A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this remake of a 1972 hit man action-drama is extraordinarily violent, with dozens of shootings, beatings, stabbings, stranglings, and killings, with lots of blood. Language is strong (including many uses of "f--k" and "s--t"), and there are some pretty graphic sexual situations (with breast/buttock nudity). One character drinks hard liquor and smokes incessantly (other, minor characters are drug dealers and junkies). The characters have few redeeming or admirable qualities, and there are few consequences for their destructive actions.
What's the story?
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a skilled, effective hit man thanks to careful planning. Unfortunately, he gets assigned to take out his boss/friend, Harry (Donald Sutherland). Harry, it seems, was involved in a bloody double-cross that resulted in the deaths of several good men. After the painful job is performed, Harry's son, Steve (Ben Foster), comes around and appeals to Arthur to train him for the same line of work. Arthur reluctantly agrees, and after a rocky start, the two begin to make a pretty good team. Until, that is, Arthur discovers a clue to the origin of the double cross. A bit of revenge is in order.
Is it any good?
Statham is one of the best action heroes in years, and he steps easily into Charles Bronson's shoes (Bronson starred in the 1972 original). THE MECHANIC is less sprightly and sleek than Statham's Transporter and Crank films, but it adds a bit more heft to the drama. Foster matches him as a severely damaged, slightly demented soul who eagerly and easily takes to the assassination game, and Sutherland and Tony Goldwyn offer sturdy support.
On the downside, Simon West's direction is pretty sloppy. He cut his teeth in the Jerry Bruckheimer school of filmmaking, and his action scenes are ugly and choppy. When in doubt, he makes things bigger. Add to that some slight script improbabilities -- such as Steve's sudden, drastic improvement in skill level -- and the movie is knocked down a few pegs. But it still offers some solid thrills.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. What impact does it have? What consequences does it have in the movie's world? How do you think that would change in real life?
What makes movies about hit men so fascinating?
- In theaters: January 28, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: May 17, 2011
- Cast: Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham
- Director: Simon West
- Studio: CBS Films
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong brutal violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity
For kids who love action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.