By Thomas Simpson
After unsuccessful campaigns that lobbied for Jason Statham to be the next James Bond and Doctor Who (yes that was a thing), the Brit bruiser returns as Arthur Bishop in Mechanic: Resurrection. After faking his death at the end of 2011’s The Mechanic, elite hitman Bishop has retired to the sunny delights of Rio de Janeiro but where’s the fun in him living peacefully in retirement?
The opening scene plays out like a juiced up pre-credits Bond as a mysterious woman known as The Courier (Rhatha Phongam) attempts to blackmail Bishop into doing some jobs for her employer. Unfortunately for her, Bishop really likes the quiet life and kills near everyone in sight before a daring and ludicrous escape that sets the tone for the rest of the film.
The Mechanic had some depth to its story and created an uncomfortable and compelling bond between its protagonists. Resurrection throws all this to the side for the benefit of insane enjoyment. Gina (Jessica Alba) is the love interest that’s so badly shoehorned into the plot it hurts. In order for Bishop to save her, he must kill three men for the evil Crain (Sam Hazeldine), but it’s ok as the targets are bad guys themselves.
The set-up is cringe worthy with Alba and Statham exhibiting no chemistry which results in some gratuitous bikini shots of Alba while Statham uses any excuse to show his sculpted torso. It’s all a bit absurd but thankfully it doesn’t take long before we’re thrown into the action where Bishop has to devise ingenious ways to take out his targets.
The final product is overblown with a script so clichéd that it’s laughable (shark repellent anyone?) but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Resurrection plays out with its tongue so firmly in its cheek that the skin has cracked and bleeding. Director Dennis Gansel has crafted a fun movie that doesn’t ask for your investment of the characters; instead, it demands your attention of the set-pieces.
There is no skimping on the action as Statham broods from villain to villain, killing undesirables without breaking a sweat or waiting long enough to deliver a one-liner. The frenetic pace of the mayhem may not get out of third gear, however, there is much spectacle to enjoy including a tense and vertigo-inducing scene which has our hero dangling underneath a glass pool outside a high-rise apartment. There is no subtlety with its tacky taste.
Jason Statham continues to prove why he’s one of the most popular action stars of the 21st Century with Resurrection acting a glorious throwback to 80s action flicks. Better films will come and go this year but few will match the popcorn fodder delights of Mechanic: Resurrection. Tune in and switch your brain off.
Mechanic: Ressurection is still on at Showplace 14.
Thomas Simpson is a writer and filmmaker based in Glasgow, U.K. Find him on Twitter: @Simmy41.