3 1/2 Stars
A taunt, lean action thriller that has just the right mixture of smarts, drama, and suspense. Updating the 1972 Charles Bronson film of the same name and actually improving on the source material, the new pic stars Jason Statham in the title role as Arthur Bishop. It’s the ultimate Statham archetype of a loner and consummate professional with no emotional ties to anything or anybody. Ben Foster is the son of his deceased mentor, and Bishop reluctantly takes him under his wing. The relationship and uneasy alliance between these two are the heart of the film.
The picture works best in its action set-pieces. A hit on a religious messiah and an ambush/car chase involving a Dump truck and a bus, are amongst the more impressive moments. This brutally violent movie hearkens back to the action-epics of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. A time when less was more. A brisk 100min running time is crammed with more action-per minute than any of the bloated big-budget summer blockbusters.
Picture-esque location shooting in and around New Orleans give the film a flavor, that is matched by the gritty storyline. The screenplay by Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino, is clever and effective with a nice twist ending that earns it’s surprise. Jason Statham’s best film to date and a return to form for director Simon West after a misguided attempt at the horror genera with 2006’s ‘When a Stranger Calls’.
Director: Simon West
Stars: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, David Leitch
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