I am an unapologetic Jason Statham fan. He, along with Stallone, Schwarzeneggar, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and Jason Momoa are my guilty pleasures, where I will watch whatever they’re in just because they’re in it (with certain exceptions) and the fact that they’re in it makes it worth watching (or owning a copy) to me. Hey, I even watched In The Name of the King just to see Statham . . . and, you know, to see how shitty it really was. (Not quite as bad as I feared but still bad.)
I find Statham to be quite a good actor, actually, for someone who didn’t get into acting by intention. He carries himself well, has a way of expressing things quickly, with glances and movements that are subtle and almost too fast to see. He doesn’t have a great deal of range, but he plays straightforward characters very well, and if you need intensity, there’s no one better.
I haven’t seen all his films, but when one catches my eye I will check it out. I saw a trailer for Mechanic: Resurrection and I was interested (having seen the other Mechanic film and knowing his character didn’t really die). So I cued up my Amazon Instant Video and gave it a look see. Now, with my biases up-front, I have to structure this as a response to the question “Is this a good movie?”
That depends ENTIRELY on you, the viewer. If you enjoy quick, tight action sequences that have you holding your breath, then the answer is yes. If you like lush visuals and exotic locales, then yes. If you like quirky performances by Tommy Lee Jones, who’s just as ornery now as he was in Black Moon Rising, only with a little more “I don’t give a fuck,” then yes. If you enjoy watching Jason Statham running around in a wetsuit with a gun, best get the blu-ray STAT. But if you enjoy complex or even simple plotting, a consistent storyline, compelling characters and character chemistry, this is definitely not the movie for you.
Other reviews have used the word schizophrenic and that word is very apt for this film. It can’t decide what it wants to be or do, what message, what meaning it wants to get across, if anything. The basic plot is this: Statham is Bishop, an assassin who isn’t interested in working for anyone anymore, thanks. He’s just trying to live his life but someone named Crain is determined to hire him to kill, going so far as strongarming a woman (by threatening the children she works with) named Thorne (Jessica Alba, who does her best with what she has) into being rescued from an abusive man by Bishop, who would then fall in love with her, then she could be kidnapped and held hostage to force him to carry out assassinations. Bishop finds out about the plan but plays along since there is something at stake (the kids), and comes to actually like the woman who was sent to seduce him. She is kidnapped as planned and Crain gives Bishop his targets to eliminate. He kills two, then turns the tables on Crain and everything works out in the end, so the plot does have a beginning, middle, and end, but it never really comes together.
Thorne is never a strong enough motivation for Bishop on any level; you never get the sense that he’s doing anything more than going through the motions, which makes his very fierce movements as he carries out his work confusing–what is he fighting so hard for? Unlike Frank Martin in the Transporter series, who has very firm rules and, dare I say, values, Bishop is a blank. We don’t know who or what he fights for, who he loves, what he cares for other than the veneer of loving Thorne, which is pretty fake any way you slice it. And that pisses me off on multiple levels, because there is STUFF there that they put into the film–she’s a veteran who works with kids in Cambodia, where she found meaning in her life, so this is a passionate person who has a life and meaning, and all of that is just left to sit there, unexplored. It could have been explored, but apparently they needed more screen time to kill the warlord in the prison.
Which Bishop does, and then he moves to his next target, which I have to admit, I enjoyed on several levels. The target is Adrian Cook, a rich fuck who made money in sex trafficking, and in true disgustingly wealthy fashion, has a penthouse with a cantilevered swimming pool–i.e. a pool that juts out from a VERY tall building. Just a glass rectangle in midair, so you can swim and look down thirty stories. The way he does it is just smooth and very satisfying. Worth watching just for this. (For me, anyway.)
Then Bishop finally figures out that he’s been killing arms dealers, essentially knocking off Crain’s competition. So when he reaches the last one on the list, he decides to ally with him, fake his death, and take out Crain. Or something.
See, that’s what it’s supposed to have been, but the movie never really commits to any one course of action. It kind of meanders, hoping that just movement itself will add up to a conclusion. It’s kind of like writing a paper in college and realizing you have no idea how to bring it to a close.
Bishop moves through the film like a man who’s beaten the game eight hundred times already. The visuals are great, the fight scenes and stunts are awesome, and Tommy Lee Jones is adorable in his small part, so if that is enough for you, then yes please watch this movie because you WILL enjoy it. Otherwise, maybe just rewatch Transporter or the first Expendables and get a better bang for your buck.