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15 JASON STATHAM MOVIES That’ll Leave You High On Energy

Critics tend to appreciate Jason Statham’s talent more than they actually enjoy his movies. He is pure entertainment and smart entertainment. People love to laugh about as much as they enjoy watching stuffs getting blowed up real good, which is about as succinct a way as any of describing the sturdy appeal of the Hollywood action comedy. Blending set pieces and laughs can be awkward if either side of the equation isn’t up to snuff, but when it works, it works brilliantly — as evidenced by his movies. The heyday of unabashedly macho action heroes is basically over, but Jason Statham squeaked in right under the wire.

The English actor, a former model and competitive diver, made his big screen debut in Guy Ritchie’s ensemble crime comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1998 and quickly evolved into a steely cinematic butt-kicker, the star of multiple successful franchises and now a key member of the Fast and Furious movies. He’s even done in a couple of serious dramas and broad comedies, just to prove he’s got a little range. With his appealing charm, rugged looks, and gift-of-the-gab, he could attempt to sell us our own body parts and we’d happily pay a premium. Checkout some of his finest flicks:

LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1999)

“’Too late, too late!’ will be the cry, when the man with the bargains has passed you by.”

While prepping his debut full-length film, director Guy Ritchie set off on a search for an actor who could convincingly play a streetwise con man; he found real-life ex-black market hustler Jason Statham, and the rest was history. The duo’s first collaboration, 1998’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, featured Statham as a small-time swindler named Bacon, part of a four-member crew whose efforts to cheat a local card shark (P.H. Moriarty) quickly unravel into a bloody orgy of threats, thieving, and violence. Statham is given quite a range of emotions to express, as well as a guiding voiceover and fairs a lot better than you’d expect; it’s his ever excellent presence that steals the show.

The One (2001)

“In this, you exist. In another you don’t exist. In another, you’re married to the same woman. In another, you’re married to a different woman. In another, you’re married to a man.”

Don’t get me wrong, The One (or Jet Li’s The One, if you prefer) is exactly the kind of bonkers sci-fi trash that would sit perfectly as a double with Van Damme’s Timecop, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Still, if you haven’t seen The One, it’s an absolute blast, as Statham and the ever underappreciated Delroy Lindo run around claiming to be multiverse agents, while bad Jet Li chops his way through the other dimensional versions of himself, leading to some quite spectacular fight scenes and a good chance for Li to show both extremes of his onscreen personas.

THE TRANSPORTER (2002)

“Rule #1. Never change the deal.”

Statham made his solo action hero debut in The Transporter, a bullet-riddled thriller about Frank Martin, a guy who, well, transports things — including illegal cargo for some pretty nasty people, no questions asked. The plot is a simple: good versus evil yarn that we all know inside out; the fight scenes were fantastic and truly helped to elevate the film’s appeal. Jason Statham uses his smoldering charisma to great effect. The Transporter is cinematic extravaganza for everyone who disdains wimpy movie elements like “plot” and “character development”. This balls-to-the-walls action/adventure makes the average James Bond film look like something by Eric Rohmer. It’s high rent Steven Segal – fights, explosions, and more fights, but with a flair. Statham is delightfully cool as the imperturbable Transporter.

THE ITALIAN JOB (2003)

“It’s either bad traffic, peak traffic, slit-your-wrist traffic… you know, five people died from smoking in between traffic lights today.”

Co-starring with Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, and Edward Norton in a souped-up take on the 1969 British heist classic, Statham was unquestionably back in familiar territory, but it suited him well — as did Donna and Wayne Powers’ tightly written script, Gray’s taut direction, and a barrage of nail-biting action sequences. It’s rare to see Statham in a role where he has to rely more on his swagger and smoothness than his physical prowess. He does very well here nonetheless.

CELLULAR (2004)

“Time’s up!”

David R. Ellis’ Cellular stars Kim Basinger as a woman who’s kidnapped by a pack of thugs (led by Statham, in a rare completely villainous role) and manages to cobble together a broken cell phone to seek rescue from a stranger (Chris Evans) who just happens to be an action hero in waiting. Boasting loads of convenient coincidences, oodles of silly twists, and plenty of action, Cellular was just a little too over-the-top for some critics — but Roger Ebert, for one, had a blast. “This is one of the year’s best thrillers,” he argued. “Better than Phone Booth, for my money, and I liked that, too.”

London (2005)

“C’mon you f**kin’ dirty, sh*t, c**t, whore! F**kin’ whip me!”

The line above was delivered by the big man, while retelling his experience in an S&M parlour and is a monologue filled with comedy gold. Be warned the language doesn’t get any prettier, in a film in which all the characters have potty mouths. It’s sensational entertainment. Statham is an absolute surprise bestowing his character with both recklessness and vulnerability — most visible when he’s plaintively (and, for once, honestly) trying to convince a girl that he’s just done something exceedingly heroic. Chris Evans and Statham drive the bulk of the film and do so in style, but it’s the latter who proves the most engaging, revelling in the chance to show a rare display of emotions.

Crank (2006)

“Hey doll, looks like I let you down again. It’s like all my life I’ve just been going, going, going. Wish I’d taken more time to stop and smell the roses so to speak. Guess it’s too late for that now. You’re the greatest, baby.”

