Those who remember the 1972 thriller The Mechanic, starring Charles Bronson as an impenetrably stoic hit man who takes a murdered friend’s son as his apprentice, will recognize the key players in Simon West’s louder, more aggressive remake.
Jason Statham is Arthur Bishop, younger but no less disillusioned than Bronson’s solitary killer; Ben Foster is Steve, his depraved understudy; Donald Sutherland is Harry, Bishop’s friend and Steve’s estranged father, whose association with the murder-for-hire crowd ends as violently as one might expect.
In the ’80s, there was no shortage of Hollywood he-men, guys who regularly toppled small armies and rescued whoever seemed worthy of rescuing. Stallone. Schwarzenegger. Seagal. Their names were synonymous with action, but not necessarily acting.
Times have changed. The musclebound enforcers of yesteryear have given way to caped crusaders and masked mutants, and the actors who play the new breed of superheroes are not reformed bodybuilders but plausible Oscar hopefuls: Robert Downey Jr, Edward Norton and the like. Yet here, as if to prove there’s still room for an old-fashioned big-screen brawler, stands Jason Statham.
With Christmas, Kwanzaa and Festivus just a week away, the holiday season is in full swing, the malls are packed with last-minute shoppers, and the city's indie theaters are playing host to some of the year's most satisfying films.