Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

Here’s another from Amazon Prime Video. I likely would not have seen it otherwise. It’s The Mechanic, starring Charles Bronson  in the title role. It came out in 1972, distributed by United Artists. Details are from Wikipedia.

Bronson is Arthur Bishop, a highly-paid assassin, a mechanic. The opening scenes show Bishop preparing an elaborate murder. He breaks into  a man’s apartment and rigs it. The man comes home, drinks the drugged tea, falls asleep, the pilot flame in the gas stove goes out, the apartment fills with gas, Bishop fires a single bullet from across the street into a book he has previously rigged and replaced on the bookshelf. The bullet strikes the hidden igniter, and the apartment explodes in flames.

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His next assignment is Big Harry McKenna (Keenan Wynn), the wealthy crook who hired him for the previous job. He kills McKenna by staging a fake murder attempt, forcing him to  run up a steep hill and to die of a heart attack.

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Outside of his work, Bishop’s life is devoid of all meaning. He hires a prostitute (Jill Ireland) to  pretend to love him.

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The plot twists as Bishop takes on Steve McKenna (Jan-Michael Vincent), the playboy son of the late  Big Harry, as a protégé and partner.

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Their climactic job together is a straight-forward killing of a gang boss on his boat off the coast of Italy. There ensues lots of action, including destruction of most of the surviving gang members.

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But now it’s time for the double-cross. Steve has taken on the assignment of killing Bishop, which he does before they depart Italy. He pours two glasses of wine, but Bishop’s glass was previously laced with poison. His death will  appear to  be from a heart attack.

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On his own and back at the Bishop estate, Steve settles in and hops into his red car. Then he notices the message Bishop has previously taped to the windshield. It reads:

Steve, If you read this it means I didn’t make it back. It also means you’ve broken a filament controlling  a thirteen second delay trigger. End of game!

Bang, you’re dead

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The bomb in the car explodes, and that’s the end of the movie.

Bronson had a lengthy career prior to  this, going back to 1951. On the surface, this seems to have been his first big-time lead role, and he followed it  with a series of Death Wish films. He was living proof a man can make as a movie star absent a handsome face.

Despite the twists (unique ways to pull off a killing), this plot plods along. None of Bronson’s famous roles involved a character that set the screen on fire. This one is so methodical and slow it would be possible to fall asleep watching it, which I did.

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4 thoughts on “Bad Movie Wednesday

  1. My first response to your ‘bad movie’ review (even the title of the category inspires prejudice in the reader, before considering the review) was ‘Ah, come on, John, picky-picky.’

    But I immediately controlled myself and thought ‘Maybe I should take a look at The Mechanic, which I enjoyed immensely when I first saw it, one more time before slagging off Mr. Blanton.’

    Some of those old pictures don’t age well for grownups (I’m grown up now). ‘Charlie Varrick’, on the other hand (which you were also picky about) hangs in there quite nicely, in spite of being a period piece.

    I thought Bronson was always good because unlike some other ‘A-List’ stars he didn’t try to do anything he was not cut out for (looking at you Di Caprio). ‘Telefon’ is another sterling Bronson effort, partly set in Texas. Very enjoyable as well.

  2. Pingback: Bad Movie Wednesday | Skeptical Analysis

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