Crank gets by on a unique kind of absurd, deadpan humor in which the most implausible stuff cheerfully happens anyway. A professional killer with a great name, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), wakes up with his body full of a weird Chinese drug; he must keep his adrenaline pumping to survive. This film, despite its flaws, moves faster than a cadre of souped-up Porsches. Everything is sacrificed for speed.  What Crank does have going for it is pacing at breakneck speed, and an athletically astonishing lead performance by Jason Statham that should entitle him to an Olympic medal in lieu of an Academy Award.

THE BANK JOB (2008)

“I know what’s at stake, and I know how expendable we are. So I’m changing the deal.”

Given its flatly descriptive title and the fact that Statham’s character is the hilariously named Terry Leather, you might look at The Bank Job and think it’s just another basic heist thriller, but a few things set this one ahead of the pack. To begin with, it’s loosely based on an actual London robbery; secondly, the crime’s aftermath included the British government issuing a press gag in the name of national security. All this adds up to a cops ‘n’ robbers flick with a little more on its mind than most — quite a bit more, actually, as its tangled and rather unwieldy plot can attest. But thanks to Roger Donaldson’s tense, muscular direction, The Bank Job also works well as an effective dose of adrenaline-driven action; as Tom Long wrote for the Detroit News, it’s “a tight, classic-feeling film about losers banding together for one big score, then scrambling furiously as they realize they’re in over their heads. It’s fast, nifty, sharp and sweet.”

The Expendables (2010)

“Your life… I was thinking about taking it,” says Jason Statham to a basketball-playing thug who’s been messing with his best girl. A fight ensues, naturally, but it’s really all a setup for another witticism – one that Wilde, Wodehouse or Voltaire would be proud of: “Next time, I’ll deflate all your balls.” From the standpoint of Statham’s career it was a landmark, with the great Sylvester Stallone hand picking him as a successor, with the kind of paternal blessing that only Stallone could give – one made of sweat and bullets. There’s a genuine rapport between the two of them throughout The Expendables, provided one of the film’s finest components.

Blitz (2011)

“A word of advice, girls. If you’re picking the wrong fight… at least pick the right weapon.”

This movie finally put Statham back in England again after doing only American action movies for so long. This was more of a brutal crime thriller than a straight up action film though. But Statham is great at those as well. Despite Statham’s lessons on how to be a great cop delivered throughout the film, there’s one life lesson to be gleaned from Blitz that can happily be applied to everyday life and one that endless bad guys never heed: don’t f*ck with Jason Statham.

SAFE (2012)

“Trees ‘n’ shit.”

Here, Statham stars as a hardboiled ex-cop who also happens to be a cage fighter who also happens to anger a Russian mob boss… and whose ruined life seems destined to end in vagrancy and suicide until he unwittingly crosses paths with yet another ruthless gangster. But set aside the eye-rolling elements of the plot and you’re left with a serviceable action thriller elevated by its star, who issues a few reminders of why he’s one of the more highly regarded action heroes working — even if there aren’t quite enough to make the end result a true critical hit. Safe’s greatest asset is its humour, as the dialogue provides a string of pithy one liners that really do make the best of Statham’s deadpan delivery.

Redemption (2013)

“I hurt people. I’m lethal. I drink to weaken the machine they made.”

The main character of Jones fits more of an anti-hero role, as he struggles to fit in to normal society while trying to stay on the right path and gives Jason Statham a chance to finally show a wounded vulnerability that’s not normally at the heart of his characters. The movie is surprising in many ways, with surreal imagery punctuating the visual aesthetic, which also includes some of the most striking depictions of the neon lit streets of London yet. In the movie Statham plays a homeless veteran who’s given an accidental opportunity at a second chance, when circumstances lead him to an unoccupied flat and the tools needed to assume a different, more fortunate life.

FURIOUS 7 (2015)

“You don’t know me, but you’re about to.”

Statham is given quite a range of emotions to express, as well as a guiding voiceover and fairs a lot better than you’d expect, but it’s the ever excellent Mark Strong who steals the film. The only slight glitch in casting Statham as a total bastard, is that a love of his work can have the inadvertent side effect of making you root for him instead of our trusty heroes. It’s a testament to him though that he’ll live to fight and maim another day, but it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to side-switch like so many of the others as he’s a full blown killer.

SPY (2015)

Statham routinely steals the show in Spy – never more so than in this unforgettable scene, in which he delivers increasingly bold claims with a deadpan scowl. “I’ve swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer.” From any other actor, this might have sounded far-fetched. All manner of wacky shenanigans ensue, including a number of double-crosses and faked deaths, and the end result is one of the more effortlessly entertaining — not to mention funny — espionage adventures in recent memory.

Wild Card (2015)

“I’ve been knocked down, blown up, lied to, shit on, and shot at. So nothing surprises me much anymore, except the things that people do to each other… “

Wild Card is far from the conventional movie that seemed inevitable when the ‘remake’ was announced, as the trailer promised a certain amount of familiar action antics, with a little gambling on the side. The film that actually surfaced is more of a Dante-esque trip through one man’s addiction that traps his in a place surrounded by colourful bad guys and the pervading sense that he’ll never escape his own personal hell.

That’s all folks!

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