The Mechanic (2011) was not a huge hit, so the sequel was financed independently. Jason Statham has said that after doing supporting roles in The Expendables 3 (2014), Furious 7 (2015), and Spy (2015), he wanted to give his fans a starring performance again in the genre that they have come to expect from him.
Jason Statham finds great reward in doing his own stunts. He said: "It's something I've done ever since my first action movie, The Transporter (2002), when I took the reins and got my hands dirty in the action movie world. I had a ton of experience as a kid doing many different sorts of martial arts and gymnastics and sports, and that can really give you an advantage in doing these kinds of sequences."
Jason Statham said Thailand was "a tremendous place to go work. The nicest people you'll ever get to work with. We spent most of our time there, and the warmth and generosity made for a terrific time, and it gave us such a beautiful backdrop."
The final line delivered by Tommy Lee Jones's character in which he says "Bang! You're dead" is also said by the character William Strannix in the movie Under Siege (1992), a role also played by Tommy Lee Jones.
In preparation for their action sequences, both Jessica Alba and Sam Hazeldine underwent extensive physical training. "I did it simply for the fact that I didn't want it to look ludicrous that I would be up against Jason in a fight," laughed Hazeldine. Alba continued by saying, "I had taken training in many different martial arts over the years doing action for a television show (Dark Angel (2000)), but for this film, I took krav maga. I felt it would be a lot more hand-to-hand, much more intuitive fighting. In the moments that you see Gina defend herself and in action, I just wanted it to be brutal and real and intense and messy. I think we've accomplished that, especially with Vic (Armstrong) shooting the action." Second Unit Director Vic Armstrong gave both actors high marks for their dedication, and the results they achieved on screen. "If she wasn't such a good actress, Jessica would make a wonderful stuntwoman," observed Armstrong. "She has a natural ability to throw a punch, to react, take a punch and hit the ground. I was absolutely overwhelmed by her ability and enthusiasm."
"The Buzludzha Monument (seen in the film)", as reported by the Wikipedia website, "on the peak was built by the Bulgarian Communist regime to commemorate the events in 1891 when the Socialists, led by Dimitar Blagoev, assembled secretly in the area to form an organized Socialist movement, with the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, a forerunner of the Bulgarian Communist Party. The Monument was opened in 1981. No longer maintained by the Bulgarian government, it has fallen into disuse. The building exemplifies the brutalist architectural style common to many state constructed Communist buildings. The Architect was Guéorguy Stoilov."
From a performance standpoint, Jason Statham sees action sequences in the Mechanic , as an outgrowth of who Arthur Bishop is as a character. Statham said: "You have to make it look inventive and smart, because Bishop's a guy who processes things as he goes along. We're trying to look like he's improvising with the location around him, which is quite difficult to do at times." Also challenging, says Statham, is keeping the action authentic: "It's trying to keep it realistic without it being over the top. With all the different action that we do, and no matter what the location is, we want to try and keep an element of realism. Then there's the safety issue and fighting with the elements. It's one of the hardest aspects of making action movies."
This first sequel to The Mechanic (2011) becomes the fifth film series to feature Jason Statham. The others are the "The Transporter", "Crank", The Fast and the Furious", and "The Expendables". Spy 2, a sequel to Spy (2015), will make the number six.
According to the associated documentary The Malaysian Prison (2016), Buddhist prayers and praying readings were conducted at the real life abandoned Chanthabur Prison in Thailand, which was portraying the Penjara Kaedah high-security prison in Malaysia, due to claims by the crew that the empty penitentiary was haunted by ghosts.
A movie studio in Bangkok, Thailand was the site in which the opening scene of the film, a spectacular fight scene set in a cafe at the top of Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. A meticulous recreation of the actual location was created on a soundstage with exteriors to be filmed at the actual location in Brazil at a later date.
Jason Statham said of the movie's action sequences: "A lot of the fight scenes were very memorable. The buildings (filmed in) were architectural masterpieces, and we did a lot of cool stunts underwater with scuba gear."
