Friday Fisticuffs: The Mechanic (2010)

I was a little worried that The Mechanic starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster wouldn’t qualify for FF. I don’t really have hard and fast rules for these things, but I like for entries to make sense. If The Mechanic turned out to be more of a shoot ’em up action movie, it wouldn’t really make sense to talk about the fisticuffs involved. There’s still a lot of gun play and that type of thing, but I was pleasantly surprised with some intense and even brutal fight scenes.

I stumbled upon the original Mechanic starring Charles Bronson a few years back and had a good time watching it. He’s a hitman who winds up taking on his dead friend’s son as a protege, played by Jan-Michael Vincent. Oh, and by the way, the dad was killed by Bronson. The story’s essentially the same this time around, except the much more agile Jason Statham plays the Bronson part this time around and Foster plays the son. Being the cocky sort, Foster wants to experience what it means to be an assassin for himself, ignoring Statham’s orders and trying to take down a fellow mechanic (assassin) with his bare hands. This leads to the film’s first real fight scene and one of the more brutal ones I’ve seen in a whil.

And that’s definitely not the only fight going on. There’s one where a job goes wrong and Statham and Foster both have to fight and shoot their ways out, there’s another with Statham fighting a dude on a bus with an excellent exclamation point on the end of it and even a quick moment where a guy gets stabbed with a harpoon and THEN has his neck snapped. What I’m saying is that there’s a lot of action to go around and it’s the variety you should expect from a Statham flick–fast, brutal and awesome. Check out clips from all of the above in the following RED BAND NSFW trailer.

Beware, we’re heading into SPOILER TERRITORY for both version of this movie. I actually read my review of the first movie with about 20-30 minutes left of the remake and almost immediately regretted it. In that post, I wrote about the ending which involves the mutual destruction of both the mechanic and the trainee after the trainee is tasked with killing the mechanic. I hadn’t remembered that aspect of the plot and was bummed that it might spoil this movie’s ending. It kind of did, but not really. The original features the two men taking a trip to do a job in Italy with tensions rising the whole time. This one replaces that with a series of pretty rad action sequences. The idea is still the same, with the trainee realizing the mechanic killed his dad and wanting revenge. This time around, the trainee is driven by revenge, not a job. I thought that was an interesting difference. Once again, the mechanic has arranged for the trainee to die in the event of betrayal, but this time around, Statham gets away with his life, unlike Bronson. So it’s less bleak, but I’m glad they switched it up a little just for variety’s sake.

All in all, I had as good of a time watching this version of the Mechanic as much as I did the original but for different reasons. That one is bleak with a standoffishness that lets the proceedings play themselves out, while this one is a lot more action-packed and mixes things up to a good degree. I like remakes that retain enough from the original (what’s the point of a remake that’s completely different, you know?) but also make some changes (why watch the same movie done a slightly different way?). Also, I thought it was awesome that Statham lives in a place that looks very 70s and reminiscent of Bronson’s house in the original. Fun stuff!

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