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Mechanic: Resurrection

Year: 2016
Production Co: Chartoff-Winkler
Studio: Lionsgate
Director: Dennis Gansel
Writer: Philip Shelby/Tony Mosher
Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Michelle Yeoh, Tommy Lee Jones

The Mechanic series was the very model of the law of diminishing returns so I would never have bothered with this movie except for one set piece – the the assassination set in my hometown of Sydney in the pool hanging off the edge of the building. Unfortunately it was as cheap and tatty as every other element in the movie.

The script is abysmal, the acting is atrocious, the editing is appalling and the dialogue is like someone pouring scalding hot oil into your ear. Jason Statham will never win an Oscar, but to waste everything he does well by not giving his character action to partake in (which the Crank films did so well) was a huge mistake.

There's a big fight scene at the outset that promised great things when some heavies catch up with professional killer Bishop (Statham) where he's living off the grid in South America, but all that goes out the window for 45 minutes of drab character dynamics as he and the rest of the cast try to read the irascible script.

The bigger surprise was Jessica Alba. It's been so long since she's been in anything (maybe The Love Guru, which might have killed her career like it did Mike Myers') I can't even remember if she can act, but not only was the character like something a screenwriting AI would come up with after watching bad 80s TV, she delivers it like its a first grade Christmas pageant.

I'm going to remember almost none of the plot, but here goes. Some bad guy from back in the series somehow blackmails Bishop into murdering three bad people in hard to reach places. He also kidnaps the love interest as incentive, but when it comes to the last job, the mark (Tommy Lee Jones, seeming to know full well he barely has to lift a finger to be the most interesting thing here and duly collecting his money) has a compelling case to flip the script against the bland antagonist.

The three main set pieces actually had the potential to be great action cinema, and the swimming pool killing is indeed as inventive as it sounds, but none of it's executed with enough scope or finesse and they take up far too little screen time. Instead, director Dennis Gansel makes the mistake of thinking we're going to be interested in seeing Jason Statham play a romantic lead or a Mission: Impossible type spy-by-stealth more than seeing him shoot at and hit people.

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