The thing about action films like Mechanic: Resurrection is that they function in an extraordinary moral vacuum. Professional assassin Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is assigned three hit jobs. He is to kill selected individuals across the world and make them look like accidents. However, in this process, he murders at least a few dozen people who come in the way. Despite this, the movie is intent on presenting him as a homicide artist, a ‘mechanic’ who is so meticulous he leaves little trace of his method. He is even provided with a motivation to kill; a love interest who has been kidnapped, and for whose survival and rescue he has to do all this.
It doesn’t matter one jot that the love of his life is a one night stand. He helps Gina (Jessica Alba) escape from an abusive relationship, dances at a wedding with her and takes her to bed. The next morning he gives her a watch. It is a memento from his father, something that he has never parted with. This facetious symbol of his devotion is the most emotional moment in the clinical narrative of this film and, in case it has escaped our notice, Riah Crain (Sam Hazeldine), the man who assigns Bishop these hit jobs, points it out to Gina. You would expect her to burst into tears at the revelation of this sentimental aspect of his character, but having been an undercover operative herself, she is made of sterner stuff.
Mechanic: Resurrection is entirely without remorse. It has not a single second of reflection, when the protagonist might pause before a senseless spree of killing. It exists entirely for the moments of action. There is no doubt that the murders are executed with precision and timing. Like a gymnast intent on achieving a perfect ten, Bishop pirouettes from one impossible angle of certainty to another as he eliminates a dozen men in synchronous sequence. At the end of this symphony of violence, you are expected to willingly suspend your human empathy, and applaud.
Each of the assassinations he is assigned are theoretically impossible, both in terms of execution and in the chances of escape for the assassin. In the modern world, as Crain regretfully tells Bishop while briefing him about these jobs, there is no privacy. No human being can escape the technology of a Nation State tracking him. No crime can be committed without photographic and cyber evidence. For a moment you think he is talking about Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, until you realize that it is just a laconically expressed epitaph and farewell handed out to a former colleague.
However, one killing of a millionaire child trafficker in Sydney, is a true work of 'accidental death’ as high art. A swimming pool high up in a skyscraper, designed in post-modern style, suddenly develops a leak and the entire structure collapses, with the swimmer still in it. This is the only one where there is just one death. Unfortunately, all the other murders have too cynical a view of collateral damage in targeted killings.
So though the film has high production values and some stunning locations, it is disappointing in the way it deletes all character and emotion from murder and mayhem.