The Mechanic: My review covers what’s going on with this movie, so I’ll use this space for something simpler, more elemental: when I got home after this screening, my wife asked me how The Mechanic was and, knowing my devotion in this area, how it compared to other Jason Statham movies. My instinct was to put it right in the middle, but then I thought about it. [Holy hell did he think about it! After the jump to see how much Jesse thought about it, and to what he thought about other things. -Ed.]
Well, it’s not as much fun as his supporting roles in higher-toned studio B-movies like The Italian Job, The One, or Cellular. It should go without saying that the Transporter movies are all better than The Mechanic, as are the Crank movies. So is The Bank Job; so are Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. It’s definitely better than Guy Ritchie’s Revolver, though, and that movie War with Jet Li, and it’s somewhat less stupid than the Death Race remake, or for that matter, The Expendables, his biggest hit so far. I haven’t seen the Uwe Boll movie he did. So The Mechanic toes a peculiar line: it’s far more polished and more entertaining than the junkiest movies on Stath’s resume, but nowhere near delirious enough to compete on the Transporter/Crank continuum. You know what to do, Statham fans: compulsively see this movie anyway because it’s January and what else do you have going on? (Alternately, replace “see” with “blind-buy,” “movie” with “Blu-Ray,” and “January” with “April.”) (Note: author does not condone blind-buying The Mechanic on Blu-Ray. But evidently people do stuff like that. It’s weird.) [Yes, it is. -Ed.]
The Rite: I doubt this exorcism thriller will match the delightful Anthony Hopkins retro-horror hamminess we got in The Wolfman around this time last year. Director Mikael Hafstrom did make the reasonably creepy 1408 (as well as the Weinstein-shelved drama Shanghai, also starring John Cusack!), but he also made the inexplicably Oscar-nominated Evil in his home country of Sweden and the absolutely terrible thriller Derailed over in the U.S. If you’re looking for empty calories, probably go with The Mechanic.
Kaboom: I haven’t seen most of the indie movies Gregg Araki built his reputation on, not because they came out before my indie-watching time (although they sort of did), but because when I saw Totally Fucked Up, I totally fucking hated it. What a smugly aimless, listless, cruddy-looking movie. As such, it seemed prudent to pass on The Doom Generation and Nowhere, but many years later a strange thing happened many years later: Mysterious Skin was excellent, and devoid of more-disaffected-than-thou smarm. Then Smiley Face, a stoner comedy that seemed like an easy route for Araki’s return to facile, snotty preciousness, was also pretty excellent. So while Kaboom promises a true return to the form I thought I couldn’t stand (candy-colored, self-impressed faux-comic nihilism), I’m far more open to trying again with this guy (who also directed talent as diverse as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anna Faris to career-best performances). Benjamin Strong’s review makes the movie sound a little more playful than its closest relatives on the Araki filmography.
From Prada to Nada: Honestly, I’m not sure if there even needs to be a particular movie with this title so much as someone (probably correctly) saw the potential to sell tickets to a movie called this. I’m picturing a multi-culti remake of the movie Material Girls starring the Duff sisters.