American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
He is like a depression-prone James Bond. He has everything and he can do anything. He has an original Bosch on the wall of his living room, and he likes to sit and look at it and sip fine wines and listen to chamber music and plan his next murder. His is the life of conspicuous consumption we were all taught to strive for until, a few years ago, simplicity came in. He never got the message; he is an anachronism. He is also sad.
He works for the mob as a hit man, but the very idea of doing a "cowboy job," of just walking up and shooting somebody dead, causes him to wince. He has his methods. He hides bombs and poisons, induces heart attacks, and causes accidents. Makes his victims look like natural deaths. He takes pride in his work because it is all he has. At last, the syndicate's first workaholic.
Michael Winner's "The Mechanic" is about some problems this guy runs into when he decides to take on a young associate. He has been working alone all these years, and he's pushing 50 and getting lonely. The only romance in his life is an elaborate fantasy enacted for him by a really skilled prostitute. But something is lacking.
And so when he meets the son of his old partner in crime (having been assigned to murder the partner), he senses some kind of bond. Some kind of sympathy. Maybe he's been watching Batman reruns on his video tape cassette set and figures Bruce Wayne had the right idea when he took on Robin. Anyway, he puts the kid through a training, program, tests his reflexes, figures the kid is capable of murder and takes him along on a few jobs.