ⓘ The Mechanic (2011 film)

The Mechanic (2011 film)

ⓘ The Mechanic (2011 film)

The Mechanic is a 2011 American action thriller film directed by Simon West, starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster. Written by Lewis John Carlino and Richard Wenk, it is a remake of the 1972 film of the same name. Statham stars as Arthur Bishop, a professional assassin who specializes in making his hits look like accidents, suicides, or the acts of petty criminals. It was released in the U.S. and Canada on January 28, 2011 to mixed reviews. A sequel, Mechanic: Resurrection, was released on August 26, 2016.


1. Plot

Arthur Bishop, working as a "mechanic" mafia slang for hitman, sneaks into the lavish home of a Colombian drug cartel leader and drowns him in his own pool. Upon returning home to Louisiana, he meets with his friend and mentor Harry McKenna, who pays Bishop for his work.

Bishop is given a new assignment: kill Harry. Bishops employer confirms by phone that the contract is correct, whereupon Bishop requests a face-to-face meeting. Dean tells him about a failed mission in South Africa, in which agency assassins were killed.

Dean says that only he and Harry knew the details of the mission, and that Harry had been paid for the contract details. Reluctantly, Bishop kills Harry with the latters own gun and makes it look like a carjacking. At the funeral, Bishop meets Harrys reckless son Steve. Bishop stops Steve from trying to kill a would-be carjacker in a misguided attempt at cathartic vengeance. Steve convinces Bishop to train him as a mechanic. Adopting a chihuahua, he instructs Steve to take the dog with him to a coffee shop each day at the same time. As Steve settles into a routine, Bishop escalates training, taking him to observe a contract killing.

The target is Burke, a mechanic for another agency who frequents the same coffee shop. Burkes only weaknesses are his interests in young men and small dogs. Burke makes a move on Steve and invites him out for drinks. Bishop instructs Steve to slip a large dose of Rohypnol into Burkes drink to cause an overdose. Steve ignores the instructions and goes with Burke to his apartment. When Burke begins to undress, Steve attempts to strangle him with a belt as he had seen Bishop do on a former assignment. Burke fights back, using his size advantage and experience, but Steve manages to kill Burke after much effort and a lengthy fight. Dean expresses his disapproval of Bishops having involved Steve, which violated the rules of the contract arrangement, but Bishop says that Harry and his arrangement were for price only, and Harry had left the details up to Bishop.

Bishops next contract is to kill cult leader Andrew Vaughn. They plan to inject their victim with adrenaline to simulate a heart attack, for which the paramedics would administer a fatal dose of epinephrine. While Bishop and Steve are preparing for the hit, Vaughns doctor arrives, and he sets Vaughn up with an IV of ketamine, which will inhibit the adrenalines effects. The hit men decide to suffocate him instead, but are discovered after killing Vaughn and are forced into a shootout with the guards, after which the hit men slip away and fly home separately.

At the airport, Bishop sees a supposed victim of the mission that Harry allegedly sold out. He confronts the other mechanic, who tells Bishop that he was paid by Dean to kill the other mechanics in South Africa and fake his death, so that Dean could engineer the failed mission to cover up his own shady dealings. He also reveals that Dean framed Harry and tricked Bishop into killing his friend.

The mechanic then attempts to kill Bishop. After a struggle between the two professionals, Bishop ends up killing him.

Bishop is later ambushed by Deans unprofessional henchmen: after killing them, he discovers that Dean was behind the hit. Bishop goes home to call Steve, only to find that Steve has been ambushed. Bishop directs Steve to a hidden gun, which Steve uses to kill his attackers. Steve gathers supplies for their new mission while Bishop plots how to get to Dean. In the process, Steve finds his fathers gun and realizes that Bishop killed Harry.

Bishop and Steve kill Dean in an ambush. On the way back, Bishop notices Steve carrying Harrys gun. When they stop for gas, Steve floods the ground with fuel while pretending to fill the tank. He walks a safe distance away and shoots the gas, blowing up the truck with Bishop still inside.

Steve returns to the house and performs two actions that Bishop told him not to do: playing a record on the turntable and taking the 1966 Jaguar E-Type. As he is driving away, Steve finds a note on the passenger seat that reads: "Steve, if youre reading this, then youre dead!", which he laughs off as a joke before the car explodes, killing him. Bishops house is destroyed by a chain reaction of explosions.

Back at the gas station, a security video reveals that Bishop had escaped from the truck, seconds before the explosion. Bishop gets into a spare truck and drives away.


2. Production

Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, producers of the 1972 original Mechanic, sought to make an update. Pre-rights to the remake were sold in February 2009 at the Berlin Film Festival. Variety reported that the screenplay was written by Karl Gajdusek. Director Simon West and Jason Statham were announced as part of the project three months later. Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland were cast alongside Statham in October 2009. Filming began in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 14 and lasted for nine weeks. Filming locations included St. Tammany Parish, the World Trade Center in downtown New Orleans and the Algiers Seafood Market.


3. Music

The soundtrack music is by Mark Isham, with two exceptions:

  • and "Better Off Dead" by Linnzi Zaorski, herself playing the "Jazz Club Singer".
  • Franz Schuberts 1827 Trio No. 2 in E-flat major for piano, violin, and violoncello, D. 929, which is played when Bishop returns from a mission. The record was released on January 25, 2011 via MIM Records label.

All tracks are written by Mark Isham.


4.1. Release Theatrical run

The Mechanic was released in the United States and Canada on January 28, 2011. Millennium Films sold U.S. distribution rights to CBS Films for the release. It was expected to perform well with male audiences, with its release a week before Super Bowl XLV.

The film grossed $11.4 million on its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada. It ended with a North American gross of $29.1 million and $47.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $76.3 million.


4.2. Release Critical reception

The Mechanic received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 53%, based on 156 reviews, with a rating average of 5.6/10. The sites critical consensus reads, "Jason Statham and Ben Foster turn in enjoyable performances, but this superficial remake betrays them with mind-numbing violence and action thriller cliches." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 49 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

Roger Ebert awarded the film two out of four stars and said, "Audiences have been drilled to accept noise and movement as entertainment. It is done so well one almost forgets to ask why it has been done at all."


5. TV advertisement ban

In June 2011 the UKs Advertising Standards Authority banned an advertisement for the film from being broadcast on British television. The ban followed complaints from 13 viewers regarding a screening of the advert during the teen show Glee. In its ruling, the authority found that although the advert was shown post-watershed, it was likely that a large number of viewers under the age of 16 would have been watching Glee at the time, and criticized the "stream of violent imagery" portrayed in the advert.

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