Jason Statham Mechanic: Resurrection
Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones
Director: Dennis Gansel
Genre: Action, Crime
Running Time: 98 minutes
Synopsis: A mechanic's work is never done.
Following a carefully staged death by fiery explosion years before, Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) had come to believe he'd gotten out of the assassination business. The goal: a life of retirement and anonymity.
In this instance, though, Bishop wasn't able to fool everyone. Someone knows he's alive, someone who was once very close to Bishop. Ruthless businessman Crain (Sam Hazeldine) needs the services of a contract killer who can make the deaths of his victims look like accidents. As the only individual with inside knowledge about Bishop's former life, Crain will do whatever it takes in order to get the mechanic to come out of retirement and provide his unique services.
Normally, Bishop wouldn't consider the possibility, since threats to his own being aren't about to weaken a resolve built up over years of perilous work. This particular nemesis however, knows the one card to play that will spur Bishop to comply with his demands"the safety and the life of an enigmatic woman (Jessica Alba) for whom Bishop has developed feelings.
With no other way out, Bishop agrees to return once more to the world he tried so painstakingly to leave behind. This time, he is tasked with the elimination of three unsavory targets protected under intense levels of security, including one of the world's top arms dealers (Tommy Lee Jones). Bishop must travel the globe to complete his objective for the sake of a woman. If he can determine how these three men are linked, and why his employer wants them eliminated, he might find the edge he needs in turning the tables on a vicious man who for now has the upper hand.
For the first time in his chosen profession, the mechanic has a new motivation for completing his assignment. Because this time, it's very, very personal…
Release Date: September 1st, 2016
About The Production
A New Mission
In the 2011 remake of the '70's genre classic, The Mechanic, audiences were reintroduced to the consummate assassin, tasked with reluctantly training a hothead protégé while also trying to find the person responsible for killing his mentor. While there was an ample amount of action throughout, the film was more intimate and character-driven, a showcase as much for the acting chops of Charles Bronson four decades earlier and later Jason Statham, who put his own personal imprint on hit man Arthur Bishop.
The result, in both cases, was an unqualified success. For Bishop's follow-up adventure, Mechanic: Resurrection, the decision was made to broaden the scope of the series, taking its tough, ethical hit man 'to the next level," as screenwriter Phillip Shelby offers. That meant a more expansive view of the sense of danger and a better understanding of who the mechanic is. 'It was an opportunity to put Bishop on an international stage, to have him do far more dangerous and exotic stunts and put him in far more interesting situations."
According to the screenwriter, Jason Statham's original portrayal gave Phillip Shelby the 'voice of the character" as the Mechanic: Resurrection screenplay began to take shape. The challenge, therefore, was to 'build that character and take him in a new and higher direction. Bishop is unique in the sense that while he lives in a violent world, he is still a man of honor. There is something about the knight errant in him, the man who has to be the hardest and toughest man so that justice can prevail," said Phillip Shelby.
Also, adding international flavor to the production was selecting award-winning German filmmaker Dennis Gansel to make his American directorial debut with Mechanic: Resurrection. Dennis Gansel had been in development with another project at NuImage/Millennium when he was offered a copy of the script to read. 'Dennis Gansel is an up-and-coming European director," says executive producer Frank DeMartini. 'Having seen his earlier work, we felt his intelligence and unique style would bring a new dimension to the action genre, as well as additional depth to the characters."
A fan of the first film, the director was immediately taken with the possibilities the sequel presented: a stronger look into what makes its lead anti-hero tick and lots more inventive action. 'I think Bishop is a fascinating character" says Dennis Gansel. 'I always saw in him elements of other action heroes including James Bond and Jason Bourne. And while I enjoyed the first Mechanic, I loved that this script offers more about the character's background. I thought it would be interesting to dig a little deeper and show the genesis of this man, where he came from, leading back to his childhood. Our story offers a lot of fresh elements you normally wouldn't see in an action film, which makes it more rich of an experience."
