A look at the fan-favorite action star’s best performances.
English actor, Jason Statham was born in 1967. He is known for action-thriller movies thanks to the recreational martial arts and kickboxing background he has from his childhood. He became well known after being cast in Guy Ritchie’s films in 1998 and 2000. With the commercial success of both films, Statham starred in the Transporter trilogy that led to more successful jobs, making him into an action hero and a household name.
6 Cellular (2004)
The 2004 crime-thriller Cellular follows the story of a schoolteacher, played by Kim Basinger, who is kidnapped by an unrelenting criminal Ethan (Statham), and uses a broken phone to call for help; however, instead of reaching 911, she gets the cellphone of a college student named Ryan, played by Chris Evans. In order to figure out where she is and how to save her, Ryan must scramble to keep the phone call going, without Ethan finding out.
While the film was given mixed and very average reviews, the story was an exciting adventure that had very real stakes and dire consequences. Statham did an amazing job showing a cold-blooded killer with the cool demeanor that he’s known for. He was the best choice for the villain, and contrasted with the fast pace of the film.
5 The Expendables (2010)
The 2010 action film The Expendables is the first installment in the franchise that brought together many of the big action hero names. Barney Ross (Silvester Stallone), and his motley crew of mercenaries are hired to overthrow a dictatorship. When the mission is caught up in a political ploy, the group must take on everything in order to save innocent lives under the traitorous dictator, and those who keep him in power. The film is a powerhouse action movie, with firefights, explosions, and great humor. When released, the film broke the typical mold in demographics and independent films.
Statham’s character, Lee Christmas, is a blades expert with some drama in his personal life. He was a character that had to be a tough killer-for-hire, while still remaining a relatable and likable person that deserves to be with the love of his life. Statham is a great actor to maintain that balance with some added cheeky humor.
4 Snatch (2000)
In the 2000 Guy Ritchie film Snatch, an illegal boxing promoter, Turkish (Statham), is in over his head when a big-time gangster wants him to rig a fight with a rookie fighter. When the fighter Mickey, played by Brad Pitt, doesn’t throw the fight and knocks out his opponent, the gangster demands a rematch on the condition that the fighter had better lose or else Turkish will be killed. Meanwhile, a jewel thief, played by Benicio Del Toro, comes to place a bet while multiple people track him down for the diamond he recently stole.
The ensemble film was largely successful and is still known as a cult classic. The mix of a heist storyline and the rush to fix things with a mob boss made for an interesting adventure. Statham’s performance was great, as it followed along the same lines as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels that came two years earlier. It had to be sarcastic, matter-of-fact humor in delivery, while reacting to the ridiculous and hilarious situations going on around him.
3 Hobbs and Shaw (2019)
The 2019 spin-off film of the Fast and Furious franchise, Hobbs and Shaw, follows the unlikely pair that must work together to stop a cybernetic-advanced soldier. Not only must they fuse their wildly different personalities together to form a cohesive team; they must also work alongside their wildly different families as well to stop the indestructible soldier from destroying humanity.
The film brought together two of the most interesting side characters from the franchise together, giving audiences the best unlikely friends story. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham had amazing chemistry together, which elevated both of their performances. Statham has played many deadly characters, but Shaw is a character that needed to be stiff and pretentious, while still having the vigor to back it up. Statham’s portrayal was perfect and delighted audiences as part of the mismatched duo.
2 Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
The 1998 dark humor crime film Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels follows a group of longtime friends that buy into a rigged, high-stakes card game. When they end up owing $500,000 pounds to the local crime boss, they decide to rob their neighbors after they had just robbed some drug dealers. The friends find themselves way in over their heads, as more criminal events take place in a domino effect.
Referred to as the best British crime film, it was met with good reviews. Some were critical of Guy Ritchie’s visual storytelling style, but the cast performed the dark comedy with such certainty and tenacity that it made the film great. Statham was perfectly at home in dry British humor with his matter-of-fact deliveries.
1 Homefront (2013)
The 2013 action-thriller Homefront follows former DEA agent Phil Broker (Statham), as he moves into a quiet town on the bayou with his daughter. When the town’s resident sociopath and drug lord, played by James Franco, puts Broker and his daughter in the line of fire, Broker must defend his home and daughter with all the skills he tried to put behind him.
While this role is similar to a few of Statham’s other roles, he personified the “everyman’s” will to stand against all threats and defend their home. The level-headed thoughts behind the defense were a great contrast against the psychotic attacker. Statham’s performance was so relatable in the sense that he showed that no one wants bloodshed and violence; however, there are times it becomes necessary.