I don't know who the person is who thought it would be a good idea, but it's starting to seriously cripple the action genre. What is this "it" I speak of with such unequivocal disdain? The decision by some directors to shoot their action scenes as if they were trapped inside a paint can mixer that's bouncing around at full speed. But, unfortunately, it doesn't stop right there. It seems like these same filmmakers are also addicted to pressing the zoom and edit buttons at a breakneck pace, which ends up making the footage look like an indiscernible mess. And it's that dizzying effect that helps prevent director Simon West's The Mechanic from being included in the conversation of the most memorable action movies of the past several years. Instead, West's film could be more accurately described as slightly better than decent, but not great.

Yes, there are other minor factors that contribute to the film's flaws, but it's difficult to ignore West's "shaken camera syndrome" when your brain can't fully process everything that's going on during the many shoot-outs, explosions and fisticuffs. It doesn't happen all of the time, but it's enough to leave a lasting impression.

And, as a moviegoer, that's terribly frustrating because except for those annoying herky-jerky moments, The Mechanic is a respectable remake of the 1972 version that stars Charles Bronson. Sure, screenwriters Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino have made a few changes to the original story (most notably the ending), but at least they've put the majority of their focus on what matters the most: the relationship between Arthur Bishop and Steve McKenna.

Arthur, played this time around by Jason Statham (the Transporter and Crank franchises), is what you would call a mechanic, a top-notch assassin who has a reputation for cleanly eliminating his targets without incident. ("Pulling a trigger is easy," he proclaims. "The best jobs are the ones where no one knows you were there.") The laconic Arthur has vowed to never let his feelings get in the way of his lucrative profession (or his love life), but that's easier said than done when his mentor and only friend Harry (Donald Sutherland) is murdered in cold blood. Arthur wants answers, as does Harry's son, Steve (Ben Foster), a habitual deadbeat who was always viewed as a disappointment by his father. Steve desires nothing more than to avenge his old man's death, but Arthur knows that can only mean trouble because he views revenge as an emotion that can get someone killed.

So, Arthur grudgingly agrees to take Steve under his wing and teach his new apprentice everything he knows about the art of killing, which includes taking him on all types of dangerous assignments. That, however, doesn't go over too well with Arthur's devious boss (Tony Goldwyn of Ghost), and soon after the newly formed pair find themselves on the wrong side of the crosshairs.

If you've already seen the Bronson vehicle that was released almost 40 years ago (or if you're an action fan in general) you won't be in for many surprises, but that doesn't mean the new rendition is lacking in entertainment value or nail-biting suspense. West (Con Air, The General's Daughter and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) might not be the best at filming a coherent action sequence, but in this instance he sure knows how to ramp up the tension.

In many ways, though, that credit should also go to Statham and Foster, who impressively portray their characters completely different personalities. Arthur is a quiet person who goes about his work methodically, and it's really enthralling to see all the steps hit-men must take to prepare for their next victim. (And it's even more fun to watch when the execution goes wrong and they must improvise on the fly.) Even though the stakes are always high, Statham provides Arthur with a calm and cold demeanour, which really makes his actions even more terrifying. This description might sound like every character Statham has ever played before, but that doesn't bother me too much because he does it so well. He truly is one of the last remaining action stars we have working in movies today.

But while Statham's Arthur is reserved and disciplined, Foster's Steve is a hot-headed loose cannon who could care less about the rules, and he's as tough as nails, too. (When he was young he broke a knee cap during a fight and let it heal on its own.) These kind of characters are no stranger to the silver screen, but Foster (Alpha Dog and The Messenger), with his persuasive facial and body movements, fills Steve with so much unpredictability that you won't be able to tell what he's going to do next. (His first solo mission, which doesn't go as planned, is one of the more spine-chilling scenes I witnessed in a while.)

And much like Steve's mindset, the violence in the R-rated The Mechanic can also be unrelenting and brutal. At times the slaughter-filled images can get a bit gratuitous, but it's also captivating in a demented kind of way. I mean, it's only a movie. We're not talking about not real life here. While we're on the subject of murder and carnage and since I already used this review to vent some of my frustrations with the current state of the action brand, I might as well get another thing off my chest: What's the deal with the increased use of CGI blood? Can we please stop that already? It just looks ridiculously fake. And as paying customers, we deserve much better than that.

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