J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mechanic: Resurrection—Jason Statham Won’t Stay Dead

Ever wondered about the cost of replacing dead henchmen? Presumably, some sort of settlement must be provided to the next of kin. Plus, it would be awkward interviewing replacements: “Can you tell me why my predecessor wanted to leave your shadowy organization?” “He didn’t want to. He was impaled with a harpoon and pulled through shark-infested waters.” “Well, that’s fine then.” There are many, many occasions for such speculation when Jason Statham cuts down minor accomplices like Judge Judy slicing through weak excuses in Dennis Gansel’s Mechanic: Resurrection (trailer here), which is now playing in New York.

The ninety-three minutes of Mechanic 1 basically boil down to Arthur Bishop was a mob assassin, specializing in hits that look like natural causes, who faked his own death. He is now living the good incognito life in Rio, until he is tracked down by representatives of Riah Crain, an international arms dealer. Bishop knows Crain only too well, so he wants no part of the three hit jobs he is offered. Not to be deterred, Crain’s people force the innocent Gina Thorne to act as bait in the honey trap they intend to set for Bishop. Of course, he sees through their clumsy scheme, but he still falls for Thorne, so they just kidnap her back to force Bishop to do their bidding.

As we would expect, each target is ridiculously inaccessible, forcing Bishop to take extreme measures (as seen on the one-sheet). However, his third target, Max Adams the Bulgarian-based arms dealer to underdogs and lost causes might be a sleaze ball he can forge an alliance with.

So yeah, you basically know what you are getting here. It is more or less on par with most Jason Statham action movies (better than some, not as good as others). The only real disappointment is Michelle Yeoh does not have a fighting role. Instead, she just glides in periodically as Mae, Bishop’s old pal and the hostess with the mostess of his favorite Thai scuba resort.

Frankly, the real weak link here is Jessica Alba, who as Thorne, mostly just bites her lip and acts passive. In contrast, Thai star Yayaying Rhatha Phongam (recognizable from Only God Forgives) shines in her action scene as Crain’s courier (her role definitely should have been expanded). Sam Hazeldine is just okay as Crain, but Tommy Lee Jones absolutely devours the scenery as crafty old Adams.

It is hard to get why Resurrection was hidden away from critics. It would not have received rave reviews by any stretch, but it is pleasantly presentable. Gansel (who previously helmed The Wave and We Are the Night), keeps things moving along and soaks up the exotic backdrops as much as he can. Action fans should find it an enjoyable trifle, but they can safely wait for DVD or Netflix streaming. For now, it is screening nationwide, including the AMC Empire in New York.

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