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The Good, The Bad and The Badass: Jason Statham

04.05.2015
Last week, we took a look at the career of Vin Diesel, who's ridden the FAST & FURIOUS franchise into superstar status. This week's subject is another action hero who recently joined the saga and might be getting a boost of his own.
Jason Statham

Jason Statham is an unabashed throwback to an earlier kind of action star. Cut from the same cloth as guys like Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris, but sporting a rough and tumble English accent that differentiates him from the pack, Statham's built himself a solid career as the star of action programmers. He's come ablong way from the days when he played second fiddle to Ice Cube (GHOSTS OF MARS) and Jet Li (THE ONE). He's a cool guy and effortlessly charismatic yet, despite his best efforts, true super-stardom has so far eluded him. He never got a real A-level action showcase (DEATH RACE probably came the closest as far as budgets go), and his appearances in legit tent-pole movies like THE ITALIAN JOB (remake), THE EXPENDABLES franchise and now FURIOUS 7 tend to be in supporting parts. Statham's movies also have the tendency to all seem interchangeable, with only the CRANK's really sticking out from the pack.

While some of his movies may feel disposable, Statham always seems to give them his all, winning him the respect of a devoted fan base. What's especially good are his attempts to stretch, with action dramas like BLITZ, REDEMPTION and WILD CARD being more character based than his usual fare, something which bodes well for his longevity. With FURIOUS 7 playing to sold-out crowds all over the world, Statham's exposure now is at an all-time-high, and with a buzzy-comedic part in Paul Feig's SPY this summer, Statham's best days may well be ahead of him.

His Best Film

While he's done lots of good stuff, I'd say that – so far – Statham's only appeared in one legitimate classic (two if you count his cameo in COLLATERAL). That movie – of course – is SNATCH. Playing “Turkish”, Statham's arguably the lead, although guys like Vinnie Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina and Brad Pitt have all the fun. Still, Statham is the glue that holds the movie together, with Turkish seeming like the lone sane man in Guy Ritchie's crazy London underworld. It's too bad that Statham and Ritchie's follow-up, REVOLVER, was such an unfathomable mess.

His Most Underrated Film

Statham's actually done a few movies that haven't gotten their due. CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE was an absolutely insane experience and a kind of gonzo-trash classic. Another movie of his, REDEMPTION, was a stylish, sophisticated noir that never really got much of a push stateside. Heck, even Statham's action vehicle, SAFE, was a cut above the norm, although it lacked a strong villain for Statham to have a final mano-a-mano showdown with. But, of all Statham's movies, one of his best is THE BANK JOB, which proved that Statham didn't have to be fight legions of baddies to be effective as a lead. Roger Donaldson put together a really interesting retro thriller, and I'd love to see him and Statham try something like this again.

His Most Overrated Film

One of Statham's movies I never really got the love for was THE MECHANIC. A remake of an infinitely superior Charles Bronson movie, to me this film seemed like a transparent attempt by producers to launch Statham into another TRANSPORTER-style franchise, although his character never manages to be quite as memorable as Frank Martin. Director Simon West and Statham did better work in their next two movies together, THE EXPENDABLES 2 and WILD CARD.

His Most Memorable Scene

THE TRANSPORTER's road to success was surprisingly unconventional. When it hit theaters, many knocked it as a Vin Diesel/XXX clone, but once it hit DVD it built up a strong cult-following, with the sequel arguably launching Statham's career as a leading man. While uneven (I'd argue the second is the most entertaining) THE TRANSPORTER has a few classic action sequences, the best of which is the following gem where Statham dispatches a houseful of goons.

His Five Best Films


5. (Tie) CRANK/ CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE
4. THE BANK JOB
3. FURIOUS 7
2. LOCK, STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS
1. SNATCH

