Outside of Suicide Squad and Criminal, I don’t know that I’ve seen a film this year more deserving of a vicious takedown than Mechanic: Resurrection, Jason Statham’s latest action-fest which sets a new low for the likable, if hilariously taciturn star. Resurrection, which is a sequel to Statham’s 2011 remake of an old Charls Bronson flick, is really just a video game posing as a movie, with progressive boss battles, endless henchman to gun down, the occasional puzzle to solve, gruff narration piecing together thinly drawn plot points and poorly animated faces with limited facial expressions (except since this is live-action, not a video game, those expressionless faces are down to bad acting, not poor animation).
But, seriously, what’s the point in ranting about freakin’ Mechanic: Resurrection?
I so want to tear into this movie, joke about how quickly Statham goes from more or less telling Jessica Alba, playing a blackmailed temptress, “Okay, we’re going to pretend to be in love to fool the bad guy into thinking he has leverage on me” to like three minutes later “Okay, we’re actually in love now, and I will do anything to protect you.”
But what’s the point?
I want to explain just how astonishingly inept the editing is throughout, how I can’t recall the last time I encountered a film which has so many abrupt cuts to black in lieu of organic scene transitions. I want to compose an entire essay about the awfulness of that [shudders] love scene. I want to post a picture of Tommy Lee Jones’ character, who pops up for an extended cameo in the third act, and wonder what the hell was going on with his weird soul patch and sunglasses look. I want to argue all new Jason Statham movies post-Spy have the feel of unintentional self-parody just like all post-Funny People Adam Sandler movies. I want to go on and on about all the cheesetastic 80s action movies I grew up on, and how even if that’s the type of mindless entertainment you want Resurrection somehow still manages to disappoint. I want to joke Jessica Alba’s performance might be the action genre’s least convincing hot-girl-as-smart-girl since Denise Richards in The World is Not Enough. I want to warn everyone the best part of the film, the Ghost Protocol-esque stunt on a skyscraper, has already been spoiled in the trailers [see below] and seemingly endless online commercials.
Again, what’s the point? It’s just a silly, poorly made meat-and-potatoes action movie, probably funded by European pre-sales and destined for a healthy run on home video and streaming. The globe-trotting story takes Statham all around the world meaning there are plenty of exotic locales to gawk at (e.g., wow, look at those gorgeous ocean waters around Thailand). The three big Mission Impossible-esque setpieces are likely a treat for action stunt enthusiasts. And those who just want to watch Jason Statham beat the shit out of people or shoot bad guys to smithereens will find plenty to applaud.
But, wow, Jason Statham can do so much better than this. Your action movie can be full of all the cliches you want and refuse to break any new ground and still have value. That’s fine. But at least be a competently made action movie. That’s not too much to ask, right?
THE BOTTOM LINE
That’s a bad, Jason Statham. Bad! No! Don’t you give me that “who, me?” look. You know you’re supposed to make better movies than this.
Well, now you’re pouting. Now I feel bad. Fine – that skyscraper swimming pool scene was at least pretty cool.
THE PLOT, IF YOU CARE
The official logline:
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) returns as the Mechanic in the sequel to the 2011 action thriller. When the deceitful actions of a cunning but beautiful woman (Jessica Alba) force him to return to the life he left behind, Bishop’s life is once again in danger as he has to complete an impossible list of assassinations of the most dangerous men in the world.