The Stath does comedy!?!

Looks like the Hollywood machine is finally coming to realise what Jason Statham can bring to the party. While we’ve already had the delights of (small budgeted yet nicely formed) