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Hit Man Is Back, Teaching the Tricks of the Trade

Sleek as a bullet, the action star Jason Statham jaw-clenches his way through “The Mechanic,” a sputtering remake in need of a more powerful recharge. A contempo update of the 1972 Charles Bronson vehicle of the same name (alternately titled “Killer of Killers”), the story pivots on one of those professional assassins in the employ of one of those hush-hush organizations in which men murmur murderous instructions into phones so that other men can die. For a hit man like Arthur Bishop (Mr. Statham), this makes for an isolated if lucrative life that comes with a swank pad, a vintage muscle car and paid nights with the local talent.

新版《机械师》(The Mechanic)场面火爆,但是还不够精彩。动作明星杰森·斯坦森(Jason Statham)在整部影片里,双唇紧闭,整个人利索得像一颗子弹。本片翻拍自1972年由查尔斯·布朗森(Charles Bronson)主演的同名影片(又译为《龙虎铁金刚》)。故事讲述的是一个受雇于秘密组织的职业杀手,这种组织只要在电话里悄悄吩咐一声,就有人要送命了。作为一个职业杀手,斯坦森饰演的亚瑟·毕夏普(Arthur Bishop)注定要过着独来独往的生活,但是这工作来钱也快。他住着华丽的房子,开着经典的大马力汽车,可以花钱找本地名妓共度良宵。

That existence takes a turn for the vaguely complicated when Bishop, after some messy business with a colleague (Donald Sutherland), forms an unlikely partnership with that associate’s wayward son, Steve McKenna (Ben Foster). With his complementary buzz cut, hard-body profile and hyperbolic masculinity, McKenna turns out to be a capable if overly reckless sidekick and a rather adorable Mini Me for Bishop in what soon starts to resemble something of a hit-man hookup. Action flicks often bristle with the love that dare not speak its name, as men express themselves through eroticized violence and the usual expressive grunting and grappling, body slamming, inevitable spasms of death and climactic explosions. When Bishop and McKenna begin firing off their guns in tandem, it certainly looks like the start of a beautiful friendship.

毕夏普的这种生活状态后来变得有点复杂。他和老搭档唐纳德·萨瑟兰(Donald Sutherland)产生了生意上的纠葛,却意外地跟搭档任性的儿子——本·福斯特(Ben Foster)饰演的史蒂夫·麦肯纳——结成了伙伴关系。麦肯纳是个能干的助手,就是有点鲁莽。他留着寸头,外形硬朗,男子汉气概十足,惹人喜爱,俨然就是年轻版的毕夏普,连后来勾引猎物的手法也跟毕夏普相似。动作影片往往含有不敢言说的爱。男人表达爱意,往往通过充满色情的暴力、夸张的呻吟和扭打、抽打身体以及因为死亡或性高潮而产生的不由自主的抽搐。毕夏普和麦肯纳轮流练习射击的场景,看起来确实像是一段美好友谊的开始。


Yet while the two come across as Mr. and Mr. Smith of the action-flick set, Bishop and McKenna can’t really go the distance, of course, in the don’t ask, don’t tell movie world. So instead, McKenna, on his first solo contract job, lures a gay man home alone with feigned sensitivity and a little dog, and then engages in a sadistic fight to the death that conveys — with the customary physical struggle and oozing bodily fluids — what cannot be expressed in any other fashion. It’s unclear if the director, Simon West (“Con Air”), and Richard Wenk, who shares the script credit with the first film’s writer, Lewis John Carlino, understand what that scene is about, but its message comes through with blunt, somewhat queasy force.

他们俩看起来好像是动作电影里配合默契的“史密斯夫妇”,但是在“不问,不说”(美军曾规定不允许询问官兵的性取向,不允许同性恋公开自己的身份——译注)的电影世界里,这层意思注定不能说透。麦肯纳第一次单独执行任务时,用装出来的感性和一只可爱的小狗把那个男同性恋刺杀对象勾引回了家。之后双方像虐待狂一般打得你死我活。肉体搏斗和渗出的体液暗含的意思,用其他任何方式都无法表现。不知道导演西蒙·韦斯特(Simon West,因执导《空中监狱》而闻名)和编剧理查德·温克(Richard Wenk,他和原版《机械师》的编剧刘易斯·约翰·卡利诺[Lewis John Carlino]一起改编了这个新剧本)是否理解这场戏的真正涵义,但是这样赤裸裸的、甚至有点让人反胃的暴力,确实传递出了这个意思。

There’s some limited entertainment to be found in a movie as insistently conflicted as “The Mechanic,” but the accretion of sadism, humorlessness and antediluvian sexual politics is finally more exhausting than enlivening. It’s particularly disappointing that Mr. West doesn’t seem to grasp that when a physical specimen as magnificent as Mr. Statham (who, like Mr. Foster, did much of his own stunt work) is onboard, he should be shown in all his grace and glory, from head to toe. Fred Astaire always insisted that his entire body be in the frame when he danced. Fragmenting bodies through scattershot close-ups and cuts might simulate excitement, but too often, as in “The Mechanic,” it’s a kind of cinematic dismemberment.

像《机械师》这样一部从头到尾充满矛盾冲突的电影,多少都能给人带来娱乐,但是其中的虐待场面、毫无幽默感的基调和老套的性政治理念,只会让人觉得乏味,而不是感到兴奋。最让人失望的是,导演韦斯特似乎没有意识到,遇到斯坦森(他跟福斯特一样,可以自己完成大部分特技)这么优越的外形条件,最好的做法就是从头到脚展示他的整体魅力。弗雷德·阿斯泰尔(Fred Astaire,美国电影演员、舞蹈家——译者按)就总是坚决要求,他跳舞的时候,整个身体都要在镜头里。对局部身体的特写镜头也许能增加感官刺激,但是在这部电影里只会让画面显得支离破碎。
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