Saturday, 5 February 2011

REVIEW: The Mechanic

" I'm so sick of irony and sarcasm, I could Kill." Ben Foster

I have been mercilessly mocked more then once my liking of Ben Foster. People be hating, always like that guy is ridiculous. Telling me about how he's awful in Alpha Dog, about how he is the male lead in Get Over It. About how he got out-acted in Pandorum by Cam Gidanget. To you I say, yes, Ben Foster may be all of these things, but there's one thing he also is that makes everything else wonderfully irrelevant. Fucking awesome. He's an actor so entirely balls out in everything he does, and granted a lot of it is kind of shite, but there's such a commitment there, such a refusal to be out of the moment, that he is never boring to watch. I almost look forward more to a new variation on Psycho Ben Foster then I do any other actor, or performance or entire films. Take from that what you will, I suppose.

And for me the presence of Psycho Ben Foster made The Mechanic a kind of enjoyable piece of crap instead of yet another disposable actioner starring the alter-ego of Lee Christmas. I have some time for Statham. He can be an enjoyably deadpan presence in action movies, and he's a better actor then is the standard for the usual action hero, but his role here was the worst kind of bland killing machine you could imagine Steven Seagal playing. The thing goes through some very familiar motions, hitman betrayed enough to go sick on his former employers and all that, and that's fine. The arrival of Foster makes things pop a bit more though, and seeing the guy psycho his way through a couple of brutally captured action scenes, this is the director of Con Air after all, lent the film a slightly darker hew, and instead of feeling like a straight to video action film somehow in cinemas, it begins to feel a little more subversive and interesting. Not in any grand way of course, but in moments and scenes. Like its batshit ending, or a fairly awesome fight scene between Foster and a gay hitman. Now Steve McKenna isn't quite hall of fame Psycho Ben Foster, that's still Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma, but he's a character that certainly has no place in this film, and that kind of made it more awesome.

Perhaps Foster is an acquired taste, but with so many bland, barely noticeable actors out there, I have time for an actor of the manner of Foster. And sure, he may keep making awful films that make the argument harder to make. But whatever. One day he'll get his John Hawkes moment. The role he knocks so far out the fucking park I'm going to so have an I told you so status on my facebook page. But for now, I wait.

Rating: 5/10

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