The name of villain Riah Crain (Sam Hazeldine)'s super-large super-yacht which had its own helicopter pad was "SuRi" or "The Suri" of the Port of Bikini, MI - the latter refers to Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, both situated in the northern Pacific Ocean.
"Each day of working with Jason was a revelation," said Vic Armstrong. "He comes in with ideas and expectations, and he'll go take after take until we get things right. He's 100 percent committed." Dennis Gansel said of Statham: "It's a dream to work with him. He knows his character so well, as well as the action. Every day was like a learning experience for me, and at the same time, incredibly fun because he's very open to new ideas."
The name of the type of building extension roof-top swimming pool seen in the movie is a "cantilevered" swimming pool or "cantilever" swimming pool with the latter term being the word used to describe it in the movie.
Jason Statham and John Cenatiempo both previously appeared in the Fast & Furious series. Cenatiempo was first in "2 Fast, 2 Furious." Later both him & Statham would appear in Furious 7 (2015), but never shared the same scenes.
Adding international flavor to the production was selecting award-winning German filmmaker Dennis Gansel to make his American directorial debut with Mechanic: Resurrection (2016). Gansel had been in development with another project at NuImage/Millennium when he was offered a copy of the script to read. "Dennis is an up-and-coming European director," said Executive Producer Frank DeMartini. "Having seen his earlier work, we felt his intelligence and unique style would bring a new dimension to the action genre, as well as additional depth to the characters."
The country of Thailand got to play itself onscreen, when filming moved to the resort island of Phuket, which served as Mei' (Michelle Yeoh)'s hideaway and refuge, and the setting of yet another dramatic fight scene.
One of the men that Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is tasked with eliminating is Crain's (Sam Hazeldine's) biggest rival, the larger-than-life billionaire arms dealer, Max Adams. The production was fortunate enough to attract a similarly larger-than-life acting legend to portray the magnate, and that was Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones, who had won a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for The Fugitive (1993). "I was actually a little bit intimidated in the beginning," admitted Dennis Gansel, "because he's . . . Tommy Lee Jones! But he was such a humble guy to work with, open for any ideas, and bringing many of his own. The part itself is not very large, but what he does with the character is amazing." "I saw the first Mechanic (The Mechanic (2011)), and it was very entertaining," said Jones of his decision to join the cast. "This is a worthy sequel because the first one was a lot of fun, and that's what makes it worthwhile to do again. Besides, my character gets to wear some pretty cool glasses and shirts!".
According to a computer screen seen in the film, assassination target Max Adams (Tommy Lee Jones) was the CEO of Euro Exports; lived in Varna in Bulgaria; was an arms dealer whose principal markets were Europe and South America, and had a date of birth being 1st December 1947, making his character aged about 69 years around the time the picture debuted. In real life, at this time, Jones, who was born on 15th September 1946, is actually aged about a year older than this.
Director Dennis Gansel said of this new "Mechanic" movie series entry, and its lead central character Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham): "I've always seen Arthur Bishop as sort of a dirty James Bond. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to make the films bigger and better, and also by choosing more exotic locations, like Rio and Thailand."
As for Vic Armstrong, when asked what he felt was the most challenging of all the stunts and action sequences, he mused: "The hardest and most difficult sequence to do is all of them, because they all have to be original. Everything's been done before, but you have to be creative in putting different slants and flavors on it. There are so many good action films out there from Bond to Bourne and everything in between, so it's a huge challenge to come up with something that people will react to as cool and refreshing. I think we're up to that challenge on this film."
On a soundstage, in a Bangkok, Thailand movie studio, an enormous underground submarine pen was constructed, in which Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) endures a blistering gunfight and attack, in his attempts to reach billionaire Max Adams (Tommy Lee Jones).
