Last night I spent an amazing 100 minutes with the 1972 Charles Bronson classic, The Mechanic. I can’t say what made me choose it on the Roku, but I’ve always liked Bronson, and I’ve always loved his co-star Keenan Wynn. The synopsis, “A hit man takes an apprentice,” didn’t give away too much and I watched the first 10 minutes with an eye on the remote. There’s almost no dialogue in that first scene, and it goes from an afternoon of breaking-and-entering into an all-nighter of surveillance. And then the most bad-ass explosion happens, and the viewer is hooked!
Bronson owns this movie from the beginning, and director Michael Winner keeps the exposition to the barest minimum. This guarantees that you’d better pay attention, and that attention is rewarded with mind-blowing set piece after mind-blowing set piece. Also, Bronson’s character can read lips, and does so in the most bring-a-smile-to-your-face way possible. The film-to-digital transfer kept all of the lush, living color in its blow-your-mind reds and yellows, and every physical object seemed to beg “Touch me.” As a series of arty photos speeding past at 24 per second, this is a masterpiece.
And right as the credits ran, my phone rang and it was my friend Erik saying “Come to Claudia’s and watch some hockey with us!” When I begged off and told what I’d just seen, he said “Oh, yeah, Jason Statham’s in the remake.” And just like that, Jason Statham’s on my shit list. The remake’s trailer is above, the original’s below. Now – you tell me which movie you’d rather see.