A needless but watchable sequel to a typical Jason Statham action flick
A one-man army Chuck Norris-ing everyone to rescue a damsel in distress that he met and fell in love with in less than 3 days. How many times have we seen that in action movies? And how many times have we seen Jason Statham (The Transporter trilogy, Safe, Parker) in them? It has no longer become a question of plot or originality and you can bet that this one is anything but refreshing. It's movies like this that makes hope one of them would surprise me by simply allowing the bad guy to win at the end. Ain't happening in this one though.
Directed by Dennis Gansel (The Fourth State, We Are the Night), Mechanic 2: Resurrection is the sequel to the 2011 remake of the 1972 film, The Mechanic. You don't really have to watch any of that before this one due its simplicity. Statham reprises his role as Arthur Bishop, an assassin who specialises in killing people and making the deaths seem like accidents. After the events of the first film, he now lives a peaceful live in Asia in hopes of leaving his past behind but an old rival Crain (Sam Hazeldine) kidnaps his new found love, Gina (Jessica Alba), and forces him to come back from retirement to kill three targets. Somehow such formulaic and unsophisticated story and characters needed four writers to do it.
Statham is basically being the usual Jason Statham in his typical Jason Statham action flicks. He's cool, doesn't smile much, all body, all charm and he only kills bad guys, hoo-hoo. Even the first film gave him more depth than this one with a standout performance by Ben Foster in that. We've seen what Statham is truly capable of in movies such as Spy (2015), Crank (2006) and the Guy Ritchie films but when it comes to these kind of productions, he'd just put more effort in action and not as much for acting. But then again, to be fair, his characters doesn't really have much for his to explore. As for the antagonist portrayed by Sam Hazeldine (The Huntsman: Winter's War, The Monuments Men), it's just another very typical wealthy bad guy that has some vague history with the protagonist.
Michelle Yeoh (The Lady, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) and the still-distractingly gorgeous Jessica Alba (Sin City, The Veil) add on to the bunch of stock characters. The only performance that's genuinely pleasing is by Tommy Lee Jones as Max Adams, a funny mob boss and the film's only comic relief who only appears in the final third. It makes me wonder how this film managed to get all these big names involved.
Audiences who wish to satisfy their urge for a straightforward, cliched action flick, Mechanic: Resurrection would probably be more than good enough. It seems be more action-packed and far less story-driven than the first film while pretty much maintaining the level of violence. It's probably more over the top and illogical than the first film. There's eye candy provided by Jessica Alba, with plenty of shots of her simply being hot, in bikini, showing cleavage, etc. but disappointing sex scene. The variety of locations are fantastic. From Asia to Europe. From the beautiful beach of Koh Lipe to the prison of Kedah, apparently infested with sharks but the film never does much with that idea. I'm from Malaysia and I'm not even sure if it's true that Kedah is surrounded by shark-filled waters.
But for audiences who want something more, like a truly engaging and intense action thriller with impressive fight choreography or stunt sequences shown in long wide-angle shots, this is not it. Statham simply cannot die, cannot get injured, hardly misses his shots, could figure everything out, could set things up like MacGyver and most of the baddies are always standing out in the open to be easily shot at. The film doesn't seem to know how to immerse the audience into the character's shoes. It's all fast-pacing without a moment for the audience to absorb the situations. The action sequences may not all be just gun and fist fight but there's just hardly anything new on the table. There's an attempt to do a Mission: Impossible-like scene of Statham climbing and hanging from a very tall building without safety equipment but it isn't shot in a way that could get me at the edge of my seat.
Mechanic is intended to be turned into another Jason Statham-action franchise and it could work. Unfortunately it just doesn't make me care at all if this sequel, or even this first film, existed. One thing I'm curious about the film though, why did the director think it's important to show Statham wearing goggles while in the water? Does this mean Statham is so great that he could probably even wear contact lenses underwater in a future sequel?! Mind blown.
Malaysian censorship: The action sequences didn't seem to be censored. Vulgarities are not muted at all. The sex scene, however, is cut a little but I'm certain that there isn't much to it anyway. Come on, you should know Jessica Alba by now.
Second opinion: (Sorry, went to the screening alone again. Will update if I heard from anyone who've seen it as well.)
Verdict: Might have been a decent action flick in the 90s.
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Running Time: 99 minutes
Director: Dennis Gansel
Screenwriter: Philip Shelby, Tony Mosher, Rachel Long, Brian Pittman
Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh
Malaysia Release Date: 25 August 2016
Local Distributor: TGV Pictures
Production: Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Millennium Films
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