Jason Statham Returns
In bringing Arthur Bishop to vivid life in 2011, Jason Statham had created yet another commanding man of action and intensity that struck a nerve with audiences and it warranted another chapter in this bold, brooding hero's story. Jason Statham is one of only a handful of movie stars with international success memorably continuing the adventures of a character across multiple films, with starring roles in such franchises as The Transporter, Crank, The Expendables and most recently The Fast and the Furious series. When approached to reprise the role of Bishop, Jason Statham was more than happy to reclaim the mantle of master mechanic.
'It's always nice to revisit a familiar character and put him in a unique world," says Jason Statham. 'Especially Arthur. He's a man with a moral compass. He left the business and we find him in a different place in his life, but things don't sit very well for him, or for the people around him." As with many of Jason Statham's popular screen personas, Bishop represents the epitome of the anti-hero, a figure whom audiences have come to embrace in spite of a questionable background. 'It's a very fine line to show why the mechanic does what he has to do, and yet show the human face of the individual," offers Phillip Shelby. But with Jason Statham embodying the role, it's a given that audiences will follow such a character. 'There is an intensity to Jason Statham that is absolutely compelling. You can't take your eyes off the man. He always, by his actions, raises so many questions and then solves them, so you're along for this incredible ride whenever Jason Statham's on screen."
Executive producer Frank DeMartini concurs and suggests a deeper bond Jason Statham creates with moviegoers. 'Jason Statham plays these kind of roles with almost a practiced ease, as evidenced by his previous work in films like The Transporter and The Expendables," says Frank DeMartini. 'He is an action hero who represents the blue-collar man on the street, to which audiences can relate. People want to envision one of their own as a big-screen hero."
Assembling A Killer Cast
In Mechanic: Resurrection, it's the unique plight of a beautiful, imperiled woman that forces Bishop back into the fold. Key to casting the role of Gina was finding an actress who would bring her own strengths and magnetic presence to the part, a character who becomes a formidable ally to the mechanic. They found that actress in Jessica Alba, who was eager to join the production.
'I've always been a fan of Jason Statham," states Jessica Alba. 'He's got tremendous range, and I don't know any other actor who can do what he's done. I particularly like these action movies, so when I got the opportunity to do this, I thought it would be great to work with him in this genre." Jessica Alba found Gina to be a woman of inner and outer strength. 'She's ex-military, so she knows how to fight and defend herself, and she's definitely not a damsel in distress. But she's not all brute and brawn. She has a heart, and it's interesting to see the beginnings of this love story, even though it's set in these bizarre circumstances. I don't know if there are very many women that would be that interesting to a man like Bishop, because he's so smart and dominant, and just moves through people. But to be the girl who's almost on that equal level with him, makes for a great character."
Jason Statham loved working with Jessica Alba. 'She's such a talented actress," says Jason Statham. 'She's a lot of fun. Doing an action movie, the drama's really serious and the stakes are high and you need someone to kind of soften that. She was just a dream to work with, a real pleasure."
Having cast their female lead, the filmmakers turned their attention to finding two actors who would be worthy antagonists for Bishop. 'We searched a very long time to find the perfect adversary who could inhabit the character of Crain, the man who forces Bishop to undertake his agenda," says director Dennis Gansel. 'Sam Hazeldine proved to have all of the qualities we could have hoped for." Executive producer Frank DeMartini agrees. 'He is the total package," says Frank DeMartini. 'He's smart and urbane, and can project the underlying evil of the character with just the trace of a smile. He definitely fits the mould of the classic and most menacing of movie villains."
One of the men that Bishop is tasked with eliminating is Crain's biggest rival, the larger than life billionaire arms dealer, Max Adams. The production was fortunate enough to attract a similarly larger than life acting legend to portray the magnate: Academy Award® winner Tommy Lee Jones (Best Supporting Actor, The Fugitive, 1993). 'I was actually a little bit intimidated in the beginning," admits Dennis Gansel, 'because he's…Tommy Lee Jones! But he was such a humble guy to work with, open for any ideas, and bringing many of his own. The part itself is not very large, but what he does with the character is amazing."
