The Mechanic (2011 film)

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The Mechanic
The shape of a handgun, made up from an arrangement of many other guns
Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Simon West
Produced by
Written by
Story by Lewis John Carlino
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography Eric Schmidt
Edited by
  • T.G. Herrington
  • Todd E. Miller
Distributed by CBS Films
Release date
  • January 28, 2011 (2011-01-28) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1]
Box office $76.3 million[2][1]

The Mechanic is a 2011 American action thriller film directed by Simon West and written by Lewis John Carlino and Richard Wenk. Starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster, it is a remake of the 1972 film of the same name. Statham stars as Arthur Bishop, a professional assassin who specializes in making his hits look like accidents, suicides or the acts of petty criminals.[3] It was released in the United States and Canada on January 28, 2011. A sequel was released on August 26, 2016.


Arthur Bishop, working as a "mechanic" (mafia slang for hitman), sneaks into the lavish home of a Colombian Drug Cartel leader and drowns him in his own pool. Upon returning home to Louisiana, he meets with friend and mentor Harry McKenna, who pays Bishop for his work.

Bishop is given a new assignment: kill Harry. Bishop's employer confirms by phone that the contract is correct, whereupon he requests a face-to-face meeting. Dean tells him about a failed mission in South Africa, in which agency assassins were killed. Dean says that only himself and Harry knew the details of the mission, and that Harry had been paid for the contract details. Reluctantly Bishop kills Harry with the latter's own gun and makes it look like a carjacking. At his funeral, Bishop meets Harry's reckless son Steve. Bishop stops Steve from trying to kill a would-be carjacker in a misguided attempt at cathartic vengeance. Steve convinces Bishop to train him as a mechanic. Adopting a chihuahua, he instructs Steve to take the dog with him to a coffee shop each day at the same time. As Steve settles into a routine, Bishop escalates training, taking him to observe a contract killing.

The target is a mechanic for another agency named Burke, who frequents the same coffee shop. Burke's only weaknesses are that he is interested in young men and small dogs. Burke makes his move on Steve and invites him out for drinks. Bishop instructs Steve to slip a large dose of Rohypnol into Burke's drink to cause an overdose. Steve ignores the instructions and goes with Burke to his apartment. When Burke begins to undress, Steve attempts to strangle him with a belt as he had seen Bishop do on a former assignment. Burke fights back, using his size advantage and experience, but Steve manages to kill Burke after much effort and a lengthy fight. Dean expresses his disapproval of Bishop involving Steve, and that violated the rules of the contract arrangement, but Bishop says that Harry and his arrangement was for price only, and Harry left the details up to Bishop.

Bishop's next contract is to kill cult leader Andrew Vaughn. They plan to inject their victim with adrenaline to simulate a heart attack, for which the paramedics would administer a fatal dose of epinephrine. While Bishop and Steve are preparing for the hit, Vaughn's doctor arrives, and he sets Vaughn up with an IV of ketamine, which will inhibit the epinephrine's effects. The hit men decide to suffocate him instead, but are discovered after killing Vaughn and are forced into a shootout with the guards; they slip away and fly home separately.

At the airport, Bishop sees a supposed victim of the mission that Harry allegedly sold out. He confronts the other mechanic, who tells Bishop that he was paid by Dean to kill the other mechanics in South Africa and fake his death so that Dean could engineer the failed mission to cover up his own shady dealings; he also reveals that Dean framed Harry and that he tricked Bishop into killing his friend. The mechanic then attempts to kill Bishop and after a struggle between the two professionals, Bishop ends up killing him. Bishop is later ambushed by a hit squad: after killing them, he discovers that Dean was behind the hit. Bishop goes home to call Steve, only to find that Steve has been ambushed. Bishop directs Steve to a hidden gun, which Steve uses to kill his attackers. Steve gathers supplies for their new mission while he plots how to get to Dean. In the process he finds his father's gun and realizes that Bishop killed Harry.