It's the unique plight of a beautiful, imperiled woman that forces Arthur Bishop back into the fold. Key to casting the role of Gina was finding an actress who would bring her own strengths and magnetic presence to the part, a character who becomes a formidable ally to the mechanic. They found that actress in Jessica Alba, who was eager to join the production. "I've always been a fan of Jason (Statham)," said Alba. "He's got tremendous range, and I don't know any other actor who can do what he's done. I particularly like these action movies, so when I got the opportunity to do this, I thought it would be great to work with him in this genre." Alba found her character to be a woman of inner and outer strength. "She's ex-military, so she knows how to fight and defend herself, and she's definitely not a damsel-in-distress. But she's not all brute and brawn. She has a heart, and it's interesting to see the beginnings of this love story, even though it's set in these bizarre circumstances. I don't know if there are very many women that would be that interesting to a man like Bishop, because he's so smart and dominant, and just moves through people. But to be the girl who's almost on that equal level with him, makes for a great character." Statham loved working with Alba. He said: "She's such a talented actress. She's a lot of fun. Doing an action movie, the drama's really serious and the stakes are high and you need someone to kind of soften that. She was just a dream to work with, a real pleasure."
With a majority of the story taking place on the Asian continent, it was decided to film the movie in locations throughout the country of Thailand, by using modern CGI technology including green screens and digital compositing, doubling where possible for the other overseas locations, where exteriors would later be superimposed.
The final piece of key casting would be for the role of Mei, a mysterious woman who gives Arthur Bishop both refuge and advice. When Executive Producer Mark Gill sent Michelle Yeoh the script, she immediately signed on to be a part of the production. "The cast alone, Jason (Statham), Jessica (Alba), Tommy Lee (Jones), was enough to get me hooked," said Yeoh, "and the action is non-stop." Of her character, Yeoh describes Mei as "mysterious. She comes into the film in the middle and she is the person to whom Bishop turns, because he's in huge trouble, and needs a haven. She's someone that he trusts implicitly, and over the course of his career, he has gone to her when he needs to move on, and change identities. They have a great respect for each other. Sadly, in this film, I don't get involved in much of the action, which is a big regret. But hopefully, that might change in the future!".
According to Philip Shelby, Jason Statham's original portrayal gave Shelby the "voice of the character" as the Mechanic: Resurrection (2016) screenplay began to take shape. The challenge, therefore, was to "build that character and take him in a new and higher direction. Bishop is unique in the sense that while he lives in a violent world, he is still a man of honor. There is something about the knight errant in him, the man who has to be the hardest and toughest man, so that justice can prevail," said Shelby.
According to the Wikipedia website, "on November 7, 2014, Lionsgate set the film for a January 22, 2016 release. The film was later moved back to April 15, 2016, and on August 3, 2015, the release was again delayed until August 26, 2016."
A fan of the first film, Dennis Gansel was immediately taken with the possibilities the sequel presented. This included a stronger look into what makes its lead anti-hero tick, and lots more inventive action. "I think Bishop is a fascinating character," said Gansel. "I always saw in him elements of other action heroes, including James Bond and Jason Bourne. And while I enjoyed the first Mechanic, I loved that this script offers more about the character's background. I thought it would be interesting to dig a little deeper and show the genesis of this man, where he came from, leading back to his childhood. Our story offers a lot of fresh elements you normally wouldn't see in an action film, which makes it more rich of an experience."
The movie, which is partially set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and filmed there, world premiered on August 22, 2016, one day after the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games had ended on August 21, 2016, with its major American release being on August 28, 2016, one week after the games closed. The picture predominantly debuted in most territories during late August and early September 2016, just prior to the start of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Summer Games, which started on September 7, 2016.
