A committed performance from Jason Statham elevates this pretty standard action sequel to Bond-esque enjoyment
Five years on from Simon West's The Mechanic comes this sequel with Jason Statham's assassin Arthur Bishop back to pile up the bodies. After disappearing following events in the original, Bishop is now living the quiet life in Rio but a brutal encounter at a rooftop restaurant makes him realise his cover's been blown. Hot-footing in to Thailand, he soon encounters Jessica Alba's Gina who is being used as bait by an old colleague, Crain (Sam Hazeldine), who has plans for Bishop.
With Bishop falling for Gina, he has little choice but to follow Crain's instructions and commit three highly improbable assassinations. The first is an African warlord, living in a clifftop prison. The second is a Sydney-based billionaire human trafficker (who comes a cropper in a cantilevered swimming pool, in the film's best sequence). And the third? It's Tommy Lee Jones' international arms dealer, who likes wearing rose-tinted John Lennon spectacles and living in a refurbished Communist monstrosity in Bulgaria.
Needless to say, it's all rather silly (as well as ultra-violent). But just as he is in The Transporter and The Expendables franchises, Statham is committed to the action and character and never lets us feel otherwise. It's a pity that Hazeldine doesn't really leave much of an impression as the villain, while Alba – apart from throwing the odd punch here and there – is little more than a narrative device in a bikini.
Directed by German-born Dennis Gansel, Mechanic: Resurrection never lets the pace slacken for a second, and the montages where Bishop plans his assassinations lend the film a quasi-007 feel (more Roger Moore era, than Daniel Craig – complete with sharks, submarines and evil lairs). Statham even gets his shirt-off moment, before putting on his wetsuit. Maybe he wouldn't be such a bad bet for the next James Bond.
General release Fri 26 Aug.