"The Mechanic" is cited as an action movie, but it could just as easily fit in the fantasy genre. All that connects the latest from director Simon West ("Con Air") to our collective reality is its urban America locations and its pro-gun stance.

"The Mechanic" is cited as an action movie, but it could just as easily fit in the fantasy genre. All that connects the latest from director Simon West ("Con Air") to our collective reality is its urban America locations and its pro-gun stance.

Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that; star Jason Statham has mastered straddling these genres in films like the awesomely wacky "Crank" series. This time, his nimbleness is wasted on a brainless, mean-spirited remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson vehicle.

Statham is Arthur, an expert at making his professional hits look like natural causes. When his mentor, Harry (Donald Sutherland, outclassing everything else on screen), is rubbed out, Arthur becomes mentor to Harry's troubled son Steve (Ben Foster), teaching him the tricks of his trade.

This leads to a couple of "assignments" in which Steve's mistakes seriously up the blood splatter and body count while doing nothing to move the plot along. Overall, the screenwriters have managed to craft a story that makes little sense and yet is still completely predictable.

All might be forgiven if the movie had any sense of self-awareness or comic transgression, but West, Statham and crew go about their tasks grimly. Even the requisite sex scenes are all business. The shooting range scenes, however, are lavished with slow-mo loving.