Quick Movie Review: The Mechanic (1972)

After watching Breakout a while back, I added every single Charles Bronson movie available on Netflix’s instant watch. One such movie is The Mechanic, which I knew absolutely nothing about and had a great time watching it. I’m guessing the popularity of James Bond movies helped get this flick made. Or maybe the 70s were just filled with movies like these. I guess I should explain. See, Bronson plays a hitman who works for an organization which sends him packages of information on his victims. Early in the movie, he gets a package with the picture of his friend Big Harry who he succeeds in killing. Soon after, he takes on Harry’s son played by Jan-Michael Vincent to train as a mechanic (a.k.a. hitman) for the organization. It’s kind of like Bangkok Dangerous, with an older killer taking someone under his wing and explaining how to do what they do, but, you know, not incredibly lame and boring. Not only do we get treated to some really fun training sessions first with Bronson alone in his cool 70s pad (with full-on knife throwing and a secret wall where he puts all the information on his hits) and later with him and Vincent. And don’t worry, just because it’s got a PG rating doesn’t mean this movie is lame. I would have thought it would be and R or PG-13 (though that rating didn’t exist back then) because of all the deaths (and there are a lot). Now I’m going to jump into SPOILER TERRITORY. I really, liked how this movie ended. After being given a mission that would take him to Italy, Bronson went home to discover that Vincent had actually been given a case file with him in it (so Vincent was assigned to kill Bronson). Knowing this, he prepared himself and the two of them went off and did the mission in style (this is a great couple of sequences). Anyway, at the end, after completing the mission in Italy, Vincent poisons Bronson and heads back to Bronson’s place. Bronson figured this would happen, so he rigged a stress ball that he always used to explode if moved by anyone aside from him and killed Vincent. I liked how bleak the ending was with both killers getting killed. There’s an interesting tone to the movie as it just kind of sits back and lets events unfold without getting judgmental about what’s happening on screen. It also balances really dark moments like when Vincent takes Bronson to this girl’s house where she has threatened to, and then does, slit her wrists right in front of them. Then, you’ve got later scenes with the two kicking ass and taking names. If you need further prodding to check this movie out, it’s directed by Michael Winner who also directed Death Wish 1-3, all classics in their own right. Oh, plus, Jason Statham is working on a remake, so you might as well check this out, so you can bitch about how different they are.

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