Written by / 12/05/2023 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PARENTHETICAL ANALYSIS OF MICHAEL WINNER'S 'THE MECHANIC'

Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC from 1974 Rating: ****

By the time professional hit-man Arthur Bishop, skillfully underplayed by Charles Bronson... starring in the first of the 1972-1974 unconnected crime trilogy under the creative direction of eclectic British auteur Michael Winner... meets his match in young upstart Jan-Michael Vincent, the best part of THE MECHANIC had already occurred... 

Centering on the titular eccentric hired-killer slumming in a shabby Los Angeles motel, strategically rented across the street from his human target's non-rented room... providing a smooth, menial, fifteen-minute killer-at-work sequence that, given his narrowed, exacting professionalism, deliberately lacks suspense while replete with Winner's signature camera movements, from dramatic zooms to quick cuts, and herein, most importantly, no dialogue...

Jerry Fielding credit from THE MECHANIC

Instead filled with underrated composer Jerry Fielding's rich and cerebral, classically orchestrated yet equally jazz-induced score that also worked for Dustin Hoffman's mind-game marriage from Sam Peckpinpah's STRAW DOGS (after having successfully tracked Peckinpah's blockbuster THE WILD BUNCH); Warren Oates's exhausted contemplation in the same director's BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA; or building tension for Clint Eastwood in either THE ENFORCER or THE EIGER SANCTION... 

A few examples of how and where Jerry Fielding's music fits tough and paranoiac, melancholy souls suffering personal battles so that the inevitable violence remains on the verge of eruption, even during meditative downtime — providing brooding overtures inside as well as about the characters...

Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC with Jan-Michael Vincent

Which THE MECHANIC is mostly about since Bronson plays the loneliest of neo noir assassins... yet he's rarely alone since Jan-Michael Vincent's Steve McKenna's mentored through an action-packed second half that includes popular 1970's outdoor distractions, from dirt bike chases to daredevil airplane rides... 

Yet it's a far from perfect vehicle, particularly when interrupted by two extremely bad actress performances: like Vincent's girlfriend Linda Ridgeway as a suicidal hippie and Bronson's real-life-wife/collaborator Jill Ireland, whose call-girl character's method of foreplay is some kind of melodramatic fantasy line-reading, and basically, both scenes should have been left on the cutting room floor, and then burnt to a crisp...

Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC with Jan-Michael Vincent

Overall marring without ruining an entertaining, intoxicating, sometimes surreal hit-and-miss exploitation that winds-up with an excellent final-act match-up between young and old killer, for one last payday in Europe... the American action thriller now a slick Italian b-crime-giallo, where Jan-Michael Vincent loosens up, shedding his previous monotone delivery to become Bronson's worthy partner...

At which point THE MECHANIC could have sustained for another hour (or continued into another motion picture) as they're both finally equals... well, almost... since only one really wants to live while the other finds inevitable freedom by ultimately losing... in order to finally succeed.

Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC with Jan-Michael Vincent
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson from the first fifteen minutes/setup from The Mechanic
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson's Angel of Death pose in very-beginning of The Mechanic
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC and Charles Bronson
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC and Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent's last call for THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent from THE MECHANIC
From Michael Winner's explosive THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson and Tower Records from THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson and Tower Records from THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson motions how much in THE MECHANIC
Jill Ireland in THE MECHANIC with Charles Bronson
Jill Ireland in THE MECHANIC with Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC with Charles Bronson
Jan-Michael Vincent and Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent and Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronsont in THE MECHANIC
Jan-Michael Vincent in THE MECHANIC
Charles Bronsont in THE MECHANIC
Bizarre Howard Morton cameo in THE MECHANIC

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