The 10 best Jason Statham movies
From Snatch to The Meg, we present you with a comprehensive list of the Brit butt-kicker’s greatest films.
Jason Statham took an interesting route to becoming an action superstar. Growing up in England, Statham was a competitive diver for many years, participating on Britain’s National Swimming Squad for 12 years and competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games, a pseudo-Olympics for British countries and territories.
That, plus his career in modeling and music videos, accounts for the surprising amount of grace he brings to his roles despite playing a rogue’s gallery of thieves, toughs, and traitors over the years. In compiling his best movies, we didn’t have room for everything, so honorable mention goes out to some ace supporting roles in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Expendables 2, and The Italian Job, and an interesting turn to drama in the quiet Redemption.
Now let’s get into the good stuff: Read on to see our list of the 10 best Jason Statham movies.
The Meg (2018)
Statham puts his aquatic acumen to good use in this high-gloss creature feature about a giant shark that escapes from a deep-sea trench. It’s a classic gruff hero role for Statham, but he breaks it up by showcasing some impressive diving techniques as he battles the titular beast. Plus, how can you argue with our guy going one-on-one against an ancient great white?
Rescued from development hell after more than 20 years, Statham and a global-friendly cast that included Li Bingbing, Cliff Curtis, and Rainn Wilson helped The Meg gross more than $500 million at the box office, setting the stage for the impending 2023 sequel.
Available on: Amazon, Apple TV
The Fate of the Furious (2017)
After stealing the show as villain Deckard Shaw in Furious 7, Statham was invited back for the next installment, bringing his signature intensity and a touch of menace to the increasingly sterile franchise. And while it was difficult for many fans to swallow Shaw as part of the family (justice for Han!), he’s been a welcome addition.
Statham’s light touch was on full display during The Fate of the Furious‘ best scene, a Busby Berkeley-inspired set piece on an airplane in which Shaw must fight off goons while also keeping Dominic Toretto’s newborn baby safe from harm. Statham proved to be so popular, he soon earned the spin-off film Hobbs & Shaw alongside The Rock.
Available on: Amazon
The Mechanic (2011)
The elite assassin subgenre is one of our favorites, and this lean thriller (a remake of the 1972 film) in which a hired gun makes his hits look like accidents is a perfect fit for Statham’s talents. Paired up with hothead trainee Ben Foster, Statham radiates the cool this kind of character must exhibit.
Sure, you can see most of the plot twists coming, but there’s no denying that it’s a fun ride with good supporting work from Foster, Donald Sutherland, and Tony Goldwyn. This was a surprise hit; however, the 2016 sequel Mechanic: Resurrection isn’t up to par.
Available on: Amazon, Pluto
You know how good you must be to steal the show from a megastar like Brad Pitt doing an inscrutable accent? Well, Statham does just that in Snatch, Guy Ritchie’s ultra-British crime caper, filled with an array of colorful gangsters and an overall vibe that feels a lot like Lock, Stock, only with a little more wattage.
Statham plays Turkish, a small-time boxing promoter who gets on the wrong side of a big-time crime boss after a fight goes wrong. From there, Turkish must navigate a world of double-crosses, diamonds, and dangerous men. Instead of beating the crap out of everyone, Turkish uses his wits to survive, and Statham’s wry narration brings us along on the wild ride.
Available on: Netflix
On paper, it doesn’t seem as if a Statham-Jennifer Lopez pairing would work, especially in a hard-boiled film noir. But one of the charms of this adaptation of the Donald Westlake long-running book character (previously done in Point Blank and Payback) is the interplay between Statham’s crafty thief and Lopez’s in-over-her-head real estate agent/co-conspirator.
Yeah, Parker is the kind of character Statham can do in his sleep, but under the stylish direction of Taylor Hackford, the movie is filled with great supporting characters, a bright and sunny vibe rarely found in crime flicks, and some laughs amid the shootouts. Plus, you get the great visual of Stath in a Stetson, attempting a Southern accent.
Available on: Tubi
Wrath of Man (2021)
It took 16 years for Guy Richie and Statham to collaborate again, but their fourth outing together is a crackling, brutal thriller that spares no punches and showcases Ritchie’s talents as a stylist. Playing with time and our perception of Statham, this remake of the 2004 French film Cash Truck was a welcome return to the crime world for both men.
Statham plays H, the mysterious new (and awesomely skilled) driver for an armored truck company. We know everything isn’t as it seems and over the course of the film — split into several interlocking stories — we find out the truth. Statham is pure intensity for most of the film, his rage (or wrath?) barely bubbling under the surface. It’s a dark, nasty flick, and it works.
Available on: Amazon Prime Video
Aside from his baby-rescuing in Fate, Statham doesn’t interact much with kids. But Safe hinges on the bond between his character and young actress Catherine Chan, as he attempts to save her from the Triad, Russian Mafia, and dirty NYC cops. It results in one of Statham’s most tender performances, in between all the beatings, of course.
Statham’s ex-cop/black operative/cage fighter Luke Wright is on the verge of suicide when he sees a young girl being terrorized by goons. He steps in to rescue her, only to discover she’s a math prodigy who has the very long combination to a very valuable safe memorized. The pair then embark on a harrowing adventure with Luke slowly turning into the weirdest father figure ever.
Available on: Amazon
One of the most ingenious action films of the 2000s puts Statham in the role of Chev Chelios, a British hitman who has been poisoned and must keep his adrenaline at peak levels to stay alive long enough to find out who wants to kill him. This sets the stage for all sorts of depravity, from brawls with gangsters, wild driving, doing every drug imaginable, and having public sex with his girlfriend (Amy Smart).
Crank has often been compared to a live-action cartoon, and Brian Taylor’s and Mark Neveldine’s kinetic directing style, combined with Statham’s manic energy, gives the film a frenetic pace from the opening scene. Chev Chelios came back for Crank: High Voltage, but that sequel was a little too extra for our taste.
Available on: Hulu
Transporter 2 (2005)
Some might argue that Chev Chelios is Statham’s signature part, but for us, it’s Frank Martin, the driver with three rules that he never breaks… at least until the first film. While The Transporter is a fun ride, and you can’t beat the motor oil fight, the sequel is where Statham fully embodies the role.
For 80 tight minutes, Statham does some driving that would make the Fast and Furious gang blush, beats up an array of Eurotrash bad guys, defeats the top henchwoman with a wine rack, makes several awful/awesome puns, and still looks cool in his Transporter-approved suit. Oh, and did you know that Statham’s cameo in Collateral is rumored to be Frank Martin?
Available on: HBO Max
Statham does… comedy? Our man of action completely pivots in this Melissa McCarthy vehicle, sending up the brusque man of action to great effect in this hilarious film. As CIA agent Rick Ford, Statham bellows and blusters his way through every scene he’s in, stealing the film right out from the reliably funny McCarthy. It’s a not-so-subtle jab at his usual roles that works perfectly because Statham sells it with a straight face.
Ford’s continued insistence that the CIA has a Face/Off machine is one of the Spy‘s best bits, and his other off-the-wall claims make this character so delusional, you can’t help but enjoy it. It’s one of the great surprise performances of the last 10 years and proves that Statham can do a lot more than punch people in the face (although he does that very well).