Mechanic: Resurrection

F*** Magazine

MECHANIC: RESURRECTION

Director : Dennis Gansel
Cast : Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, Rhatha Phongam
Genre : Action/Thriller
Run Time : 1 hr 39 mins
Opens : 8 September 2016
Rating : NC16 (Violence and Some Coarse Language)

Mechanic Resurrection posterBrace yourselves for another Stath attack – everyone’s favourite bald, grimacing English tough guy with the limited acting range is back as Arthur Bishop. After surviving an attempt on his life by his would-be apprentice, Bishop has retired from being a hitman, or “mechanic”, and is lying low in Brazil. Riah Crain (Hazeldine), an arms dealer with a grudge on Bishop, kidnaps Bishop’s girlfriend Gina (Alba) and coerces him into completing three hits. Bishop’s three targets are African warlord Krill (Femi Elufowoju Jr.), who is holed up in a Malaysian prison that he rules from the inside, Australian mining magnate and sex trafficker Adrian Cook (Toby Eddington), and American arms dealer Max Adams (Jones). With the help of his old contact Mae (Yeoh), Bishop must pull off these nigh-impossible assassinations to ensure Gina’s survival, while also devising a way to get back at Crain.

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Mechanic: Resurrection is the sequel to 2011’s The Mechanic, which was a remake of the 1972 film of the same name starring Charles Bronson. The contentious relationship between Bishop and Ben Foster’s Steve McKenna in the previous film lifted it slightly above the familiar trappings of the genre, but there’s nothing as interesting here. Mechanic: Resurrection pretty much meets all the expectations of your standard-issue Statham-led action flick. Its plot is entirely predictable and the action sequences aren’t staged with lots of panache, but Statham’s physicality means he’s always a convincing action hero. There’s also a decent amount of globe-trotting going on, with Bishop making stops in Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and Bulgaria, taking advantage of the latter’s film production tax breaks. There’s some fun to be had in seeing Statham run through the streets of Georgetown in Penang, Malaysia or dangle from a skyscraper in Sydney. However, it’s painfully obvious that no actual filming was done in Brazil, with the opening sequence featuring distractingly phony green screen work.

Mechanic Resurrection Jason Statham arrested

Statham’s virtually non-existent acting chops have never hindered his career, and he’s probably the closest thing we have to the action stars of the 80s and 90s with whom he palled around in the Expendables films. The former national diving squad member gets to reference his sporting past with a dramatic leap into the ocean, and there’s no shortage of our hero stabbing and shooting the bad guys.

Mechanic Resurrection Jason Statham next to helicopterAlba does a lot of frolicking on the beach in sundresses, and despite hints that her character might not merely be a damsel in distress, she spends the bulk of the film held captive by the villain. Gina is meant to be a combat veteran who opens up a shelter for sex trafficking victims in Cambodia, so one would think she’d be able to hold her own. While Gina does help Bishop track her down, she generally comes off as utterly helpless. In the previous film, it was established that Bishop is a ladies’ man who loves ‘em and leaves ‘em, but here, he forms a sentimental attachment to Gina with almost comical speed, and it’s difficult to buy that this woman whom he’s just met is someone he’d go to the ends of the earth for.

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As the lead villain, Hazeldine is gruff but bland, lacking the wily smugness of a master manipulator who has Bishop wrapped around his little finger. Yeoh’s character doesn’t seem to serve too much of a purpose in the plot, and quite disappointingly, Yeoh doesn’t get to take part in a single action sequence. Jones’ appearance amounts to not much more than a cameo. He’s sporting a deliberately ridiculous look comprising red-tinted shades, a soul patch, earrings and a leather jacket, but he’s phoning it in rather than hamming it up for the most part.

Mechanic Resurrection Jason Statham and Michelle Yeoh

Director Dennis Gansel delivers what is very much a production line action flick that’s barely a few notches above something that would be released straight-to-video, but which will meet the expectations of undemanding Jason Statham fans. The overarching plot is formulaic, the romance is trite and performers like Yeoh and Jones are woefully underused, but certain moments when Bishop plans and executes his elaborate assassination plots are interesting to watch. It’s barely satisfying junk food, but that’s what Statham does best.

