The Mechanic (15) * *

Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop
Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop
David Calder as Julius Caesar in the play of the same name at The Bridge Theatre. Picture by Manuel Harlan

Beware the Ides of March, but enjoy this screening

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As one of Hollywood’s new generation of hard men, Jason Statham has put the pedal to the metal on numerous occasions to outmanoeuvre cops and bad guys, including high-octane chases in the Transporter films and the 2008 remake of Death Race.

The title of Simon West’s action-packed thriller suggests the muscular British actor will be getting his knuckles dirty with more engine grease.

While Statham’s character does spend part of the film polishing and rebuilding a classic sports car, the eponymous mechanic is in fact slang for a hit man, who shoots first and growls inane lines of dialogue later.

Michael Winner’s 1972 film of the same name pairing Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent provides the inspiration for this predictable tale of revenge and retribution that intercuts limp banter with well-orchestrated action sequences.

West has a proven track record with explosive popcorn fodder that doesn’t tax the brain. Here, he conceives a botched assassination attempt in a hotel and a bone-crunching fist-fight that puts one of his actors through the wringer.

Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is one of the best assassins in the business: Clean, efficient and completely ruthless, he kills on demand and foregoes messy personal relationships by enjoying sex with high class prostitute Sarah (Mini Anden).

Out of the blue, Arthur receives a call from Dean (Tony Goldwyn), who needs the hit man to eliminate a traitor in the organisation.

The Mechanic is everything you expect from a film bearing Statham’s name: Loud, simplistic and bruising for a brawl.