Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Mechanic; don't try to be so damned clever

The total take for the showing of the Mechanic that I went to was £25.20, assuming that everyone else paid the same ticket price that I did. And 50% of the audience left before the movie was over. Presumably they had something more pressing. I had shirts to iron, and to be honest, that was starting to seem a little more pressing than what happened in the rest of the movie. Still, I stuck with it, hoping that the Stath would pull something out of his bag of tricks, or that failing that I'd remember where the hell else I'd seen Ben Foster.

Well, I had to look up the IMDB to answer the second question, and the Stath didn't pull off any last minute upping of the game.

Ben Foster, it turned out, was someone I had last seen as Charlie Prince in 3.10 to Yuma where he played what I described as an idiot's idiot. For the Mechanic, he upped his game a bit to playing professional screwup and wannabe hitman, though how in the name of all that's holy he could ever thought that he could go up against the Stath and win, I don't know. There are certain kinds of thing which suspension of disbelief will just let you down on, and top of the list has to be the idea that anyone else in a movie with Jason Statham is going to be somehow cooler than he is. I have no idea what unholy powers the Stath has been given, but for a man with one facial expression and one tone of voice, he's got a truly mesmerising amount of screen presence.

Still, what I had wanted was something light and stupid, and the Stath is usually a dependable go to guy for that kind of thing. For some strange reason this time round he'd decided to do something brooding and, you know, acted. So instead of gun fights and explosions and stupid hand to hand combat, there was a lot of brooding about how tough it is to have to be killing people all the time. Not what I came to the cinema to see, at all, at all.

Although things do explode. Notably an SUV explodes, from - get this - a gunshot fired into a pool of diesel. Kids, you can try this all you want at home. Correcting for the fact that there's nothing truly safe you can do with a handgun, firing bullets into a pool of diesel fuel is about as close as you can get to a harmless outdoor pastime. Diesel vapour will burn, just about, if you use an electric spark igniter. It will explode, under protest, if you compress the bejesus out of diesel vapour and heat it to several hundred degrees, which is more or less how a diesel engine works. In all other circumstances, it's practically inert. You could fire a magnesium flare into a tank of diesel and at most it would smoulder fitfully. Unless it happens in Hollywood, where the spark (non-existent) from a bullet striking concrete will trigger a catastrophic detonation and a pillar of fire forty feet high. No-one could have got away from that, you think. Since a nonagenarian in a walker could get away from what actually happens when you shoot diesel, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that our hero is able to roll clear before it all goes explodey. Hollywood. Literally anything can explode there. Pity the plot didn't ignite the same way,

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