"Murder is only killing without a license."The Mechanic
is a 1972 action thriller. Arthur Bishop (Charles Bronson
), an aging assassin, is hired to kill "Big Harry" McKenna (Keenan Wynn), which he does with his usual resourceful genius. At the funeral he meets Big Harry's son, Steve McKenna (Jan-Michael Vincent). Steve becomes interested in the art of being an assassin, so Bishop plays along and then trains the young man to become a professional killer. Steve is taught to use the mechanic
's tools until he becomes a master. Arthur Bishop's superiors aren't accepting of Bishop doing this, and in the end they find that they can trust no one. It is a defining example of the seventies action film, and has existentialist themes.
The film was remade in 2011, with Jason Statham
as Bishop and Ben Foster
Tropes used by both versions:
Tropes used by the original:
Tropes used by the remake:
- Arc Words: "Victory Through Preparation"
- Bald of Awesome: Bishop (not surprisingly, he's played by Jason Statham)
- California Doubling: Averted and played straight. The film was shot on location in New Orleans but New Orleans doubled for Chicago, Houston and Colombia as well.
- The Calls Are Coming from Inside the House
- Car Fu: Bishop kills another hitman by throwing him through a bus window into the path of an oncoming car. The vehicle vs. vehicle version is used in the Dean ambush.
- Chekhov's Gun: Harry's gun.
- Erotic Asphyxiation: Bishop kills an Arms Dealer this way to Make It Look Like an Accident, strangling him with his own belt, then hanging him up with some porn playing on a laptop in front of him. His protege Steve then makes the mistake of trying to copy this method on his first target —- unfortunately his victim is a very fit and powerfully built hitman.
- Fast Roping: Improvised with ropes from a window-cleaning rig.
- Fingore: Bishop pretends to force a girl's hand into the waste shredder to encourage her father to talk. It's actually raw steak.
- Genius Bruiser: Burke.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Not really a case of good and bad, but Bishop has his beautiful high-class escort writhing on top of him, while McKenna has rough sex in an alley.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Used as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome. Bishop is talking on his mobile to Steve who is waiting at his house.
Bishop: I'm guessing you're not alone. (wide shot shows three mooks pointing guns at Steve) There's a gun down the left side cushion. It's loaded and the safety's off.
Steve: I'm not a lefty.
Bishop: Then you're going to die.
- Improvised Weapon: Used in the hitman vs. hitman scenes.
- Kill It with Fire: Double Subversion. Towards the end of the film, it appears that Bishop has been killed by McKenna in a massive explosion. It turns out that not only did he survive the explosion, but he rigged McKenna's car with a bomb.
- Manly Gay: The Mighty Glacier rival mechanic.
- Oh Crap: McKenna at the end, although he just laughs, so this is a bit of an inversion.
- Out with a Bang: McKenna decides to kill Burke this way. It doesn't go well.
- Rated M for Manly: The female characters are incidental in this story.
- Reckless Sidekick: Steve forgoes the easy method of poisoning Burke at the bar, for the risky method of going home with him and trying to strangle the mark with his own belt as he saw Bishop do to an earlier mark. Things don't go well.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The chihuahua that Bishop and McKenna adopt for a mission (later given to Bishop's prostitute friend and named Arthur).
- Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: The ending.
- So Much for Stealth
- Spray And Pray: Averted — Bishop and McKenna fire only the rounds they need. Played straight when they kill Dean however, as both men empty their magazines into him.
- Training Montage: Bishop and Steve McKenna using a variety of automatic weapons and a Barrett fifty-calibre rifle on an improvised firing range are alternated with scenes of Steve's daily routine with his dog, which is meant to set up the interest of Steve's first target.
- Vigilante Man: After Bishop sets up Harry McKenna's death to look like a carjacking, Steve goes out to kill a random carjacker as revenge.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?
- You Killed My Father: Unlike in the original movie, McKenna is very motivated to kill whoever killed his father, despite their troubled relationship when he was alive.