“The Mechanic” is a remake of a 1972 film by the same name starring Charles Bronson. Bronson was a pillar of machismo during his time — much like Jason Statham, the star of this remake, is becoming today. Bronson injected films like “The Dirty Dozen” and five different movies called “Death Wish” with enough testosterone to blow up one of the cars that seem to explode whenever his heir-apparent Statham is on screen.

The Mechanic

At Quality 16 and Rave
CBS Films

But, if you see this modern remake of “The Mechanic,” also starring Ben Foster (“The Messenger”), you should bring someone to talk to. That is, you won’t be hearing much from the characters who spend 90 minutes trying to kill each other. Things will blow up; people will be murdered and betrayal, sex and hard drugs will all flash across the screen; but you won’t be leaving with too many memorable quotes.

Statham plays a contract killer named Arthur Bishop, about to retire from his dirty-but-lucrative profession until he meets Steve McKenna (Foster), a young man who wants to become a trained hitman — the twist being that Bishop’s last secret kill was Steve’s father. Steve’s first lesson is that there’s no time for weak, emotional bullshit when trying to kill people in violent and expensive ways. Statham’s characters usually know this well, and he says little to his apprentice and only friend even while they’re out killing people.

It almost feels uncomfortable how little the characters speak in this movie, but the relative absence of dialogue oddly ends up adding something to the experience, once you get used to it. And, knowing Statham, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this film lacks lines. Just looking at his career, and the titles of movies he’s been in (like “Snatch,” “Crank,” “War,” “London,” “Chaos”), it’s pretty clear the guy appreciates brevity. Something Statham can communicate with a grunt or stare is always better than something he has to talk about.

Despite how modernized and drenched in special effects “The Mechanic” becomes, you can tell the story itself was taken from the ’70s. That is, there is no clear hero, no person we’re supposed to relate to or sympathize with and no one, in the end, who we can point to and call “good.” This action movie is fun, but it’s also dark. It presents a world in which ridiculous, murderous stunts go off without a hitch and there seem to be too many thugs, criminals and hitmen to possibly live with any peace of mind. Above all, it depicts a world in which there is no justice save for what is rogue, cold-blooded and ruthless.

Perhaps the silence inherent to this film is not something we’re supposed to get used to. Perhaps the fact that Statham understands the mercilessness of this world is the reason he has so little to say about it. Maybe we’re not meant to draw any conclusion from this film apart from the fact that the world is terrible, and the sooner we pack heat against it the safer we become.

Stoic Statham makes himself seem like the man to ask about the justice, discipline and what desolate fate awaits us all. But, in “The Mechanic,” he makes it clear that he doesn’t want to talk about it.

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