Watch Now: THE MECHANIC
In The Mechanic, Charles Bronson plays a professional hitman named Arthur Bishop, working for a secret worldwide organization. He is a depressed and lonely individual, but the best at his job, with skills that make most of his assassinations look like deaths from natural causes. After receiving an order to kill one of the bosses from the organization, he does the job and attends the funeral. There he meets the son of the deceased, Steve McKenna (played by Jan-Michael Vincent), a self-centered and enthusiastic young man who takes an interest in Bishop. The hitman immediately recognizes the potential in Steve, so he lets him into his life.
Making the aging mentor/young pupil dynamic i.e., the father/son dynamic the focal point of the movie was a decision made late in the film’s development, as a substitute for what screenwriter Lewis John Carlino really wanted to explore in his original script. His desire was to delve into a relationship based on sexual manipulation, where the young student and the old mentor are explicitly gay and utilize the attraction between them to gain advantage over one another. But during that time in cinema history many actors were not eager to portray gay characters, nor did the studios want to make those kinds of movies, so Carlino had his heart broken when that aspect was removed from the script. Michael Winner was brought in to direct the film, which would make this his second collaboration with Bronson (out of six). Even though some critics complained that the action scenes made the film resemble a James Bond flick, The Mechanic was generally praised by viewers, making it an action cult classic.