The broadened scope of this new adventure for the Mechanic would feature global locations, and as one might expect from Jason Statham and company, gripping and exciting action sequences featuring sensational and inventive stunt work. Given a relatively short window of shooting, it was decided that an action unit would be established, working closely in conjunction with Gansel and his main unit. With decades of experience in front of the camera as a stuntman, as well as behind the camera filming the action, Vic Armstrong was brought in to take charge of this high-octane squad. Executive Producer Frank DeMartini called Armstrong: "A legend." DeMartini added: "He's doubled everyone from Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones series to every James Bond except Daniel Craig. He's known as one of the top second unit directors, and he's probably the world's greatest living stuntman. This is the first time Jason (Statham) and Vic (Armstrong) got to work together, and they immediately had a rapport. Throughout the whole movie, Vic was creating action sequences that we didn't even envision when the script was being written."
In the 2011 remake of the '70's genre classic, The Mechanic (1972), audiences were reintroduced to the consummate assassin, tasked with reluctantly training a hothead protégé while also trying to find the person responsible for killing his mentor. While there was an ample amount of action throughout, the film was more intimate and character-driven, a showcase as much for the acting chops of Charles Bronson four decades earlier and later Jason Statham, who put his own personal imprint on hit man Arthur Bishop. The result, in both cases, was an unqualified success. For Bishop's follow-up adventure, Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), the decision was made to broaden the scope of the series, taking its tough, ethical hit man "to the next level," as co-screenwriter Philip Shelby said. That meant a more expansive view of the sense of danger and a better understanding of who the mechanic is. "It was an opportunity to put Bishop on an international stage, to have him do far more dangerous and exotic stunts and put him in far more interesting situations."
Jason Statham's contributions ensured that the filmmakers would complete their own mission with Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), and give audiences more of what they loved the first time around. It may not be as lethal a job as something Arthur Bishop might get involved with, but it was handled no less committedly. "It has so many great elements that I hope audiences want to see it again right away!" said Dennis Gansel. "It's even better than the first, which was itself a great movie." It has everything", said Frank DeMartini. "It's a popcorn movie that's made to keep you on the edge of your seat from the beginning to the end, with non-stop action."
The legendary Vic Armstrong said of this movie: "I'm very excited to be working on this film. My whole professional life has been spent working on series - James Bond, Superman, Indiana Jones, Charlie's Angels, and Spider-Man, among others - and I've been lucky to have worked with some of the best action stars in the world. I sincerely feel that Jason Statham is one of those now. I'm thrilled to be working with him, as he comes from a physical background, which makes life so much easier when we set up and coordinate the stunts. We work out the fights, the logistics and the actual movement, and Jason has a huge input into all of it. For me, it's gratifying to work with an actor that's got a left and a right foot, intend of two left feet can throw punches, can run and fight. What's even more important, is that he also knows how to translate action into a visual."
A spectacular luxury yacht, anchored in the Gulf of Thailand, just off the coast of Pattaya served as the setting for the film's propulsive, heart-stopping finale. Shooting the sequence saw Jason Statham at his most active. On one end of the yacht, Statham would film his dramatic scenes with Jessica Alba and Sam Hazeldine under the direction of Dennis Gansel. In between those set-ups, he would run to the opposite end of the vessel to join Vic Armstrong's action unit.
The film shot in two exotic locations used to by earlier James Bond films: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which was an exotic filming location for Moonraker (1979) and Phuket, Thailand, which was an exotic filming location for The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).
Having cast their female lead, the filmmakers turned their attention to finding two actors who would be worthy antagonists for Arthur Bishop. "We searched a very long time to find the perfect adversary who could inhabit the character of Crain, the man who forces Bishop to undertake his agenda," said Dennis Gansel. "Sam Hazeldine proved to have all of the qualities we could have hoped for." Frank DeMartini agreed: "He is the total package. He's smart and urbane, and can project the underlying evil of the character with just the trace of a smile. He definitely fits the mold of the classic and most menacing of movie villains."
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
After killing Marlon Krill (Femi Elufowoju Jr.), Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) escapes the prison by diving off a cliff with excellent technique. Statham was a member of the British National Diving Squad for twelve years and even competed at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.