CBS Films simply can't win for trying. The wannabe contender has produced a string of flops since it was launched early last year, and its latest release, The Mechanic , seems destined to join them. Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe and Mail compares it to "a jalopy with dirt in the fuel line" moving in spurts but without "enough consistent energy to light up the glum, generic plot or enliven the one-dimensional performances." Naturally, the film is being compared -- mostly unfavorably -- with the 1972 original that starred Charles Bronson and was produced by the fathers of this film's producers, David Winkler and Bill Chartoff. Tom Russo in the Boston Globe describes it as a "standard action entry that deals death noisily more than cleverly -- a lot like the original." And like the original, writes John Anderson in the Washington Post , it's "in thrall to its own brainlessness." Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune objects to the "action" label being pinned on this movie. "This is a violence film, not an action film," he writes. But Lou Lumenick in the New York Post judges the remake to be an improvement on the Bronson flick. It is, he remarks, "considerably more fun than the rather lethargic original."