Bishop and Steve kill Dean in an ambush: on the way back, Bishop notices Steve carrying Harry's gun. When they stop for gas, Steve floods the ground with fuel while pretending to fill the tank. He walks a safe distance and shoots the gas, blowing up the truck with Bishop still inside. Steve returns to the house and performs two actions that Bishop told him not to do: playing a record on the turntable, and taking the 1966 Jaguar E-Type. As he is driving away, Steve finds a note on the passenger seat: "Steve, if you're reading this, then you're dead!" Moments later, the car explodes, killing him; at the same time, Bishop's house also explodes. Back at the gas station, a security video reveals that Bishop had escaped from the truck, seconds before the explosion. Bishop gets into a spare truck and drives away.



Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, producers of the 1972 original Mechanic, sought to make an update. Pre-rights to the remake were sold in February 2009 at the Berlin Film Festival. (Variety reported that the screenplay was written by Karl Gajdusek.) Director Simon West and Jason Statham were announced as part of the project three months later.[5] Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland were cast alongside Statham in October 2009.[6] Filming began in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 14 and lasted for nine weeks.[7] Filming locations included St. Tammany Parish,[8] the World Trade Center in downtown New Orleans[9] and the Algiers Seafood Market.[10]


The Mechanic: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Mark Isham - The Mechanic.jpg
Film score by Mark Isham
Released January 25, 2011
Length 71:36
Label MIM Records MIM002
Mark Isham chronology
The Crazies
The Mechanic
The Factory

The soundtrack music is by Mark Isham, with two exceptions:

All tracks written by Mark Isham.

The Mechanic: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
No. Title Length
1. "Barranquilla" 1:22
2. "Drowning" 3:11
3. "Bayou" 1:17
4. "Liquor Fairy" 1:17
5. "Coffee Shop to Bar" 0:46
6. "I Want a Meeting" 2:31
7. "Poisoned the Well" 2:07
8. "Amat Victoria Curam" 5:31
9. "Looking Back" 0:33
10. "Carjack" 2:35
11. "I Wanna Know What You Know" 1:44
12. "Up Close" 2:35
13. "Up Close (Alternate Version)" 2:34
14. "Chihuahuas and Boys" 1:54
15. "Don't Get in His Car" 1:37
16. "Anger, and a Place to Put It" 3:58
17. "An Outside Individual" 1:53
18. "I'm Not a Reverend (Vaughn's Setup Part 1)" 1:14
19. "Vaughn's Setup Part 2" 4:37
20. "Vaughn's Hit Part 1" 2:27
21. "They're in the Wall (Vaughn's Hit Part 2)" 2:45
22. "They Played You So Easily" 3:47
23. "Left Side Cushion" 3:51
24. "Fingers, Wrist, Elbow?" 2:17
25. "Save the Fuel, I'm Coming for You" 4:46
26. "Gun Sting" 0:35
27. "Vengeance is the Mission" 3:16
28. "The Mechanic" 3:07
29. "Original 1m1 (Bonus Track)" 1:29


Theatrical run[edit]

The Mechanic was released in the United States and Canada on January 28, 2011. Millennium Films sold U.S. distribution rights to CBS Films for the release. It was expected to perform well with male audiences, with its release a week before Super Bowl XLV.[11]

The film grossed $11.4 million on its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada. It ended with a North American gross of $29.1 million and $47.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $76.3 million.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The Mechanic received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 53%, based on 156 reviews, with a rating average of 5.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Jason Statham and Ben Foster turn in enjoyable performances, but this superficial remake betrays them with mind-numbing violence and action thriller cliches."[12] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 49 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13]

Roger Ebert awarded the film two out of four stars and said, "Audiences have been drilled to accept noise and movement as entertainment. It is done so well one almost forgets to ask why it has been done at all."[14]

TV advertisement ban[edit]

On June 1, 2011, the BBC website confirmed that the TV advertisement for this film had been banned from television by the Advertising Watchdog.[15]

The TV commercial was broadcast during the teen show Glee and received 13 viewer complaints.[citation needed] The advert reportedly showed "a man's head exploding" and showed a "stream of violent imagery" according to the Advertising Standards Authority.[citation needed]


Dennis Gansel directed a sequel, with Jason Statham returning as Arthur Bishop.[16]


External links[edit]