'I saw the first Mechanic [with Jason Statham] and it was very entertaining," says Tommy Lee Jones of his decision to join the cast. 'This is a worthy sequel because the first one was a lot of fun, and that's what makes it worthwhile to do again. Besides, my character gets to wear some pretty cool glasses and shirts!"
The final piece of key casting would be for the role of Mei, a mysterious woman who gives Bishop both refuge and advice. When executive producer Mark Gill sent internationally renowned action star Michelle Yeoh the script, she immediately signed on to be a part of the production. 'The cast alone, Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, was enough to get me hooked," says the actress, 'and the action is non-stop." Of her character, Michelle Yeoh describes Mei as 'mysterious. She comes into the film in the middle and she is the person to whom Bishop turns because he's in huge trouble and needs a haven. She's someone that he trusts implicitly, and over the course of his career, he has gone to her when he needs to move on and change identities. They have a great respect for each other. Sadly, in this film, I don't get involved in much of the action, which is a big regret. But hopefully, that might change in the future!"
Lights, Camera, Lots Of Action
The broadened scope of this new adventure for the Mechanic would feature global locations, and as one might expect from Jason Statham and company, gripping and exciting action sequences featuring sensational and inventive stunt work.
Given a relatively short window of shooting, it was decided that an action unit would be established, working closely in conjunction with Dennis Gansel and his main unit. With decades of experience in front of the camera as a stuntman, as well as behind the camera filming the action, Vic Armstrong was brought in to take charge of this high-octane squad.
Frank DeMartini calls Vic Armstrong 'a legend. He's doubled everyone from Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones series to every James Bond except Daniel Craig. He's known as one of the top second unit directors and he's probably the world's greatest living stuntman. This is the first time Jason Statham and Vic Armstrong got to work together, and they immediately had a rapport. Throughout the whole movie, Vic Armstrong was creating action sequences that we didn't even envision when the script was being written."
'I'm very excited to be working on this film," says Vic Armstrong. 'My whole professional life has been spent working on franchises - James Bond, Superman, Indiana Jones, Charlie's Angels and Spider-Man, among others - and I've been lucky to have worked with some of the best action stars in the world. I sincerely feel that Jason Statham is one of those now. I'm thrilled to be working with him, as he comes from a physical background, which makes life so much easier when we set up and coordinate the stunts. We work out the fights, the logistics and the actual movement, and Jason Statham has a huge input into all of it. For me, it's gratifying to work with an actor that's got a left and a right foot, intend of two left feet can throw punches, can run and fight. What's even more important is that he also knows how to translate action into a visual."
Jason Statham finds great reward in doing his own stunts. 'It's something I've done ever since my first action movie, The Transporter, when I took the reins and got my hands dirty in the action movie world. I had a ton of experience as a kid doing many different sorts of martial arts and gymnastics and sports, and that can really give you an advantage in doing these kinds of sequences."
As for Armstrong, when asked what he felt was the most challenging of all the stunts and action sequences, he muses, 'The hardest and most difficult sequence to do is all of them, because they all have to be original. Everything's been done before, but you have to be creative in putting different slants and flavours on it. There are so many good action films out there from Bond to Bourne and everything in between, so it's a huge challenge to come up with something that people will react to as cool and refreshing. I think we're up to that challenge on this film."
From a performance standpoint, Jason Statham sees action sequences in the Mechanic franchise as an outgrowth of who Bishop is as a character. 'You have to make it look inventive and smart, because Bishop's a guy who processes things as he goes along," says Jason Statham. 'We're trying to look like he's improvising with the location around him, which is quite difficult to do at times." Also challenging, says the actor, is keeping the action authentic. 'It's trying to keep it realistic without it being over the top. With all the different action that we do, and no matter what the location is, we want to try and keep an element of realism. Then there's the safety issue and fighting with the elements. It's one of the hardest aspects of making action movies."
