways, Jason Statham is a bit of a throwback.

 

The world of action movies has changed a lot in the last 30 years. The over-the-top excess of the Stallone/Schwarzenegger offerings of the 1980s has largely fallen out of favor, to be replaced by a whole different kind of excess, one drenched in grittiness.

But much of Statham's work hearkens back to the baseline absurdity of those 80s action flicks. He plays stoic, quietly invincible loners who punch and kick through all obstacles in their path in films with simple names and plenty of sequels.

His latest is yet another sequel this one to 2011's 'The Mechanic.' This new film (which goes with the colon-style designation rather than just a number) is 'Mechanic: Resurrection.'

Statham is Arthur Bishop, the titular mechanic. He's an assassin who specializes in killing folks and making it look like an accident. He has also been presumed dead for years, spending his time on a houseboat in Brazil and generally doing the whole 'man with a past' thing.

His quiet solitude goes up in smoke, however, when a gang of thugs appears in town with an offer from their employer, an old nemesis of Bishop's by the name of Crain (Sam Hazeldine, 'The Brothers Grimsby'). Bishop proceeds to Jason Statham the bejesus out of everyone and escape by jumping from a gondola onto a hang glider, because it's that kind of movie.

He makes his way to Thailand and the island hideaway run by his old friend Mei (Michelle Yeoh, 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny'). It's there that he crosses paths with Gina (Jessica Alba, 'The Veil'), a former Special Forces operative who now runs a sanctuary for victims of human trafficking in Cambodia. She's also the bait to drag Bishop back into Crain's orbit unwilling bait, but bait nonetheless.

From there, Bishop must travel the globe killing the crap out of whatever dudes Crain wants gone, including luminaries such as an African warlord (Femi Elufowoju Jr., TV's 'Borgen'), an Australian mining magnate (Toby Eddington, 'Echoes of the Void') and an American arms dealer (Tommy Lee Jones with a sweet soul patch). If he doesn't do Crain's bidding and make all the murders look like accidents Gina will die, and since Bishop is now in love with Gina despite having only known her for like a week, he does what he is told while he hopes to find a way to save Gina and escape Crain's influence forever.

Oh, and a lot of people die. Like, a LOT of people. Lots of punching and kicking death, sure, but also plenty of bullets and the occasional Rube Goldbergian convoluted murder process all executed with that matchless blank-faced Statham intensity.

German filmmaker Dennis Gansel knows enough to stay out of the way, content to simply show us Statham doing Statham things and calling it a day. For a movie like this, it's exactly the right call it's all about showing the bodies hitting the floor. The more ridiculous, the better.

Look, there's something to be said for a movie that refuses to concern itself with minor things like plot or plausibility and instead chooses to focus all of its energies on the wide array of ways in which Jason Statham can straight-up kill people. Nobody currently working can call forth the kind of kinetic brutality that Statham brings to the table, while the lack of affect is curiously effective the dude looks the same whether he's drinking his morning coffee or stabbing a henchman in the neck or cliff diving into shark-infested waters. It's part of his not-inconsiderable charm.

Alba is fine as the love interest. She's basically a plot device, but she seems to be giving it the best effort of which she is capable. It's nothing special in terms of performance, but she's basically set dressing here. Yeoh is far too good to be here, but she's a pro; she says her lines and hits her marks. And Tommy Lee Jones is kind of delightful he has clearly run out of f---s to give and is content to turn up on any set so long as the money is there. His goofy facial hair and lack of engagement is kind of delightful to watch.

'Mechanic: Resurrection' is not a good movie. But it is not good in the same way most of Jason Statham's oeuvre is not good in a batst entertaining way. Don't expect quality acting or narrative consistency or anything like that, but if you want to see a bunch of faceless bad guys get thoroughly Stathamed much like they once got Stalloned or Schwarzeneggered back in the day - then you'll dig this one.

[2 out of 5]

Last modified on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 19:39

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