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The Mechanic aka Killer of Killers (the title was changed to boost business with people who might have mistaken the original title for a car chase movie) is surprisingly good and, unusually for Michael Winner, also surprisingly well directed. A one-time Cliff Robertson vehicle (which at least explains the pipe Charles Bronson smokes throughout the film) and a clear influence on the Wachowski Brothers later script for Assassins, it sees Charles Bronson as the mob's most assured and ingenious hitman for some reason taking on an apprentice, attracted perhaps by his sociopathic indifference to death. The first half of the film is so sharp that it's a shame the rest of the movie starts down a more conventional road, but the action is well-handled, with a couple of way above average stunts involving a crashing motorbike and, later on, a car pushed off a mountain road that is more comprehensively trashed on the way down than you've ever seen in a film before or since: this one doesn't need to go up in a fireball to convince it's occupant isn't walking away.

Unfortunately the sorcerer's pathological apprentice is played by terminally smug Jan Michael Vincent (the man who sued the paramedics who saved his life after a drunken crash for not managing to do so without damaging his vocal cords): ideal casting, perhaps, but he's definitely a below-par Dennis Quaid act as an actor who seems to think he's good looking enough not to have to at least try to act. Equally unfortunately it also features the inevitable Jill Ireland (the star's wife and director's former girlfriend: that must have made for some interesting conversations on the set), albeit only for one scene, and for once there's a rather clever and perfectly valid reason for her bad acting. It doesn't make her big scene any less painful to watch but at least it stops it from doing any real damage to the film. If at times it feels like a more ambitious film may have been lost in rewrites, there's still a pleasingly nasty ending and any film where the first 15 minutes are played without dialogue gets extra points in my book.

Euro Video's German Blu-ray release has no extras but has a decent widescreen transfer that accurately reflects the original look of the film with English or German soundtrack options, but Twilight Time's limited edition region-free US Blu-ray goes better with an audio commentary by cinematographer Richard H. Kline, isolated score, trailer and booklet
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on 1 September 2003
Charles Bronson (1921-2003) left us a legacy that spanned nearly five decades of acting, in many different styles. Though good at comedy as well as drama, he will mostly be remembered as a tough and gritty man of action, remaining very macho and attractive way into his gnarled, craggy later years, never losing that perspicacious glint in his eyes, or his masculine appeal.
"The Mechanic" is one of his best; a unique film with a taut script by John Lewis Carlino, that remains interesting after many years and many viewings.
The first memorable 15 minutes of this film are silent except for the tense, eerie score by Jerry Fielding, and set up the character of Arthur Bishop, who is a hit man with expensive tastes and a heart of steel. It is a part that fits Bronson like a velvet glove, with its complexity, bravado, and action sequences, which are well paced by director Winner, and photographed by Richard Kline. Jan-Michael Vincent is excellent as the cocky, cold-as-ice young man Bishop takes on to teach his "trade", and Jill Ireland (who was married to Bronson for many years) does well in a miniscule part.
Michael Winner made several films with Bronson, another favorite being "Chato's Land", which is an unusual, and very special Western.
The intricacy of the plot will keep you guessing; this is not your typical, predictable action movie, and like most films made in the '70s, it is fun to watch, with its nifty fashions and slightly tacky décor.
A must see for those that like intelligent thrillers, and a great film to celebrate Charles Bronson's life and talent.
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You won't hear me say this very often, but this is a Michael Winner film that I enjoy, and I consider to be a bit of a classic. In the second (I think) of his collaborations with Charles Bronson we are treated to a snappily paced and rather cool story of a mob hitman (Bronson) and his dealings with his apprentice (the slightly miscast Jan-Michael Vincent).

The first fifteen minutes or are entirely without dialogue. It's a brave director to do that, but it works superbly. Bronson is so well cast as the taciturn Bishop, going about his business quietly and efficiently, exuding an aurora of cool machismo with a hint of danger. He is totally magnetic and you can't keep your eyes off him. Things take a turn for the worse when Jan-Michael Vincent turns up, no one could accuse him of being a great actor, but he manages to go through his lines competently enough and his natural air of arrogance and superiority actually compliments his character. Winner directs with a bit more imagination than normal, producing a film with regular exciting action sequences but with a cracking underlying story that really gets you interested.

Probably the best Bronson picture I have seen, and definitely the best of Winners. Excellent, 5 stars.
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on 13 May 2010
this along with mr majestyk are my favourite bronson movies.here he plays an assassin and trains a young jan-michael vincent the art.dont want to say much as it will spoil the plot.but a great film and like its director"its a winner".
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on 20 April 2012
Not the best Charles Bronson film i have seen, but some good action scenes and acting by Bronson. This is more of a crime film than action film. The plot is nothing new, but it works.

Picture quality: 4/5

This looks pretty grainy as it should be and there seems to be no use of digital noise reduction. Which is good. Euro Video may have used an old HD master. Some good details and sharpness. Not the best picture quality i have seen.

Audio quality: 3/5

Only a lossy DTS: Mono with 768 kbps. Euro Video was lazy and cheap for not using lossless sound. This should have had lossless audio quality, but did they bother, no!. There is no excuse for not including lossless audio. The disc only used nearly 21GB out of 25, so they could easily have included it. Moving on and it does sound compressed and not so good. The music sounds muffled and compressed, but dialog sounds better and fuller. Gunshots sounds loud and reasonably clear, but no bass as expected.

Film: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5
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on 13 November 2010
Any film that can go 15 minutes without any dialogue and still maintain your attention 100% can not be all that bad. This film is an excellent thriller from two of the masters of the genre,Charles Bronson as actor and Michael Winner as director.Great 70s film wel worth a look at.
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on 1 February 2009
This film may be relatively old, but it's held up well. Charles plays a hitman with style. He plans each of his hits sitting with a drink, listening to classical music and studying photos and maps pinned on a board. Seems a nice way to make a living.

His solo career changes when a partner shows up.

One of the better hitman films.
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on 25 September 2011
This is a great Charles Bronson movie. Don't expect to much from it, it isn't made to win the Oscars. It is just a nice over-the-top Charles Bronson action movie and you have to own this movie if you are a Bronson fan. He was brilliant in Once Upon A Time In The West and he is great in this movie. Watch it soon!
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on 13 October 2012
Let's review the Blu ray.

First off this german disc has a choice of german and english language so UK buyers will be able to watch this disc in english to customers outside of europe please note this disc is region B locked.

Pq is good but their is signs of mild print damage.

Soundwise the disc only has dts mono so no hd soundtrack is included which will annoy fans.

If you're a fan of this movie this disc is worth buying i don't regret buying my copy as their is no word on this getting a UK release.
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on 19 October 2012
bloody good film, drops a star due to being a dated (but thats me).Charles Bronson plays a hitman/killer & jan-michael vincent is his understudy waiting in his wings.Plenty of action with a twist at the end (re.the review title)and a little bit more.Enjoyable
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