Up Next

After SPY, Statham's next flick will be MECHANIC: RESURRECTION. While that doesn't seem too promising a prospect, the addition of Jessica Alba, Michelle Yeoh and Tommy Lee Jones to the cast makes it sound like the sequel's going to be a cut above as far as B-actioners go. After that, Statham will hopefully be back for another FAST & FURIOUS, while he's also acquired the rights to the book-sequel to LAYER CAKE, making it sound like a return to the kind of movie that got Statham noticed in the first place.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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8:11PM on 04/06/2015
I like this guy. He's as watchable as it gets. Every movie he makes lately I'm just waiting for his next action scene. He's believable, you believe it when he takes out a room full of guys. Some would argue he's too invincible, in the vein of Donnie Yen, but I like that sense of supremacy! And his latest, Wild Card, was a damn good time, loved Stanley Tucci's small role too.
I like this guy. He's as watchable as it gets. Every movie he makes lately I'm just waiting for his next action scene. He's believable, you believe it when he takes out a room full of guys. Some would argue he's too invincible, in the vein of Donnie Yen, but I like that sense of supremacy! And his latest, Wild Card, was a damn good time, loved Stanley Tucci's small role too.
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1:17PM on 04/06/2015
Not a fan. There isn't a single movie that he is in that I enjoy. He is as wooden as Pinocchio's dick.
Not a fan. There isn't a single movie that he is in that I enjoy. He is as wooden as Pinocchio's dick.
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+1
10:18AM on 04/06/2015
This article is full of contradictions. And you don't mention lock stock till the end? But u mention revolver? And no star franchise? The transporter? 3 films a show and a premake. And then fast 7? After all the range you talk about he's basically Godzilla. I enjoyed the movie but it's uneBen and he isn't as good a villain as his brother. No one will really remember himin the long run I didnt even like them but I'd put his transporter roles over that
This article is full of contradictions. And you don't mention lock stock till the end? But u mention revolver? And no star franchise? The transporter? 3 films a show and a premake. And then fast 7? After all the range you talk about he's basically Godzilla. I enjoyed the movie but it's uneBen and he isn't as good a villain as his brother. No one will really remember himin the long run I didnt even like them but I'd put his transporter roles over that
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9:25AM on 04/06/2015
Love the Stath. Maybe even a slight bit more than Rock and Vin. Maybe cause he comes off more as an everyman in terms of size and stature. He's got the coolness of a McQueen and the martial arts skills of a poor man's Bruce Lee imo. This makes me want to re-visit some of his more dramatic turns. The Bank Job...and I really enjoyed Redemption. I still gotta catch Wild Card which has elluded me for some strange reason. I do hope he makes a return in the FF series as well. The Layer Cake sequel
Love the Stath. Maybe even a slight bit more than Rock and Vin. Maybe cause he comes off more as an everyman in terms of size and stature. He's got the coolness of a McQueen and the martial arts skills of a poor man's Bruce Lee imo. This makes me want to re-visit some of his more dramatic turns. The Bank Job...and I really enjoyed Redemption. I still gotta catch Wild Card which has elluded me for some strange reason. I do hope he makes a return in the FF series as well. The Layer Cake sequel is intriguing. He knows some power players like Sly, Ritchie, and Vaughn so it be nice to see what he could ultimately pull together. I'd love to see him work with a Tom Hardy or Colin Farrell in the future. Good chewed action and scenery could occur there. Also, one of my favorite Stath roles is in London with Chris Evans and Jessica Biel. Statham by far has the best scene where he goes off about "being an impotent man, muther f....." Great stuff.
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-1
9:01AM on 04/06/2015

I like the guy and all

But he cannot carry a film as the lead. He has made a bunch of bad films (yes Transporter and Crank films included) which might be hurting his chances to reach that next level.

For the record, the Mechanic wasn't bad. It was not great either but really it is far superior to any Crank or Transporter move.
But he cannot carry a film as the lead. He has made a bunch of bad films (yes Transporter and Crank films included) which might be hurting his chances to reach that next level.

For the record, the Mechanic wasn't bad. It was not great either but really it is far superior to any Crank or Transporter move.
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8:41AM on 04/06/2015
Big fan, love the guy. Sure he doesn't have much range but he's a lot of fun to watch.
Big fan, love the guy. Sure he doesn't have much range but he's a lot of fun to watch.
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7:41AM on 04/06/2015

Sorry, but...

...the guy is nothing to write home about. His two best roles were Lock Stock, & Snatch; and he wasn't even the main character.
...the guy is nothing to write home about. His two best roles were Lock Stock, & Snatch; and he wasn't even the main character.
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6:49AM on 04/06/2015
I don't think Safe was lacking a worthy baddie its just Anson Mount was deliberately wasted for who knows what reason. The man proved himself in that movie as well as Non-Stop and that [link] Codename: Geronimo

Otherwise Jason Statham for me can do no wrong and will forever be grateful for him taking up the Action Hero mantle for the 21st century when everyone else was too chicken under the guise of "ooh I just want to prove myself as an actor and not get typecast ". Granted, but look at how
I don't think Safe was lacking a worthy baddie its just Anson Mount was deliberately wasted for who knows what reason. The man proved himself in that movie as well as Non-Stop and that [link] Codename: Geronimo

