CONTAINS SPOILERS. THUD.
It's a hard life being a Man. All that boozing, shooting, brawling, picking up chicks, fast cars, blowing things up, leaping off buildings, killing people, Schubert.... Well, maybe not the Schubert. But this is a Jason Statham movie, so an apparently inexplicable appreciation for classical piano music - on vinyl no less - is the only concession to any hint of a sensitive side; otherwise it's beer, guns, explosions, hookers and death all the way and the end result is the most testosterone-flavoured movie presently on release. In fact the only speaking woman in the film is the hooker Statham gets his end away with. Ostensibly this is a remake of a Charles Bronson vehicle but in comparison to The Statham, Bronson is about as alpha-masculine as Wendy Craig.
Statham is The Mechanic: the world's top assassin who takes his assignments very seriously and always pulls off the desired effect: "natural causes" or setting up someone else. His mentor and handler is wheelchair-bound Donald Sutherland (lending an air of effortless class that the film really needs) but Statham's loyalties are tested when Sutherland himself is his next target. Even though he carries out the hit coldly, professionally and efficiently, it's not the same, and Statham takes under his wing Sutherland's loose-cannon son (Ben Foster), mentoring him as a trainee assassin with a simple poisoning that turns into a crunchingly violent fight sequence. But will Foster discover the truth? And how long before a price is put on Statham's head as he figures out what's going on?
It's not as much fun as the first Transporter movie, which is probably the best Jason Statham "vehicle" so far (I'm not taken with the two Crank films, which seem to be trying too hard), although I'm wondering if he's ever going to branch out into light comedy or serious drama. That would be something, because sooner or later he's going to be too old for this stuff. Still, it's a moderately entertaining bit of thickear thuggery in which the assassination sequences are pointlessly spectacular and, rather than operating subtly in the shadows like proper assassins, they opt to stage the climactic confrontation with the villains by merrily smashing buses, cars and trucks into each other in the middle of town in broad daylight. Sadly, despite all the crash bang wallop, it's pretty predictable, fairly silly (for one thing, Foster keeps leaving his prints all over the crime scenes despite having a criminal record), very empty and in the end a bit dull.
Yours to own (at some point in the future):