The Mechanic (1972)
This was the first of many teamings between British action director Michael Winner and Charles Bronson, whose career rocketed to superstardom during the 1970s. In The Mechanic, Bronson plays a low-key hitman with high-tech capabilities who takes on a young apprentice (Jan-Michael Vincent). The film is a rare combination of modern and dated; the set-decoration and action is fashionable, but the score by Jerry Fielding is a little passé, and there's a similar unevenness in Winner's direction, which is cold and, well, mechanic. Only occasionally does he strike a real nerve, such as with the 16-minute wordless opening or the chilling finale. The main problem, however, is that the character-relation between Bronson and Vincent, the plot's focal-point, is underdeveloped (in screenwriter Lewis John Carlino's original script their relation was explicitly gay, which may explain why something seems to be missing here). For nostalgics, however, the film has its attraction, and Bronson exhibits some of the composed strength which made him so popular during the untalkative 70s.