2005 Certificate: 15

Synopsis

Action man Dolph Lundgren takes charge on all fronts as director, co-writer and star of this skull-cracking revenge thriller. He's Nikolai Cherenko, an ex-soldier turned car fixer who leaves Russia after his family is slaughtered by merciless gangsters. But when the same thugs kidnap a young woman and force her into prostitution, former Special Forces ace Nick is determined to throw a spanner into their twisted works. Hardcore death-dealing from the Nordic leviathan.

Director

  • Dolph Lundgren

Cast

  • Dolph Lundgren

  • Ben Cross

  • Ivan Petrushinov

  • Olivia Lee

Review

Stepping behind the camera for the second time after his all-action debut The Defender, director Dolph again gives himself the lead in what amounts to a steely modern-day western.

Just like Clint Eastwood then? Well, in theory, you could say that. But while his tale of retired gunslingers and abused women ain't exactly Unforgiven, the big Swede certainly knows where to aim a kick. And a bullet.

The titles haven't even ended and Dolph's Spetsnaz-trained mechanic Nick has already seen his wife and young son killed by Russian mobsters and wiped them all out in one vengeful rampage.

Or at least he thought he'd got them all. But seven years later he's settled in LA when suddenly up pulls a limo and out steps a rich lady clutching a photo of her daughter who's been kidnapped by sex traffickers in St Petersberg. So far, so sad, so what? Then she produces a photo of the man who snatched her.

It's Sacha - the mob boss he'd left for dead but merely left with the meanest-looking scar in Leningrad.

Off to Russia then, where he's met by British mercenary Burton (Cross) and his trusty crew. Thanks to Burton's favourite prostitute, they discover that Sacha's putting the girl to work in one of his clubs. Burton wants a nice, clean, professional job. No fuss, no mess, just straight in and out.

But that's not Nick's style. One trashed nightclub later, the rescue party have the girl... and Sacha's mob on their trail. With setbacks and casualties along the way, it's all heading for a High Noon-style showdown deep in farming country.

Never shy of a flashback or a gouting gunshot wound, Dolph lets the plot take care of itself while racking up the requisite number of motorbike chases, exploding tunnels and splattered hookers.

If it sometimes seems that the editor's been at the vodka during the chaotic first half, everyone sets their jaws for a tense denouement amidst the cottages and cowpats of Nick's rural hometown.

Closing as all pulpy actioners should with a terrible rock song (this one by the Brian Schram Band, so obscure they don't exist on Wikipedia), The Mechanik delivers all the no-nonsense gunplay you'd want of a Friday night. But it'll cost ya.