When it comes to Jason Statham, he’s very hit-or-miss with me. I always want to like his movies really badly, but lately they’ve just been coming up short. Needless to say, a desperate sequel like Mechanic: Resurrection isn’t one that incites hope–but I’m a fair man. I even gave the mediocre first film a shot at redemption recently (read my retrospective on it here) just so I could give this film the most fair treatment possible. Did this one actually deliver? Let’s take a stab at the sequel we’ve ALL been begging for, Mechanic: Resurrection.
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) has lived in solitude after the events of the first film, having faked his death and killed his protege. After a kidnapped woman named Gina (Jessica Alba) is used to try to lure Bishop out of hiding, the two devise a plan to thwart the interested party. But when Gina is captured once again, Bishop is forced to complete three impossible assassinations to save her.
This film certainly has a different attitude than the first film, where Statham’s character had a bit more dimension to him. I thought it didn’t work for that film, because it just didn’t have the writing to back it up, but with Resurrection, they’ve said “Fuck. That.” and just gone down the route of a straight-to-DVD action film from 2003. Early in the film, this works. Right from the get-go, we have fight scenes and a very simple story set up–getting me amped right from the start. Because of the simplicity of the character and story, Statham works much better here than he did in the previous Mechanic film. At age 49, he can still kick anyone’s ass without breaking a sweat. Seeing him in these action scenes are awesome. Very rarely did I ever not believe that it was him doing these stunts, which is exactly what I want from an action film like this. Not only do you have cool fight scenes, but later on in the film when we get to the “3 assassinations” storyline, the first two assassinations are extremely well done. They’re nothing spectacular, but they are fun, engaging sequences that mirrored the first film in the best way possible.
Statham works solo through much of this film, but of course there needs to be a love interest–in this case being Jessica Alba. I’ve always found Alba to be a terrible actress, but it seems that within recent years, when she makes her very rare appearance in a film there’s a noticeable spike in quality in her acting abilities. She’s no Oscar winner, but she definitely has more of a spark on screen. As far as acting goes, Alba and Statham work surprisingly well together. Their relationship seemed rushed and forced to me, but they have a surprising amount of chemistry—which can sometimes go a long way, especially for a film as lame as this.
That’s certainly the word to use with this film: Lame. That’s because the film is a complete mess as far as narrative and pacing. As I said, it starts out quick and simply. The plot’s moving and the conflict is established. But then immediately after this, the movie totally halts and we spend 25-minutes hanging out with Jason Statham and Jessica Alba on the beach, where they then establish another conflict to set up the second half of the film. It’s not even that the dialogue is bad or the story is horrible, it’s just messy and boring. It’s a movie comprised entirely of waiting. Waiting for it to get good, then eventually giving up and waiting for it to end. Sure, those first two assassinations are fun, but everything after that is shit. The first film rescued itself by having a dumb, but exciting second half. This film is like a chicken with it’s head cut off–aimlessly running around, not knowing where to go, then eventually it ends. Even the action in the second half takes a huge dip in quality, especially that climactic sequence on the boat. Wow, talk about a cheap, lame finale.
That’s another problem with this film, it’s very cheap. When I attended my screening at the theater, it was honestly like watching something from the TV projected and stretched out on the big screen. It was like Ratchet & Clank, where I’m just sitting there going “Why the fuck am I watching this in a theater?”. Everything about this film screams straight-to-DVD. The acting, the script, the sets, the special FX. There are some sequences early on that have decent CG, but the whole second half is nothing but cheap looking effects. It makes the film feel even more desperate and pointless than it already was. Maybe I would have even been a bit softer on this film had it been a straight-to-Red Box film, but a theatrical release? No, this is way too cheap and way too bland for you to pay 11 dollars per ticket.
At the end of the day is this a bad film? Yes. I’ll be fair and give credit where credit is due though. Some of the action is fun, I like the basic set up, the leads have a lot of chemistry, but that’s about it. Even at 98-minutes long, this film could’ve lost 20-minutes easy. This film feels like a byproduct of a studio who is desperate for money (Millennium Films also released this year’s box office disappointments Criminal and London Has Fallen) .