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Associated Press Modified: January 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm •  Published: January 27, 2011
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Repairs needed

Jason Statham brings the mayhem again, but he could use some quality control

Tom Long

Jason Statham needs to get a tune-up, switch gears and hit the gas.

"The Mechanic," his latest killing spree dressed up as a movie, has all the explosions, gunfights and acrobatic stunts fans of his action films have come to expect.

But it also has smoldering Ben Foster as his co-star and it could have been, should have been, so much more.

Let's review: Statham surfaced in two Guy Ritchie films - "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and the underrated "Snatch" - where he played an average bloke. But by "The Transporter" he had been transformed into a balding chop-socky action hero.

Since then, he's done efficient low-grade action flicks, gonzo action flicks (the "Crank" movies), choice ensemble roles ("The Italian Job," ''The Expendables") and one solid crime caper flick ("The Bank Job"). All his movies probably make money; most could be much better.

"The Mechanic" should have been one of those much better movies simply because of the premise and Foster, who is coming off what should have been a career-changing role in "The Messenger."

Instead, the movie is a series of clumsy moves leading from one fight scene to another in a totally predictable manner.

The fight scenes are fun - Statham really knows how to shoot people when he's not beating them to death, and Foster plays an enthusiastic if consistently sneering student. But director Simon West and the multiple screenwriters don't seem to care at all about motivation or logic.

Statham plays Arthur, apparently the world's top hit man, able to kill you without making it look like murder. He's a cool, unemotional machine.

But after one particularly ugly hit he's approached by Steve (Foster), the aimless son of an old friend. Steve wants to learn how to do what Arthur does.

Knowing full well Steve is a complete hot-head with psychological problems and a temper like Vesuvius, Arthur still agrees to become his mentor.