THE MECHANIC

cast: Charles Bronson, Jan-Michael Vincent, Keenan Wynn, Linda Ridgeway
director: Michael Winner
year: 1972
rating: ***1/2

The first fifteen minutes, as Charles Bronson, a professional hit man i.e. Mechanic, elaboratly sets up a score planting explosives in an apartment across the street from where he's holed up in a shabby motel... then eventually succeeding in his endeavor... is truly incredible. The rest of the movie, as Bronson takes Jan Michael-Vincent as a student-assassin under his wing, is HIT and miss, the misses occurring as Bronson ponderously philosophizes about why hit man do what they do and what drives them (and an incredibly bad scene involving real-life wife Jill Ireland as a love-struck lush). But when the action happens... dirt bike chases are always great... and then as we approach a conclusion, realizing Bronson's student may have learned too much too soon... Things fall into neatly place as we're poised to learn which killer truly knows best.

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