Jason Statham sets the scene as retired gun-for-hire Arthur Bishop who is approached by a femme fatale who explains to him that her ‘principal’ wants him to assassinate three people, but crucially make them look like an accident. Bishop refuses and so naturally is immediately attacked by enough mercenaries to take over a small country. Video game logic sets in and Bishop escapes to the sandy beaches of Thailand. There he meets his new object of desire (Jessica Alba), who is soon kidnapped by his arch-nemesis, Crain (Sam Hazeldine). Crain proposes an abominable scheme: for Bishop to resume his old job and save his new love. He must dispose of three of Crain’s underworld competitors.
The movie jumps from various stunning locations as Bishop tracks down his ‘kills’. There truly are some beautiful and varied location shots as our cockney hero globe-trots across the world. He is stopped at his third kill, arms dealer Max Adams (Tommy Lee Jones), who convinces him to join forces and enact revenge on Crain. He fakes Adams’ death and reports back to Crain who nefariously is also planning to kill Bishop himself. Gratuitous fight scenes ensue, ending with Crain dead, and our hero missing, presumed dead himself. Back at the sandy beaches of Thailand, Bishop walks towards his love. He had faked his own death. They embrace.
Despite some beautiful locations and sets, and adequate performances, an overwhelmingly clichéd story and script bring this movie down. Not for the first time and certainly not for the last, Jason Statham is unintentionally hilarious at times. The movie has as a whole, certainly lives up to its credentials and is action packed throughout. The action scenes themselves are thoroughly adequate and enjoyable for action-film aficionados. Although technically a sequel to the 2011 film ‘The Mechanic, itself a remake of the French film of the same name, this very much feels like a standalone movie. Both certainly adrenaline-pumped but not connected meaningfully in any way apart from Statham. Overall, a typical Statham romp; all action, no substance, not a lot of style either. Fine if you like this kind of thing, not so much if you don’t.