Friday, March 28, 2008

The Mechanic (1972)

Director: Michael Winner

Starring: Charles Bronson, Jan Michael Vincent, Keenan Wynn, Jill Ireland

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: He fixes people so they never work again.

Plot: A professional hit man (Bronson) is planning to retire, always a difficult move for one in such a profession. A young apprentice (Vincent) appears to be eager to learn all the skills of the trade - but is that all he wants ?

My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Oh, yeah

Bronson = Badass! He doesn't say much...he doesn't have to.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Bronson = Badass. He didn't say much 'cause he didn't have to. Here he plays an assassin. A very methodical assassin. You get the feeling he's the best. I just assume he's the best because he's Bronson. I'd say that's a good assumption. Take it to the bank, Put that in your pipe and smoke it. I did. Mmmmmmmmmm.

The story's pretty good with him reluctantly taking on the son of his most recent kill as an apprentice. It takes a while for him to accept him but that's OK by me. It's Bronson. Then we go through their first job together which doesn't go as planned. There's a pretty good motorcycle chase with Bronson (although you KNOW it's a double 'cause they're wearing shielded helmets blocking out any facial features) that has an AWESOME ending with the (SPOILERS) victim flying right off a cliff. I didn't buy the chase so much 'cause, even though I can see Bronson making chase on a motorcycle, I can more easily see him lifting the bike over his head and throwing it at the victim several dozens of yards away and knocking him off his bike so Bronson can stroll over there and kick the living shit out of him. Why would he do that? Because the victim made things more difficult for Bronson so the road to death naturally has to take a little longer to go down. THAT'S how much of a badass he is.

Now that Jan Michael has Bronson's confidence and trust they go on another job together in Europe. This is the only spot for me where it started to drag. But I've seen this a couple of times before so I know what's coming. And I adjust myself in my seat with excitement because it's a beaut of an ending and some of my friends hadn't seen this. I know what to expect - a
collective "HOLY SHIT" during the last 15 seconds of the film.

I cant' spoil that because it really is an AWESOME ending to a very good film. You know how so many of the 70's kung fu films ended so abruptly, usually as the hero strikes the villain with the death blow and then there's a freeze frame with THE END slapped on? It's sort of like that but don't read into what I just said. It's just that abrupt but completely satisfying. There's a particularly chilling scene when Bronson and Vincent are at the home of one of Vincent's jilted lovers where she's threatened to commit suicide. Vincent is aggravated by the whole affair and doesn't believe she will kill herself. He also doesn't care. He needs to show Bronson he's got
the goods to make it as an assassin. He even gives her advice on how to do it quickly. She cuts herself and they three of them wait for what seems like a couple of hours. Bronson is cool as can be and does not interfere except to explain in cold detail what happens to your body after you cut yourself. Badass. Simply badass. Does he let her die? Nice.

"Groovy, baby, yeah!"

Bronson's badassicity (and, yes, that's a word 'cause I just made it up) has a way of reaching across any natural or unnatural boundaries and affecting everybody he touches. So far I haven't seen any Bronson film I didn't thoroughly enjoy in some way. THE MECHANIC is just another in a string of great action films he did in the 70s. It's simply a helluva lot of fun with an ending that will leave a sting on your face from the massive bitch slap he delivers in the final seconds of the film. And if I'm going to be bitch slapped it's going to be from Bronson because where do you let Charles Bronson sit? Anywhere he wants.

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