In preparation for their action sequences, both Jessica Alba and Sam Hazeldine underwent extensive physical training. 'I did it simply for the fact that I didn't want it to look ludicrous that I would be up against Jason Statham in a fight," laughs Sam Hazeldine.
Jessica Alba continues, 'I had taken training in many different martial arts over the years doing action for a TV show ('Dark Angel"), but for this film, I took krav maga. I felt it would be a lot more hand-to-hand, much more intuitive fighting. In the moments that you see Gina defend herself and in action, I just wanted it to be brutal and real and intense and messy. I think we've accomplished that, especially with Vic Armstrong shooting the action."
Vic Armstrong gave both actors high marks for their dedication, and the results they achieved on screen. 'If she wasn't such a good actress, Jessica Alba would make a wonderful stuntwoman," observes Vic Armstrong. 'She has a natural ability to throw a punch, to react, take a punch and hit the ground. I was absolutely overwhelmed by her ability and enthusiasm."
The Thailand That Binds
With a majority of the story taking place on the Asian continent, it was decided to film the movie in locations throughout the country of Thailand. A movie studio in Bangkok was the site in which the opening scene of the film, a spectacular fight scene set in a cafe at the top of Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio De Janeiro. A meticulous recreation of the actual location was created on a soundstage with exteriors to be filmed at the actual location at a later date. On yet another soundstage, an enormous underground submarine pen was constructed in which Bishop endures a blistering gunfight and attack in his attempts to reach billionaire Max Adams. Thailand got to play itself onscreen when filming moved to the resort island of Phuket, which served as Mei's hideaway and refuge, and the setting of yet another dramatic fight scene.
One of the more memorable locations for the production was an abandoned prison in the town of Chathaburi, a mere fifty miles from the border of Laos. It was used for yet another extreme test of Bishop's abilities, as the mechanic must gain access to the general population, kill an imprisoned drug lord, and escape the maximum security facilities. 'It's like a Devil's Island or an Alcatraz," says executive producer Frank DeMartini. 'The entire prison sequence is one of the most exciting in the film, and shows how far Bishop is willing to go to get out of his life."
Jason Statham says Thailand was 'a tremendous place to go work. The nicest people you'll ever get to work with. We spent most of our time there, and the warmth and generosity made for a terrific time. And it gave us such a beautiful backdrop."
A spectacular luxury yacht, anchored in the Gulf of Thailand, just off the coast of Pattaya served as the setting for the film's propulsive, heart-stopping finale. Shooting the sequence saw Jason Statham at his most active. On one end of the yacht, Jason Statham would film his dramatic scenes with Jessica Alba and Hazeldine under the direction of Dennis Gansel. In between those setups, he would run to the opposite end of the vessel to join Vic Armstrong's action unit. 'Each day of working with Jason Statham was a revelation," says Vic Armstrong. 'He comes in with ideas and expectations and he'll go take after take until we get things right. He's 100% committed."
Says Dennis Gansel, 'It's a dream to work with him. He knows his character so well, as well as the action. Every day was like a learning experience for me and at the same time, incredibly fun because he's very open to new ideas."
Jason Statham's contributions ensured that the filmmakers would complete their own mission with Mechanic: Resurrection AND give audiences more of what they loved the first time around. It may not be as lethal a job as something Bishop might get involved with, but it was handled no less committedly. 'It has so many great elements that I hope audiences want to see it again right away!" says Dennis Gansel. 'It's even better than the first, which was itself a great movie."
It has everything, says Frank DeMartini: 'It's a popcorn movie that's made to keep you on the edge of your seat from the beginning to the end, with nonstop action."
Release Date: September 1st, 2016