The Mechanic


Don’t insult his toolbag…

The Mechanic review

The scowl. The muscles. The remorseless acts of violence. Jason Statham IS The Transporter! Oh, no, hang on – The Mechanic! Oh, who cares?

By now Statham is essentially his own sub-genre, and Con Air director Simon West’s first film in three years wastes no time in giving us some full-frontal Stath-porn. Within five minutes, we’ve had a witty underwater kill and – hello! – out comes Statham’s hairy chest.

Looking, as ever, like he’s been injecting raw steaks into his arms, Statham is lone-wolf hitman Arthur Bishop, an expert in assassinations that look like accidents: he’ll whack the target then vanish like he was never there.

He’s also the kind of man who wears a black rollneck and a leather jacket to a bar and still has wham-bang sex with a Victoria’s Secret model. Smooth.

Reduxing Charles Bronson’s 1972 genre B-thriller, The Mechanic is never more than safely predictable, but packs enough pace and punch to keep jolting forward.

Having been duped into whacking his mentor and only friend (Donald Sutherland, literally coasting in a wheelchair), Statham then takes the man’s alcoholic son (Ben Foster) as his apprentice. Because that couldn’t backfire, right?

X-Men: The Last Stand’s Foster (a kind of budget Ryan Gosling) is quite cool as Statham’s wisecracking, whisky-skulling protégé, while bad guy Tony Goldwyn (brother of Paramount Studios’ president, director of Conviction) grabs the film’s standout zinger: “I’m going to put a price on your head so big that when you look in the mirror your reflection is gonna want to shoot you in the face.”

Bravo, sir. And if you like that, you’ll love the violence.

Whether it’s hand-to-hand (Foster brutally hurled through bookcases by a 7ft gay killer who loves chihuahuas) or high-calibre gun-ishment (splatty headshots, shell-cases pirouetting in slo-mo), the choreography is bloody, brutal and believable.

At one point, Statham sticks a fire extinguisher pin through his opponent’s cheek. Now you don’t get that in The King’s Speech.


Less silly and more vicious than The Transporter, our bullet-skulled action hero’s latest actioner is engineered to do exactly what you want: smash, crash and gurn. Another B-movie franchise for The Stath? Quite possibly.

Film Details

User Reviews


      Jan 27th 2011, 17:06

      Its nice to see a giddy kind of love for the 'one man army' movies. They are somewhat a lost art. The Expendables not included. Not since the 80's has anyone really dominated the field on a mainstream level. Seagal was never really mainstream after all. But The Stath is really coming into his own. Admittedly The Transporter was an ultimate pile of horse s**t but it had its moments. If only there were more critics who shared the love for the ridiculously violent. Shame really.

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    • MisterAmj

      Jan 27th 2011, 18:33

      Am I the only one that thinks Total Film have given away too many spoilers in this review. "Having been duped into whacking his mentor and only friend..." as one example?

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    • BruceShark

      Jan 28th 2011, 9:47

      MisterAmj....Yes they are giving away a plot spoiler but it's a spoiler the film makers give away without any care themselves during the film. So many nudge and winks towards the camera you know who the bad guy is straight away. 3 stars is about right. Not as good as crank but still good friday night entertainment. The only bit that I did find unbelievable is that the guy would be duped into killing his mentor and friend. He doesn't even question it.

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    • johnrichelle

      Feb 4th 2011, 6:59

      nice, too many spoilers but i just great fan of Jonson Statham ( Handsome Rob in italian job) i just like ..... johnrichelle

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