Jason Statham returned to theaters as hitman Arthur Bishop in Mechanic: Resurrection this weekend — while Statham shines in this action thriller — reviews suggest the film would be unwatchable without his presence.

Mechanic: Resurrection, directed by Dennis Gansel, follows Arthur Bishop to Rio de Janeiro as he attempts to move on from events that took place in the film’s 2011 prequel The Mechanic. Bishop’s vacation ends when his old archenemy, the scheming businessman Crain (Sam Hazeldine), abducts Bishop’s new girlfriend, Gina (Jessica Alba). Bishop is coerced into resuming his former trade. He must deliver three “kills” for Crain, in his signature style: making the assassinations appear to be accidents.

‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ Reviews

Critics appreciate how the film highlights Statham in his natural element. However, the film also appears to be a predictable, flat action movie, without much substance, and relies heavily on Statham’s charm to enforce suspense.

“The relentless invincibility of the hero is part of what reduces an action film to pulp rather than art. But Jason Statham — or, at least, the Jason Statham brand — has no more room for vulnerability than the hero of a combat videogame. He’s all kick-ass all the time, and “Mechanic: Resurrection,” having served up a soupçon of cleverness, wastes no time delivering the bullet-spraying, jaw-smashing goods.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Statham and Gansel don’t recreate the Transporter magic; those were lovingly ridiculous action movies, while Mechanic: Resurrection is more hastily ridiculous. But after a season of sagas, revivals, and franchise hubris, the flatness of a Statham sequel inspires its own kind of trash nostalgia.” – Jesse Hassenger, The A.V. Club

It’s [Mechanic: Resurrection] fun for a while, on a simple, single-shooter, video-game level. And for a change, the movie’s stunts plug into Statham’s pre-Hollywood career as a champion diver; this may be the most watery thriller since “Thunderball.” – Stephen Whitty, The New York Daily News

“The movie suggests the action equivalent of 1970s European soft-core, all diffuse sun-drenched exteriors populated by attractive stars on an exotic working vacation…For an actor who, with the “Transporter” films, once imbued the action genre with a new sense of possibility and winking sophistication, Mr. Statham is on cruise control.” – Andy Webster, The New York Times

Mechanic: Resurrection is currently in theaters.

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