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The Mechanic: The Company Men With Guns, But No Families

Jason Statham bares his six-pack before speaking his first line in this humorless, efficient remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson hitman movie. Directed by Con Air auteur Simon West, The Mechanic is all business: the solitary assassin and his mentor (Donald Sutherland), the latter’s ne’er-do-well son (Ben Foster), double-crossing, payback, and guns, guns, guns. Where Bronson, without the benefit of computers or miniature video cameras, had the blue-collar gravitas of working—well, killing—with his hands, Statham conveys serene metrosexual assurance. His unruffled Arthur Bishop is as much IT specialist as assassin: Bond without the wit, Bourne without the psychological trauma. His armory is stocked by Glock and Apple, and his vintage-chic bayou hideout is fit for a Dwell profile (“Mr. Bishop likes to restore tube amps and Jaguars in his weekend home just a short boat ride from New Orleans....”). That Foster’s worshipful apprentice begins to dress and behave just like his teacher, then moves into his home, gives The Mechanic a strongly gay vibe. And when Foster does, in fact, go cruising to kill a rival hitman, it’s like neither man can agree who’s the top. In the original, Bronson worked for the mob. Here, Statham, Sutherland, and Foster are employed by smug suits in Lear jets. If they seem sad and obsolete, they are—The Company Men with guns, but no families or pensions. All they have is their job, and retirement literally equals death.

 
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