I first saw Jason Statham as the The Broadhurst Monk (“apparently he killed 23 men with his bare hands”) that Danny Meehan (Vinnie Jones) recruited as goalkeeper to the con’s football team in Mean Machine. My Brit boss lent me the vcd years back and since then I’ve had an eye out for Jason Statham. He was Multiverse Agent Funsch helping out Jet Li in The One and the narrator Turkish in Snatch where Brad Pitt played an Irish Gypsy boxer.
Not that many serious actors slash action stars out there with receding hairlines (I mean after Bruce Willis who else can you name—Ed Harris, John Malkovich, not physical action stars although they’ve played good and bad soldiers … Sean Connery, yeah but Sean Connery was Sean Connery before he became bald but I’m straying…)
And then I saw Jason Statham in The Transporter.
Driving scenes, action scenes and music that’s right on the nose, and Jason Statham in the middle of it all. Beautiful French seaside scenery, cute dalliance with Qi Shu, amusing repartee with the French police detective. The voice that never shouts, always calm and deadpan, you can almost believe he’s ex-SAS, and here’s where the beauty of it all is. For me, Jason Statham has become Frank Martin the Transporter.
He did a bit of driving again in the Italian Job as Handsome Rob who “got 110 love letters sent to his jail cell from women who saw him on the news” when he “drove all the way from Los Angeles just so he could set the record for longest freeway chase.” He literally ravished the shirt off a cable girl so that Stella (Charlize Theron) could wear it as a disguise to get into Steve’s (Edward Norton) villa.
After that there was a quick as a wink cameo in Collateral as the man in the airport who switched bags with Tom Cruise, and then the bad guy in Cellular with Kim Basinger.
I had two Ayala Cinema passes that I was hoarding for a good movie until Sam and I went to Glorietta to see if there was something we could use the passes for. We decided on Transporter 2. I had been browsing James Berardinelli’s Movie Reviews site where he said Transporter 2 was “more of the same” and while the makers of the movie had no lofty ideals or even wishes to echo Denzel Washington’s death wish in Man on Fire, the movie was one that action film buffs would like.
Where Transporter 1 held back with the conviction that less is more, Transporter 2 follows Kate Gulden’s dictum: “more is more.” More cars on the road, more flying car scenes, more car crashes, more fight scenes with more foes with more props. Where in the first Transporter, Frank Martin does some tricks with a fireman’s axe, in Transporter 2 it’s Lito Lapid meets Jacky Chan, and Frank’s car is slicker than the batmobile and more agile too.
There’s a lot more Jason Statham to look forward to, though. He plays the lead in Guy Ritchie’s Revolver coming out early next year. (Guy Ritchie is to the UK what Quentin Tarantino is to the US and Ritchie’s got his own band of thieves–Statham, Vinnie Jones, Jason Flemyng (Jekyll/Hyde in LXG)–pretty much like Tarantino has Travolta, Willis, Jackson, del Toro et al.) Chaos, Pink Panther, In the Name of the King, and a few others still in production.
In the meantime we have Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch a mouseclick away to keep us from missing Jason Statham too much.