Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Mechanical Men

Michael Winner directs Charlie Bronson in The Mechanic, probably the campest hit man thriller I've ever seen. Bronson plays Bishop an aging assassin who takes the young handsome son of his friend/victim, played by Jan under his wing and starts to train in him the arts of discreet murdering. It's all built around the weird ambiguous master/student relationship between the two men with seemingly loving glances passing between the two throughout and I guess the florid 70's styling doesn't exactly help. Regardless it's still a good, surprisingly intelligent, film with some genuine tension as well as the requisite action and it's got a sharp, bitter finale. Ha, according to WikiP the original director & screenwriter had intended the two men to be romantically involved but they couldn't get the project greenlit with the gayness left in. Anyways watch it for yourself below.

Fast forward 39 years and The Mechanic get it's inevitable Hollywood facelift. Jason Statham kicks/punches/gurns his way through this glossy reworking and despite the contemporary trend for dumbing down there's still a glimmer of the originals intelligence. Statham plays mentor to Ben Foster's novice with Sutherland Snr cameoing and all put in admirable efforts given the slim, mediocre script but worst of all though the film eschews the ponderous pacing of the original and cranks up the action and violent death so much so it's soon an unremarkable, forgettable slice of action pie. Still if you just want some shiny fighty distraction it will suffice and Statham has become one of the more dependable leads for this sort of thing and hey at least he's not a wrestler/cage fighter or Vinnie Jones.

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