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Rated 3.18 stars
by 160 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Deadly Focus
by Betty Jo Tucker

Performing his work with a deadly focus, Arthur Bishop shows less emotion than a butcher slicing meat. Heís the title character in The Mechanic, a riveting action movie about a loner assassin who begins mentoring a troubled young man. Jason Statham and Ben Foster appear at the top of their game in these key roles. Although the characters they play are quite unsympathetic, we canít help being drawn into their world and feeling suspenseful about the outcome of this relationship. Warning for the squeamish: physical violence, loud explosions and multiple shootings fill the screen here. No wonder my husband said ďI loved it!Ē upon leaving the multiplex. Itís definitely not a chick flick.   

Comparisons of The Mechanic and The American are hard to resist, for both films deal with an assassin who has perfected his talent at killing for hire. As far as action goes, The Mechanic wins hands down for me. I found it a more entertaining movie than the dark and artsy The American. But Jason Statham (The Expendables) and George Clooney bring a similar intensity to their characters, and itís difficult to know either assassin, for neither one talks much. However, itís clear that Clooneyís guy wants out, and that Stathamís Bishop, despite some moments of reflection, is in to stay -- unless heís taken out. And that adds to the suspense in The Mechanic.  

Bishopís uncharacteristic mentoring of wild card Steve McKenna (Foster) could result in his downfall. Steve is downright defiant at times and neglects to follow the directions of his mentor. Also, a particular action by Bishop -- one Steve isnít aware of -- could catch up with him, which would be disastrous.

And so we carefully watch these two together, knowing something bad is probably about to happen, but not where or when. Itís excruciating! But so well done.

Foster (3:10 to Yuma) always impresses me with his ability to portray bad guys. Iíve admired his work since the first time I saw him, which was in Hostage. He knows how to simmer as well as go berserk on camera with the best of them -- and his performance in The Mechanic gives him plenty of opportunities to show off those acting chops.  

Supporting cast members Donald Sutherland (Pride & Prejudice) and Tony Goldwyn (The Last House on the Left) excel as bigwigs in the assassination business. Goldwyn delivers the filmís best line, ďIíll put such a high price on your head that when you look in the mirror youíll want to shoot yourself.Ē And director Simon West (Con Air) displays an understanding of the important elements -- lots of action, suspense and thrills -- needed in a movie like this.

I wasnít expecting to enjoy The Mechanic, so imagine my surprise when I had to agree with my husbandís opinion of the film. Yep, I loved it too.      

(Released by CBS Films and rated ďRĒ for strong brutal violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity.)

For more information about this film, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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