Mechanic Resurrection Tommy Lee Jones

Summary: Silly and generic but sufficiently entertaining, Mechanic: Resurrection is as predictable as clockwork.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Jedd Jong

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

For F*** Magazine

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR 

Director : Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Cast : Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Juno Temple, Jaime King, Bruce Willis, Jamie Chung, Lady Gaga, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven
Genre : Action/Thriller
Opens : 8 August 2014
Rating : R21 (Violence, Nudity & Sexual Scenes) 
Running time: 102 mins
SC2_1sh_FINALBasin CITY. A cesspool dripping with BLOODand ALCOHOLand SEXand GRIME. A grimy CESSPOOL. NINE years after the FIRSTmovie, we RETURN. FOUR interlocking stories. “Just ANOTHERSaturday NIGHT” – Marv (Rourke) BEATS up PUNKS and hangs off the side of POLICE CARS. “The Long BAD Night” – Johnny (Gordon-Levitt), a self-assured young gambler, beats Senator Roark (Boothe) in a GAMEof POKER. Big MISTAKE. “A DAMEto Kill For” – Ava Lord (Green), sly WICKEDNESS taken the form of a WOMAN. She CASTSher SPELLupon former flame Dwight (Brolin) once more. Can he ESCAPE this enchantress’ GRASP? “Nancy’s Last DANCE” – stripper Nancy (Alba) is victim no MORE. She seeks to AVENGE the death of Hartigan (Willis), her PROTECTOR. AVENGINGhis DEATH. Her crosshairs are SET on Roark.
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            This reviewer had planned to write the whole thing in the style of Frank Miller but gave up after that paragraph. The first Sin City film broke its share of ground by hewing closely to the stylisation Miller had drawn into his graphic novels, using visual effects and cinematography to replicate the striking aesthetic of the Sin City books. Black and white with occasional violent bursts of selective colour, often lapsing into animated silhouettes. Miller was initially reluctant to allow an adaptation to be filmed, but Robert Rodriguez won him over and they became co-directors on both movies. It’s nine years later and it’s not quite so novel anymore. In-between then and now we’ve had the likes of 300 and the dismal The Spirit, the latter directed by Miller himself. It’s still a great gimmick and we bet this movie is stunning in 3D (we saw the 2D version). However, any gimmick can only carry a film so far.

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            The movie is clearly striving for a noir feel but so much of the Frank Miller dialogue, in reaching for a hard-boiled attitude, comes off as laughably silly. “It’s another hot night. The kind of night that makes people do sweaty, secret things,” Dwight says in voiceover. When he gets kicked in the crotch, he describes it as “an atom bomb go(ing) off between my legs.” The intensity of all the brutal, wince-inducing violence in the film ends up being undercut by the writing. “A Dame to Kill For” has as its central character an evil, manipulative, often-naked seductress. Eva Green vamps it up entertainingly as is her speciality, but there’s not much more to Ava Lord than that – she’s a textbook femme fatale. The character’s speech about the nature of insanity and evil from the graphic novel, which would have added a layer or two, is cut. “Nancy’s Last Dance”, an original story written for this film, also undoes everything the character went through in the first film. Nancy, that narrow beam of light that was able to escape the darkness of Sin City, is now just another avenging angel. “The Long Bad Night”, the other original story, is carried by Gordon-Levitt playing against Boothe but is never wholly compelling.

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            The film’s ensemble cast gets to play it up in ways few other movies would let them, to mostly entertaining results. Josh Brolin, playing Dwight before the character had plastic surgery to look like Clive Owen, is convincingly tough and grizzled. Powers Boothe is a hoot as a “love to hate” villain of the most extreme variety. Gordon-Levitt sinks his teeth into playing Johnny in his transition from cocksure and feeling untouchable to wounded and seething. The afore-mentioned Green, taking the role long-linked to Angelina Jolie, does look like she’s having a ball and seems extremely comfortable with the nigh-gratuitous nudity. Speaking of showing skin, Jessica Alba famously has a no-nudity clause but given Nancy’s get-ups in this film, she might as well be naked. Her attempts at playing an angry Nancy galvanised into taking up arms against Roark are ropey at best. Bruce Willis plays a ghost. Odd sense of déjà vu there.

            In 2005, before the full-on boom of movies based on comic books and graphic novels that we’re experiencing now, Sin Citywas unlike anything else out there. It was striking, bold and impactful. Now, the cool factor of the film being shot on a digital back-lot with everything but the actors and key props computer-generated has subsided. As over the top as A Dame to Kill For is, it falls short of the visceral oomph the first film had. Comic book fans know Frank Miller as a writer and artist who helped define the medium with the likes of The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, but who seems to have lost his mind, judging from the atrocious likes of Holy Terror and All Star Batman and Robin. His misogynistic attitudes and obsession with dark faux-poetry are on full display in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Robert Rodriguez serving as little more than his errand boy.

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Summary: There’s no kill like overkill –Sin City: A Dame to Kill For brims with eye-catching imagery and uncompromising depictions of violence and sex, but there is little beneath its glossy, lurid surface.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Jedd Jong