Also known as: Killer of Killers (reissue title)
Release Date: November 17th, 1972 (New York City premiere)
Directed by: Michael Winner
Written by: Lewis John Carlino
Music by: Jerry Fielding
Cast: Charles Bronson, Jan-Michael Vincent, Keenan Wynn, Jill Ireland
Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Carlino Productions, United Artists, 100 Minutes
“He has 100 ways to kill… and they all work!” – tagline
As much as I like Michael Winner’s Death Wish films with Charles Bronson, until now, I had never seen The Mechanic.
While it’s not as good as the first three Death Wish pictures, it’s still pretty fucking solid and isn’t afraid to walk around with its testosterone-filled balls blowing in the wind.
This one doesn’t just star manly man Charles Bronson, it also stars pretty manly man Jan-Michael Vincent.
The two leads have damn good chemistry. So much so, I wasn’t a fan of the twist ending because I could’ve watched these two badasses murder the crap out of shit for five or six movies. I’m actually kind of surprised that Vincent didn’t make his way into any of Winner’s Death Wish movies, unless they just didn’t get along or Vincent had issues with Bronson.
As far as the story goes, Bronson is an international assassin. He’s pretty damn good but with his lifestyle comes certain rules and it’s these rules that have sort of deprived him of a better life and real human connection. Vincent shows up at a weird time in Bronson’s life and Bronson had just killed Vincent’s dad. Still, Bronson sees something in Vincent and decides to train him to become an assassin, even if it breaks the code he’s supposed to follow.
Breaking this code draws the ire of higher ups and I feel like this plot point trickled down through movies over the years and led to the weird world of the John Wick universe, among other entertainment franchises.
By the time you get to the end, there’s a double twist. I don’t want to spoil what that is but you kind of see it coming while watching the movie. And if it wasn’t a trope of these sort of stories in 1972, it’s certainly become one since.
The Mechanic is pretty raw and it boasts decent cinematography, great action for its era and it has two legit stallions ready to murder scumbags. What’s not to like?
Pairs well with: other Charles Bronson films of the ’70s and ’80s.