If Simon West’s The Mechanic was well-organized, its 2016 sequel is ridiculous. Directed by Dennis Gansel from a screenplay by Philip Shelby and Tony Mosher, Mechanic: Resurrection is an outlandish Jason Statham vehicle that stacks the deck with wild and weird action pieces. It’s somewhat fascinating, yet hardly good.
The fascination lies in how Gansel’s picture files through exposition-heavy dialogue to pump out enough separate plotlines for about four movies. Things are succinct, sometimes foolishly so, but the cast looks to be having a ball and the locations/landscapes are lovely.
Statham stars as “mechanic”/hitman Arthur Bishop and he’s been keeping a low profile in Brazil. One day, his cover is blown and he must move again. He heads to Thailand, where he connects with Mae (Michelle Yeoh) and hides out again. He discovers that his rival Crain (Sam Hazeldine) is looking for him.
After helping a young woman named Gina (Jessica Alba), Bishop discovers that Crain’s plan is taking shape. The hitman is pressed back to action for three jobs, with Crain snatching Gina and holding her until Bishop does what he says.
Mechanic: Resurrection has more in common with a direct-to-video Steven Seagal actioner than any kind of A-grade picture, but the protagonist actually bloody moves and the fighting is captured with judicious consistency. It has a decidedly retro feel, complete with redundant snags that obstruct more than they reassure.
The movie pushes through stages, starting with the preliminary stuff that establishes Statham and Alba as eye candy. This is hardly a problem on a superficial level, especially when the camera dawdles as Alba’s Gina settles into the water and goes for a little swim. Statham is likewise offered to the sun gods.
When Crain shows up, Mechanic: Resurrection rolls into the “impossible” jobs portion. Statham has to go through enough hoops for three or four separate films, starting with a prison hit in Malaysia where he has to bump off a bad guy (Femi Elufowoju) while making it look like an accident. The job is quick because it has to be. The movie can only be so long.
The next job involves some tricky stuff in Australia, where Bishop takes out a human trafficker (Toby Eddington) with an pendulous pool. This, too, goes off without a hitch. Between jobs, Bishop is treated to Skype calls with his lady to ensure she’s okay. Naturally, things go wrong when she tries to tip him off as to her location.
The third job introduces Tommy Lee Jones as Max Adams and that’s when things really get nuts. Adams is enough of a character for a whole movie, but Mechanic: Resurrection jams him into the third act. Jones is having a ball as the loopy dude, but one leaves the experience wanting a lot more.
For all the wild action and ridiculous characters, Mechanic: Resurrection can’t help but feel hastily mounted. It’s as though plans for three sequels were forced into one picture, with a superfluous qualifier forcing Bishop to a state of hesitancy when it comes to offing some seriously malevolent mofos.
Mechanic: Resurrection is a flawed, hurried conundrum. There’s a certain degree of fun inside, if one can settle in for the goodies without holding on too tight. The film is heaving with missed opportunities, like Jones’ wonky character and an underused Rhatha Phongam, but it’s sustaining enough and that’s okay.