As a stoic action hero who rarely stoops to showing emotion, Jason Statham has on occasion been compared to the late, great Charles Bronson, never more so than this weekend with the remake of 'The Mechanic' opening in wide release.
Statham displays his usual tough-yet-charming demeanor in the filmas an experienced hitman who takes on a young charge and teaches him the tricks of the trade. In the 1972 original, Bronson tutored Jan-Michael Vincent. While the characters and general outline of the two films are similar, a comparison shows that Bronson and Statham are very different actors. And a brief review of Bronson's career, which stretched out over 40 years, reveals that he played a much greater variety of roles, with much greater success, than simply stone-faced killers.
One important distinction is that by the time Bronson starred in 'The Mechanic,' he was already 50 years of age. (He actually turned 51 shortly after the film was released; Statham is 39.) He'd been a working actor for 20 years, but he started late, years after he worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines as a teenager in the 1930s and then served in World War II. For a long time it seemed that he might never achieve stardom.