It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"The Mechanic" tells a story as old as “Hamlet” in a style as new as unbaked bread. What's the point? An intriguing plot is established, a new character is brought on with a complex set of problems, and then all the groundwork disintegrates into the usual hash of preposterous action sequences. Is there an action director left who knows it isn't all about the sound and the fury?
The movie is a remake of sorts of the 1972 Charles Bronson film, which seemed fairly good at the time and might only seem better today. Once again, it follows a cool professional killer, “The Mechanic” (Jason Statham), who works for a sinister killing corporation and specializes in murders that don't seem like murders or are deliberately misleading in other ways.
My guess is that in real life, such operators are lonely, brutal and tending toward paranoia. Statham's character, Arthur Bishop, however, is a hedonist and aesthete who lives alone in elegance, prizes his classic car and apparently believes a hooker isn't a hooker if you overpay her. For 20 bucks, you're buying sex, but for thousands, you are identifying yourself as a consumer of the highest degree.
Bishop is, then, a worthless creature who prizes himself highly. It is assumed we make no moral judgment on his murders because nothing in this film has human meaning and few of its viewers will expect any. It's all an exercise in technique. George Clooney played a similar character in "The American," an infinitely superior film that was also about an untraceable solo killer working for a murder-for-hire corporation. But that film was fascinated by the Clooney character, whose attempts to deal with sex without feeling got him into trouble.