Elite hitman Arthur (Statham) lives a solitary life in a New Orleans bayou with his stinking wealth and exquisite taste. But he's shocked when his boss (Goldwyn) gives him his next assignment: to kill his mentor Harry (Sutherland).
Arthur is a cool professional, but now he's also wracked with guilt. So he takes Harry's wastrel son Steve (Foster) under his wing, teaching him the assassination trade and letting him practice during a few jobs. But the work gets increasingly dangerous, and soon it becomes apparent that Harry was set up. Revenge is in the air.
The blunt score-settling plot at the centre of this film leaves it feeling a lot less interesting than it could have been, because the mentor-trainee storyline between Arthur and Steve is actually gurgling with possibility, and is nicely played by Statham and especially Foster. There's a strong tension between these two unpredictable men, and their good son/bad son friendship is genuinely intriguing until it's swamped by the requirements of the plot.
What follows is a series of overwrought action set pieces and double-crosses that leave us shrugging with disinterest. No matter how slick the film is, abandoning the only thing that holds our attention is a big mistake. And there's also a point-of-view problem with the entire film, which never decides whose perspective to take. This leaves us unable to connect with the story or characters.
That said, Statham is charismatic enough to hold our attention, even when he's playing everything far too seriously. Foster stirs in his intense acting chops to create a character who's far more complex than the script lets him be. And solid support from the likes of Sutherland and Goldwyn keeps things lively and sometimes even offbeat. But by the time we endure the cacophony of the climactic action sequence, we really couldn't care less what happens to any of them.
Run time: 93 mins
In Theaters: Friday 28th January 2011
Box Office USA: $29.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $51.1M
Distributed by: CBS Films
Production compaines: Nu Image Entertainment GmbH, CBS Films, Millenium Films, Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Scared Productions
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Fresh: 82 Rotten: 74
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: Simon West
Starring: Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop, Ben Foster as Steve Mckenna, Donald Sutherland as Harry Mckenna, Mini Anden as Sara, Tony Goldwyn as Dean Sanderson, Christa Campbell as Kelly, Katarzyna Wolejnio as Maria