The 7 Best Jason Statham Movies
Jason Statham is an action star in the classic, campy sense that many of us love. The roles he takes on tend to be heightened—almost superhuman—characterizations of mercenaries or otherwise skilled fighters, drivers and/or killers. The action film franchises he has played a role in include The Transporter, Crank, Fast & Furious and The Expendables. The last is extremely appropriate, as it is a sort of meta-humor gag in which most of the cast are former and present action stars. Statham follows a long line of action entertainers which include Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke and Steven “Stone Cold Steve” Austin—all of whom have been in one or more of The Expendables films. Statham is incredibly talented, often doing many of his own stunts—especially with regards to operating motor vehicles. Here are his seven best films to date.
Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (collectively known as Neveldine/Taylor)’s directorial debut Crank is as campy and exciting as contemporary action films get. Statham plays Chev Chelios, a highly-skilled mob hit man. One day, his boss Don Carlito (Carlos Sanz) conspires with Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), another mercenary to get Chev out of the picture. To do so, Ricky injects him with a poison that will slow his heart rate until it stops beating at all. Chev’s only hope to stay alive is to keep his adrenaline pumping through any manner he can come up with. With the help of his girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart) and a black market doctor named Miles (Dwight Yoakam), Chev works toward taking down the men who wronged him.
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
The end of Crank sees—spoiler alert—protagonist Chev Chelios fall out of a helicopter. After his fall, he is scooped up by a team of Chinese mob doctors. He wakes up months later to find his heart has been replaced with an artificial contraption that requires frequent jolts of energy. His quest is similar to that of the previous film, as Chev—with the help of his allies from Crank—searches the city of Los Angeles to get his actual heart back before it’s too late.
Collateral is proof-positive to why Michael Mann continues to be a prominent voice in neo-noir after decades in the industry. A taxi driver named Max is nearing the end of his shift when a calm, collected man with graying hair named Vincent (Tom Cruise) pays him several hundred dollars to take a few more stops. Though he seems like a harmless fare, Max comes to realize that Vincent is a deadly hitman and he may not make it out of this evening alive, let alone make it to his dream of running his own limo service. Statham has a cameo as a mysterious man at the airport with whom Vincent seems to be acquainted.
Furious 7 (2015)
Furious 7 is, of course, the seventh entry to the campy and exciting Fast & Furious franchise. The film sees the entrance of Statham’s character, Deckard Shaw. Deckard’s brother Owen (Luke Evans) antagonized Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and their “family” in the previous film. Owen sustained many injuries and, as a result now lies in a hospital in a vegetative state. Now is Deckard’s time to shine, as he vows revenge for what they did to his brother—and answers the confusing chronology of Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift in the process.
Fate of the Furious (2017)
In the Fast & Furious’ eighth iteration, Fate of the Furious, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) double-crosses his entire “family” for reasons unknown. As a result of being left in the lurch, Federal Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) finds himself incarcerated. His cell is across from that of an old enemy, Statham’s Deckard Shaw. Though a prison riot breaks out and the two look to settle the score, their fight is cut short when the mysterious Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) arrives. At his behest, the two of them must work together with the rest of Dom’s former team to bring him in.
The Bank Job (2008)
The titular bank job in The Bank Job refers to the real-life Baker Street robbery of 1971, though it is set in modern-day London. Statham plays Terry Leather, a former petty thief who has tried to put his past behind him. That is, until the financial struggle of his life becomes too much to bear, and an ex-girlfriend (Saffron Burrows) brings him an offer he can’t refuse: rob a bank, get rewarded. He assembles a team to help him pull off said robbery, but the initially cut-and-dry premise seems to fall apart. It appears Terry may be in over his head on this one. It is a thoroughly enjoyable heist film for those who are into that sort of thing.
The Transporter (2002)
In Luc Besson’s action trilogy, Jason Statham is the titular “Transporter,” Frank Martin. He is a highly-skilled driver who has three rules: no changing the deal, no names, and no opening the package. These rules turn out to be very valuable, because when he breaks the third, his world is turned upside down. He opens a package to find a human being inside, a woman who is bound and gagged (Shu Qi). Things snowball out of control as she attempts escape and makes him more conspicuous than he has ever been. It is a tense, exciting thriller—but not without a sense of humor.