Otherwise Jason Statham for me can do no wrong and will forever be grateful for him taking up the Action Hero mantle for the 21st century when everyone else was too chicken under the guise of "ooh I just want to prove myself as an actor and not get typecast ". Granted, but look at how Mark Walhberg, Karl Urban or even Samuel L. Jackson turnd out. Those guys still command respect which is something that comes almost naturally with Jason Statham no matter what he's in.
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6:19AM on 04/06/2015
Underrated - The Italian Job - I love heist movies & his character was fun.
Overrated - The Transporter Trilogy - they bored me
Memorable Scene - Both Crank films
Underrated - The Italian Job - I love heist movies & his character was fun.
Overrated - The Transporter Trilogy - they bored me
Memorable Scene - Both Crank films
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5:22AM on 04/06/2015
Jason play the same part statham. Really?. His only good film was Lock Stock and that was because that was his first, before people actually realized he was playing himself.
Jason play the same part statham. Really?. His only good film was Lock Stock and that was because that was his first, before people actually realized he was playing himself.
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7:48AM on 04/06/2015
Nice. I love how all of his other films have one word as the title; Crank, Transporter, Safe,... then the movies that are actually decent, have more than one word; and he's not the star. Don't get me wrong, he was great in Ritchie's movies, but beyond that, he never has, or will be the next action star.
Nice. I love how all of his other films have one word as the title; Crank, Transporter, Safe,... then the movies that are actually decent, have more than one word; and he's not the star. Don't get me wrong, he was great in Ritchie's movies, but beyond that, he never has, or will be the next action star.
5:04PM on 04/06/2015
The funny thing is, when I first watch The Transporter, I didn't even realize it was the same guy. Then I was like "Is that Turkish fighting shirtless in a garage?" With the exception of The Bank Job I feel like I haven't seen Bacon or Turkish in over a decade. Statham is cool, but those guys were decidedly uncool.
The funny thing is, when I first watch The Transporter, I didn't even realize it was the same guy. Then I was like "Is that Turkish fighting shirtless in a garage?" With the exception of The Bank Job I feel like I haven't seen Bacon or Turkish in over a decade. Statham is cool, but those guys were decidedly uncool.
+2
5:22AM on 04/06/2015
The guys is a true British Icon, if you think where he came from way back with Lock Stock and where he is now, that's an unprecedented success story. It shows that with hard work, keeping out of the tabloids and building a steady resume, anything is possible.
As for his best film, Snatch/Crank/Bank Job are excellent and for me Safe is a true stand out, its a shame the Expendables did not go the way that I hoped, the next couple of years are going to be very interesting to see whether Furious
The guys is a true British Icon, if you think where he came from way back with Lock Stock and where he is now, that's an unprecedented success story. It shows that with hard work, keeping out of the tabloids and building a steady resume, anything is possible.
As for his best film, Snatch/Crank/Bank Job are excellent and for me Safe is a true stand out, its a shame the Expendables did not go the way that I hoped, the next couple of years are going to be very interesting to see whether Furious 7 gives him the boost he needs.
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5:12AM on 04/06/2015
Badass indeed. Even some of his films suck, it's Jason Statham that makes those films worth watching. I think his best work is Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and I wholeheartedly agree that The Bank Job is his most underrated movie and that movie is way underrated. He sure makes every movie he's in very enjoyable to watch.
Badass indeed. Even some of his films suck, it's Jason Statham that makes those films worth watching. I think his best work is Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and I wholeheartedly agree that The Bank Job is his most underrated movie and that movie is way underrated. He sure makes every movie he's in very enjoyable to watch.
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3:30AM on 04/06/2015
will always be a fan of him and watch his every movie.There's no one like him.Transporter 2 and Crank are my favorite films of him.i love watching them like i love watching Kill Bill films
will always be a fan of him and watch his every movie.There's no one like him.Transporter 2 and Crank are my favorite films of him.i love watching them like i love watching Kill Bill films
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3:29AM on 04/06/2015
will always be a fan of him and watch his every movie.There's no one like him.Transporter 2 and Crank are my favorite films of him.i love watching them like i love watching Kill Bill films
will always be a fan of him and watch his every movie.There's no one like him.Transporter 2 and Crank are my favorite films of him.i love watching them like i love watching Kill Bill films
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1:48AM on 04/06/2015
Can't argue with this week's choice, although I have to admit that I haven't really kept up with his resume for the last few years; I tuned out a bit after Transporter 3, since a couple of his recent films looked like they were relying more on his stubble and accent than a decent script. I agree with most of the choices in the list, especially LOCK, STOCK and SNATCH, he's clearly having a ball in both of those films and plays well off of all the supporting characters.

