More like “United Stathes of America”
If I find a film on a streaming service whose title, poster, and description somehow imply it will feature explosions, good martial arts, and bad dialogue, I will 100 percent watch until at least the third fight scene. This means I’ve seen a lot of Jason Statham movies. I have seen Crank, in which Jason Statham must keep his adrenaline cranked to a very high level or he will die. I have seen The Transporter, in which Jason Statham must shoot everyone who does not want him to transport things. I have seen Safe, in which Jason Statham, an ex-NYC cop with a half-British accent, must shoot gangsters in order to keep a child safe. I have seen Crank 2: High Voltage, in which Jason Statham has an electric heart that he must keep cranked 2 an extremely high voltage. I have seen Homefront, in which Jason Statham, an ex-DEA agent with a full British accent, must protect his home(front) from a psychotic meth dealer. All Jason Statham movies are the same, and they are all perfect.
However, Jason Statham movies are usually only perfect because Jason Statham is in them. Generally, they are poorly written and about as artful as the word “fuck” (every Jason Statham character’s favorite word) drawn in crayon. Still, I continue to watch Jason Statham movies, because he is in them. When you have an action movie with a relatively low budget, you tend to lean more on the star’s physical abilities, of which Statham has many. Before he was an actor, he was a diver, martial artist, and petty criminal who sold knockoff watches on the street, a range of experiences that give him the exact mix of physical ability, grace, and sneakiness a person needs to be a good action star. And because Jason Statham makes approximately one million movies every year, he has, on paper, become one of the most bankable stars in Western film, to the point that Manchester University Press will be publishing a book of essays by academics analyzing his success.
But after years of toiling in the B-Movie badlands and the occasional A-List ensemble flick, Jason Statham is getting his due. This fall he will be starring opposite Rainn Wilson and a big-ass shark in The Meg. In my brain, I know that most of The Meg’s $150 million budget probably went towards making the big shark look real, but in my heart, I believe that it all went to Jason Statham. Additionally, Statham and The Rock, with whom he grunts in the Fast and Furious franchise, will soon be starring in a spinoff film based on their Fast characters. It was recently announced that David Leitch, a former stunt coordinator who directed Atomic Blonde and co-directed John Wick, will be directing the thing, which means the entire movie will probably be a 90-minute version of this:
To be clear, these new Jason Statham movies will not be better than his old ones — after all, part of the fun of his older movies was that their directors were forced to sheme up scenarios in which Jason Statham had to do cool stuff like kick people and do flips and shit, while movies with big budgets tend to put their stars in front of cool stuff like explosions and helicopters and giant sharks. There is a difference. But still, it is nice to know that people love Jason Statham so much that one day his best movie might be an actual movie instead of this YouTube supercut of his best fight scenes.