Jason Statham is one of the greatest action performers of the modern day, and it seems like nothing is impossible when he’s on screen. Whether it be hunting down a megalodon or participating in a death race, Statham is an action superstar. Statham got his start in the movie business with 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The Guy Ritchie movie brought Statham to the limelight and marked one of many collaborations between Ritchie and the actor. Now, 25 years after Lock, Stock and Two Smoking BarrelsStatham is a household name.
Many of Statham’s movies are big, bold, and wild action flicks that, while maybe not the Citizen Kane of action films, are a helluva good time. The actor has a certain skill at portraying hard-shelled action heroes that are capable of superhuman feats. He’s a tough guy, and his most successful performances are those that cash in on his over-the-top action-hero bravado. Statham is also an underrated comic, with many of his roles playing off the hilariously insane scenarios his characters tend to find themselves in.
In celebration of this weekend’s release of Meg 2: The Trenchlet’s look back at the seven best Jason Statham action movies.
7. The Fate of the Furious (2017)
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Ever since Furious 7 introduced Deckard Shaw into the Fast and Furious universe, the character has been a staple — thanks in large part to Statham’s performance. Deckard, the big-bad brother of Fast & Furious 6‘s antagonist Owen Shaw, is a badass one-man army. The character has even had a character arc of his own, turning from the menacing villain of Furious 7 to the more anti-hero character fans know from The Fate of the Furious and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
While Hobbs & Shaw sees Statham with his biggest role within the Fast universe, his best moments stem from 2017’s The Fate of the Furious. The movie, which sees Dom and his crew facing off against Charlize Theron’s cyber-terrorist named Cipher, is undoubtedly flawed. However, Statham shines. The scene in which he escapes from the prison alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the best action scenes in the franchise, and the airplane rescue scene is another outstanding Deckard sequence.
6. The Expendables 2 (2010)
The Expendables franchise asks: What if we got together every big-muscled action hero and smashed them into the same movie? From Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Jean-Claude Van Damme, The Expendables is like a forged-in-fire love letter to 1980’s classic action movies. While the films themselves may not be glimmering achievements in cinema, the franchise never fails to produce some baffling action from every corner of the world.
The best movie in the franchise came in 2010 with The Expendables 2which sees Statham in some spectacular action sequences. The film is a blast, a hyper-violent shoot-em-up that serves well as an old-school action flick. These movies wouldn’t work without Statham’s Lee Christmas. Hopefully, September’s Expend4bles can see Statham in full form once again.
5. The Me (2018)
The Me is a cheesy, fun romp of the most absurd degree. When a thought-to-be-extinct creature attacks a deep-sea submersible, only one man can save the day: Statham’s Jonas Taylor. The rescue diver is tasked with saving the crew — and the ocean itself — from the megalodon, a massive prehistoric shark.
The Me is an action movie, a monster movie, and a self-parodying comedy all at once. It knows that it’s unbelievable and wild, but it doesn’t really care. It’s just trying to have some fun, and fun it sure is. The Me sees Statham bring an action-hero performance perfectly suitable to his best talents. He’s over-the-top, but he knows it’s over-the-top. It’s winking at the audience; his subtle comedy is perfectly felt here. While The Me assuredly isn’t Jawsit’s a perfectly fun killer shark movie that utilizes Statham — and his real-life diving experience — to full effect.
4. Wrath of Man (2021)
Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham are a perfect duo, and some of each artist’s best work comes from when they collaborate. With Wrath of Manthat maxim holds true. This gritty crime thriller follows Statham as H, a cold and mysterious man who recently began working as a security guard for an armored cash transportation company. When there’s an attempted robbery of one of the trucks, H reveals that he’s a bit more than a traditional security guard.
Wrath of Man holds all of Ritchie’s characteristic flairs, and it well utilizes Statham’s brooding and mysterious nature. The English actor goes full-on marksman in the movie, showcasing a level of action bravado that only a few actors could capture. Statham is key to the entire movie working. It’s integral that audiences believe his performance as the mysteriously deadly H, and Statham doesn’t fail to deliver.
3. Snatch (2000)
Snatch sees one of Hollywood’s biggest actors, Brad Pitt, in its lead role, yet it’s Jason Statham that steals the show. This gritty, darkly comedic crime caper is a fan-favorite thanks to its kinetic filmmaking and barrels of laughs. Yet another collaboration with director Guy Ritchie, the film brings in one of Statham’s best performances — and it’s only his second time acting.
Ritchie is a unique filmmaker, and Snatch is a unique film. It’s wildly entertaining from the get-go, featuring a wonderful ensemble cast of wild characters. Snatch is highly stylistic by design, with Ritchie pulling out all the stops in his sophomore outing. Set in Britain’s seedy underworld, the movie is a wonderful crime caper full of dark laughs. As one of Statham’s earliest hits, Snatch was one of the first signs of the gigantic movie star to come.
2. Spy (2015)
Spy isn’t a traditional Jason Statham movie — but that’s why it works so well. The 2015 action comedy follows Melissa McCarthy, a CIA analyst who is thrust into the field when her partner is assassinated. It’s directed by Paul Feig, who’s well known for his work on movies like Bridesmaids and The Heat. While Spy is really a vehicle for Melissa McCarthy to go wild, the use of Statham is flawless; he eats up every minute he has on screen.
Statham plays on his traditional character archetype of a macho yet suave action hero to create a hilarious and effective parody of himself. As secret agent Richard Ford, Statham is able to dive wholeheartedly into comedy. McCarthy and Statham play off of each other hilariously, and Statham’s role as a secret agent extraordinaire is perfectly cast. By utilizing Statham in the role, both Feig and the actor himself can play off of his known reputation as an actor. It’s a perfect choice for a silly, smart, and uplifting movie.
1. Crank (2006)
Jason Statham is one of the absolute kings of outrageous action, and Crank is the best example of that enormity to date. The 2006 movie has a simple premise: a hit man named Chev Chelios has been poisoned and only has one hour to live unless he keeps his adrenaline high at all times. The plot isn’t really the point of Crankthough. It’s all about Jason Statham, wild action, and Jason Statham doing wild action.
Crank is a high-octane rush of adrenaline in the most literalized fashion, a mash-up of intensity and depravity. The movie definitely isn’t for everyone, but anyone who seeks neigh-assaultive action filmmaking has found their Holy Grail with Crank. It’s immensely irreverent and, at times, plain stupid — but that’s what makes it great. It’s a frenetic B-movie with a dubious moral compass, a cult classic that finds delight in its lunacy.
Crank may be insane, but so is Jason Statham. And we’re all better off for it.