On the surface The Mechanic looks like your typical Jason Statham fare, heavy on the action and light on pretty much everything else. It definitely is, but does have one thing going for it, Ben Foster, and that goes a long way toward ensuring that I'll likely enjoy at least some of the movie. I personally think Ben Foster is one of the best actors in movies today, and aside from one or two questionable role choices *cough*Pandorum*cough*, I've enjoyed everything he's done.
Not that you really need any sort of plot synopsis, but here goes. The Mechanic is about a contract killer, or "mechanic" in this case (Statham), who is given a job to kill a friend inside the organization he works for because of a botched job. He reluctantly goes through with it, and runs into the mark's son, Steve (Foster) while visiting the grave a few days later. After seeing the effect his father's death had taken on him, Statham takes Steve under his wing and begins traning him to follow in his father's footsteps.
That's basically all there is to it. Again, it's not like anybody is going into a Jason Statham flick expecting to be challenged with a thought-provoking plot full of symbolism and intrigue. You go to see a balding Adonis beat the shit out of bad guys, shoot guns, and blow lots of stuff up. Ben Foster on the other hand is known for his acting ability, and The Mechanic is a much better movie for it. Whenever on screen together, you almost completely ignore Statham because Foster is constantly working, doing little things that most of the typical audience for this type of movie will unfortunately ignore completely. They'd rather watch cardboard with muscles shoot at anything that moves. Me? I only wanted to see The Mechanic because of Ben Foster, and as per usual he did not disappoint.
That doesn't mean that there weren't groan inducing moments though. In fact there were quite a few. I realize the point here is to turn off your brain and just watch the chaos, but I can't help but attempt to rationalize. It's one of my flaws, and one that keeps me from enjoying lots of these action flicks. For instance, Statham is supposed to be this uber badass hitman who is called in when a high profile job needs to be done quickly and effeciently. Ok cool, so why is he so eager to not only train a person who is clearly not in his normal state of mind dealing with the death of his father, but as far as I can tell is either drunk or high in almost every scene he's in? Not only is he willing to train, but he allows this person to plan a hit and tag along on a target that is deemed "critical" by the person who sends him contracts only weeks into this training? Really? And when the hit goes so horribly wrong, as we all knew it would, and the bullets start flying and cars start exploding all over downtown, there isn't a single cop that shows up? Not even a faint siren in the background to be heard. In the illustrious words of the Fox NFL analysts, "Come on, man".
Still, it's hard not to recommend The Mechanic. Despite rolling my eyes a few times, I actually did like it. There are some decent action sequences, it never gets boring or slows down much, and Ben Foster pretty much carries the movie for those of us who aren't just looking for a shot of testosterone with our popcorn. Just don't read too much into it, and I think pretty much everybody can find something to enjoy here.