POSTERS: The Mechanic
In this 1972 crime-action-thriller classic Charles Bronson is Arthur Bishop, a connisseur of fine things. He lives in a luxurious home, collects expensive art and has a very interesting line of work: he’s a hit man. Every person Bishop is ordered to kill comes from a secret organization that he freelances for.
One day Bishop’s old family friend and “business” associate “Big Harry” McKenna (Keenan Wynn) invites him over to discuss some things where during their meeting he is introduced to Harry’s teenage son Steve (Jan Michael Vincent) who comes across as a real spoiled rich kid. After Harry dies unexpectedly, Steve who has inherited his father’s estate, begins spending time with Bishop. He is set on knowing more about him and what he really does for his profession until it’s finally revealed he is, in fact a “mechanic”, another word for a hitman in the business.
Steve’s strong interest in Bishop’s unique way of life and his own penchant for living on the edge begins a friendship with the veteran who starts training his new protege in all the intricate arts of being an assassin. This is a familiar storyline we’ve seen in films before such as westerns, kung fu and police films, where the young upstart is trained by the older master.
One aspect I always liked about this film was how it added a bit more depth to the story by focusing on Bishop’s lifestyle and his psychological makeup along with the action scenes including an adrenaline charged motorcycle chase that will give fans of these kinds of films a real thrill.
The Mechanic has always been one of the more outstanding of the 70s Bronson movies with its Vietnam War era-nihilistic edge the main characters live on. One of the most memorable scenes which shows this is when Steve’s young girlfriend calls him up telling him shes going to commit suicide unless he stops her. Steve brings Bishop along with him to the girls home and the two men just watch on as the girl opens her wrists and bleeds until on the verge of dying. Steve’s final reaction before leaving is to toss her the car keys and let her drive to get help by herself.
The Mechanic was directed by Michael Winner who had worked previously with Bronson on the film Chato’s Land (1972). They would go on to do several more films together including the first three Death Wish films which have gained a strong cult status over the years due to Bronson’s iconic, no holds barred vigilante character Paul Kersey.
In 2011 director Simon West (Con Air) filmed a remake starring modern action star Jason Statham in the role of Arthur Bishop. It wasn’t a big hit by any means with a $40 million budget and only accruing $50 million at the box office. I’d recommend the original first and if you like it maybe check out the modern version to see how it compares.
This furious poster is another supercool 70s illustration with Bishop (Bronson) standing tall next to several images which show some of the film’s standout action sequences in blazing color.