Mechanic: Resurrection Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Resurrecting a character nobody expected to see again, Statham returns in a glossy but only fitfully entertaining action sequel.Storming the Chinese box office to earn a tidy $50M - much more than its budget, and much more than it earned in any other territory - Jason Statham's surprise sequel (that nobody, let's be honest, was really hoping for, or looking forward to, at least at the cinema) also proved to be the surprise sleeper hit in a dreary summer box office teeming with disappointing sequels. Unfortunately, despite its monetary success, it otherwise appears to be a distinctly acquired taste, with the slick actioner ditching the grittier assassination escapades of its predecessor in favour of a sub-Bond, sub-Mission: Impossible blend of crazy missions in exotic locales with bikini-clad babes and a daredevil hero. Although this leaves it little removed from its otherwise DTV-level brethren, there is an argument to be said that Mechanic: Resurrection is actually a far more enjoyable outing than the Hitman videogame adaptations.Indeed, in many ways, whilst it doesn't always work as a sequel to the slightly darker and grittier original Mechanic, it might have worked as a Hitman instalment instead with only minor, beneficial, tweaks. Pushing 50, Statham's visibly older, but still in ridiculously good shape (much like Cruise), delivering the goods in a series of well-staged fight and stunt sequences, whilst Jessica Alba continues to unimpress on the acting front but impress with her... tan, and Michelle Yeoh appeals to the Eastern contingent (what a waste of this great actress), whilst Tommy Lee Jones completes a trifecta of tired supporting performances (Criminal, Jason Bourne) complete with a ridiculous look that makes you feel like he's almost in on the joke. Almost. The writing is poor, the dialogue risible, and the CG limited, but the slick look, exotic locales and numerous action setpieces will still keep Statham fans entertained.
Picture QualityMechanic: Resurrection reaches UK 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a surprisingly vibrant HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 widescreen. The UHD Blu-ray was reviewed on a Samsung UE55KS8000 Ultra HD TV and a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Shot with a Red camera in both 5K and 6K, it proves to be yet another 2K-upgraded feature in UHD, with its VFX finished in 2K and a 2K Digital Intermediate technically limiting the end result. Despite this, and despite the relatively conservative $40M budget, it's an extremely slick-looking visual spectacle which benefits from some gorgeous locations, showcasing them impressively in a way not wholly unlike the similar 4K-shot 2K DI release, The Shallows.
Mechanic: Resurrection is an extremely slick-looking visual spectacle
Given the VFX (and budgetary) limitations, it's unsurprising that the green screen shots aren't as seamlessly blended into the rest of the material, which does jar in the marginally blurry (blurred, presumably, to better fudge the backdrop) opening setpiece, and leave some of the more outlandish moments standing out as a little more obviously CG'd, but it's an acceptable disadvantage to what is otherwise a surprisingly great looking actioner that boasts some exceptional exotic locales.
The globe-trotting scenery is in-line with its sub-Bond, sub-Mission: Impossible vibe, and affords the film a far broader colour scheme which is actually remarkably natural for the most part, brimming with gorgeous greens and blues, running a little hot (particularly with that trademark yellow look for the Thai sequences), and borderline monochromatic for the in-door skyrise sequences, but not otherwise afflicted with any significantly intrusive grading. This exotic flavour benefits greatly from the High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) that the Ultra HD Blu-ray provides, upgrading the image if not in terms of sheer resolution, then certainly in terms of striking colour usage and broader peak ranges, in comparison to its Blu-ray counterpart.
Shadow detail is impressive, with a richer depth to the black levels and, consequently, greater shadow detail revealed, and overall, whilst not an obvious choice for a nice-looking Ultra HD disc, Mechanic: Resurrection does a surprisingly good job with what it has to offer, falling down when it comes to its effects, but remaining striking in its exotic style.
Sound QualityCas Harlow reviewed the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on a 5.1-channel setup – Mechanic: Resurrection's accompanying impressive Dolby Atmos soundtrack holds a powerful Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core which brings the soundstage to life in what is a largely engulfing affair for almost the entire duration. Dialogue remains firmly prioritised across the fronts and centre channels, rising above the deluge, and the score, whilst generic and distinctly unexceptional, does a solid job at keeping momentum going and giving the array plenty to do even when the action lets up. Effects are where the game is though, delivering impressive sound design not only in terms of the key setpieces - where guns and explosions are disseminated with discrete precision across your living room - but also in terms of acute ambient observation, lapping up the minutiae that make this all the more engulfing and atmospheric. It's demo through and through; a clinically-designed HD track of significant merit.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack knocks heads and takes names
Steve Withers reviewed the Dolby Atmos soundtrack on a 7.2.4-channel setup – Despite the budgetary limitations of Mechanic: Resurrection, the soundtrack is as impressive as much of the image thanks to a stellar Dolby Atmos mix that does exactly what this kind of film needs. It isn't the best Dolby Atmos soundtrack we've heard but it certainly knows how to deliver the action set pieces with real verve, making use of all the available channels to immerse you in the mayhem. When it comes to explosions the debris flies all around, including overhead, whilst bullets ricochet around the room. It's a fun mix that does exactly what it needs to do in order to bring the action sequences to life and enhance your viewing experience. The front soundstage is suitably wide and detailed, with plenty of careful imaging, whilst dialogue is firmly anchored to the action on screen but also remains clear and concise. The score is effectively mixed into the rest of the soundtrack, dominating the front three channels, whilst effects are steered around the 360 degree sound hemisphere with an impressive amount of precision. The deep bass and LF effects are well integrated and used to enhance the action scenes and underscore the overall soundtrack. Overall this is a great soundtrack that is sure to please fans of immersive audio.
ExtrasAs expected, all of the extra features are present on the accompanying Blu-ray disc; a quintet of short Featurettes including the 10 minute making-of called Engineering The Sequel: Inside Mechanic: Resurrection; a further 9 minute Scoring the Action Film with Mark Isham; and a trio of 2 minute mini-featurettes looking at The Malaysian Prison, Michelle Yeoh - Secret Ally, and Statham on Stunts.
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictThe writing is as poor as the CG, but the slick look, exotic locales and action will keep Statham fans entertained
Nevertheless, despite the limitations of both the budget and the 2K DI, Mechanic: Resurrection looks surprisingly good in Ultra HD Blu-ray, benefiting in particular from the HDR and WCG enhancements, with a fabulously immersive Dolby Atmos track to boot. Certainly Statham fans, and action fans of the more forgiving variety, will get a kick out of the numerous action setpieces, even if this is the kind of movie best saved for a lazy streaming Sunday on Netflix.
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