Charles Bronson in The Mechanic (1972)


(director: Michael Winner; screenwriter: Lewis John Carlino; cinematographer: Richard Kline; editor: Freddie Wilson; music: Jerry Fielding; cast: Charles Bronson (Arthur Bishop), Keenan Wynn (Harry), Jan-Michael Vincent (Steve McKenna), Jill Ireland (The Girl), Linda Ridgeway (Louise), Frank de Kova (Man), Lindsay Crosby ; Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Robert Chartoff/Irwin Winkler/Lewis John Carlino; United Artists; 1972)

“A flashy crime thriller about a mechanic, in underworld slang that’s a professional contract killer.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is the first Hollywood film of the veteran British filmmaker Michael Winner(“Parting Shots”/”The Wicked Lady”/”The Jokers”). He efficiently helms a flashy crime thriller about a mechanic, in underworld slang that’s a professional contract killer. Screenwriter Lewis John Carlino deadens all the violence by over-plotting and straining credibility. Nevertheless it works if action and violence is your thing.

Charles Bronson plays the aging super-cool Hollywood hills resident, living in luxury. He’s the son of a gang leader executed, who still is connected to the Mafia as a hit man. The loner lives a quiet life-jogging, practicing karate and flying a plane. Planning the hits to look like accidents is Bronson’s specialty. Jan-Michael Vincent plays his admiring wealthy young punk protege. Jill Ireland (Bronson’s real-life wife) passes for a prostitute, who tries to get Bronson aroused. Through their floundering relationship we’re left wondering if the failed playboy could be hiding his homosexuality.

The episodic pic is steeped in car and motorcycle chases, mindless set-piece shootings, hippies milling around and various explosions. I never found it interesting, but its noise kept me awake. What adds greatly to one’s viewing pleasure are the inviting location photography in downtown Los Angeles andNaples, Italy.