And as a sort of
Can't argue with this week's choice, although I have to admit that I haven't really kept up with his resume for the last few years; I tuned out a bit after Transporter 3, since a couple of his recent films looked like they were relying more on his stubble and accent than a decent script. I agree with most of the choices in the list, especially LOCK, STOCK and SNATCH, he's clearly having a ball in both of those films and plays well off of all the supporting characters.

And as a sort of "honourary mention," as much as the film itself is indeed a bit of a mess, I have said for years that REVOLVER has one of Statham's best performances. It's one of those films that, as a whole, is kind of a well-photographed wank, especially given that Ritchie was at the peak of his Madonna-Kabbalah "lost weekend" (and it REALLY shows). However, it has a really interesting performance from Statham that makes the film worth watching, even to show that he has more range than people are willing to give him credit for.
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1:28AM on 04/06/2015
Statham is a badass. Unfortunately, Furious 7 never really let him shine like the opening to the film seemed to promise. I love Snatch and Lock Stock and Transporter and I actually think The Mechanic is underrated. He needs to be given a real scenery chewing bad guy role, like a London crime boss who splits peoples heads open with a tire iron or some shit like that. A military action role in the vein of a Tom Clancy novel as a decorated soldier would also be good.
Statham is a badass. Unfortunately, Furious 7 never really let him shine like the opening to the film seemed to promise. I love Snatch and Lock Stock and Transporter and I actually think The Mechanic is underrated. He needs to be given a real scenery chewing bad guy role, like a London crime boss who splits peoples heads open with a tire iron or some shit like that. A military action role in the vein of a Tom Clancy novel as a decorated soldier would also be good.
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7:07AM on 04/06/2015
He did kick Captain America's ass in Cellular when he played a crooked cop in that one.
He did kick Captain America's ass in Cellular when he played a crooked cop in that one.
12:33AM on 04/06/2015
I'm really excited for him this year. I don't think he's turning over a new leaf exactly, but between the positive reviews Wild Card got for his acting, his turn in Fast 7 (going up Vin Diesel AND The Rock), and looking like he could be the best part about Spy, it's been a good year to show off his moves and prove that he can still play the motormouth like he did back in Guy Ritchie's stuff. Crank really was the perfect vehicle for the man's talents though. Equal parts badass and Limey asshole.
I'm really excited for him this year. I don't think he's turning over a new leaf exactly, but between the positive reviews Wild Card got for his acting, his turn in Fast 7 (going up Vin Diesel AND The Rock), and looking like he could be the best part about Spy, it's been a good year to show off his moves and prove that he can still play the motormouth like he did back in Guy Ritchie's stuff. Crank really was the perfect vehicle for the man's talents though. Equal parts badass and Limey asshole. Personally, I'd like to see him take on more prestige roles. Not necessarily OScar-bait, but even Fast 7 feels like a step up from his usual January/September fare.
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12:22AM on 04/06/2015
Given his ability to cut loose in Crank, Statham's biggest role yet to come may be motion capture. The guy has a potent physicality that trumps his physical stature. More than one person I know that has met him said he is smaller than they thought he would be. You give him a Caesar type role, he might get huge-er.
Given his ability to cut loose in Crank, Statham's biggest role yet to come may be motion capture. The guy has a potent physicality that trumps his physical stature. More than one person I know that has met him said he is smaller than they thought he would be. You give him a Caesar type role, he might get huge-er.
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12:15AM on 04/06/2015
London is my favorite film of his.
London is my favorite film of his.
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1:17AM on 04/06/2015
Excellent film! Chris Evans was great in that too!
Excellent film! Chris Evans was great in that too!
11:58PM on 04/05/2015
I'd swap the Crank moves for Safe. Safe was more engaging in my opinion.
I'd swap the Crank moves for Safe. Safe was more engaging in my opinion.
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11:55PM on 04/05/2015
I like Statham, but I've stopped following a lot of his more recent output since it all starts to look the same now. He's talented, and I'd love to see him expand his range outside his typical action or crime films. Try something different, like sci-fi, a sports drama, a war movie, etc.
I like Statham, but I've stopped following a lot of his more recent output since it all starts to look the same now. He's talented, and I'd love to see him expand his range outside his typical action or crime films. Try something different, like sci-fi, a sports drama, a war movie, etc.
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