Though 2011’s The Mechanic is one of Jason Statham’s best and most underappreciated action vehicles, few fans will admit to desiring a sequel, and yet, five years after the fact, here it is. Despite some solid action sequences and an amusing cup-of-coffee cameo from Tommy Lee Jones, this is a disappointingly low-effort follow-up that’s easily The Stath’s worst actioner in quite some time.
Arthur Bishop (Statham) has retired from the hitman business, at least until a figure from his past, Riah Crain (Sam Hazeldine), resurfaces and kidnaps his new love, Gina (Jessica Alba). Crain threatens to kill her unless Bishop carries out three more hits, and so he has to once again put his Unique Set of Skills to good use.
The first Mechanic was a pleasant surprise that basically came out of nowhere; girded by suspenseful assassination sequences and the highly entertaining dynamic between partners Statham and Ben Foster, it was a slick thriller with a greater air of sophistication than most of its genre brethren. Sadly, Resurrection casts audience goodwill aside in favour of a basic, perfunctory sequel in every sense of the word.
While director Dennis Gansel (We Are the Night) serves up some solid (and agreeably silly) action throughout, almost everything else here is a total bust. The first act is obscenely talky and rushes through the Statham-Alba relationship in the most unconvincing fashion; they’re not particularly believable as a pair, have little chemistry and Alba is just a strange fit for material like this.
The hits themselves are basically fine, some choppy editing and dodgy CGI aside, though you’ll probably get restless waiting for Tommy Lee Jones to show up as the third hit, not flaunting his mug until deep into the third act and for barely five minutes of screen time. Jones seems like he’s having fun with his bizarre get-up and hair-do, but it’s clear this is just an easy payday and holiday in Thailand for him.
Again, everything circling the action just doesn’t quite work; the villain is immensely boring, the peeks into Bishop’s back story are too vague and flat to make the audience care, and the film on the whole lacks the visceral, unique dynamic that made the original so enjoyable. It’s the most lazy, forgettable of sequels, and a substantial – if not totally unexpected – disappointment from one of Hollywood’s few true action mainstays, even if he acquits himself well enough as usual.
Mechanic: Resurrection is in cinemas August 26th