Review: The Mechanic (15A)

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AS one of Hollywood’s new generation of hard men, Jason Statham, below, has put the pedal to the metal on numerous occasions to outmanoeuvre cops and bad guys, including high-octane chases in the Transporter films and the 2008 remake of Death Race.

The title of Simon West’s action-packed thriller suggests the muscular British actor will be getting his knuckles dirty with more engine grease.

While Statham’s character does spend part of the film polishing and rebuilding a classic sports car, the eponymous mechanic is in fact slang for a hit man, who shoots first and growls inane lines of dialogue later.

Michael Winner’s 1972 film of the same name pairing Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent provides the inspiration for this predictable tale of revenge and retribution that intercuts limp banter with well-orchestrated action sequences.

West has a proven track record with explosive popcorn fodder that doesn’t tax the brain (Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider).

Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is one of the best assassins in the business: Clean, efficient and completely ruthless, he kills on demand and foregoes messy personal relationships by enjoying sex with high class prostitute Sarah (Mini Anden).

Out of the blue, Arthur receives a call from Dean (Tony Goldwyn), who needs the hit man to eliminate a traitor in the organisation.

The target is Arthur’s mentor, Harry (Donald Sutherland).

Having put his feelings to one side and successfully completed his mission, Arthur crosses paths with Harry’s grief-stricken son, Steve (Ben Foster), who implores Arthur to find his father’s killer.

Consumed with guilt, Arthur decides to take on Steve as an apprentice, training him in the art of assassination.

Alas, the newcomer’s impetuosity and fiery temperament make him a major liability.

The Mechanic is everything you expect from a film bearing Statham’s name: Loud, simplistic and bruising for a brawl.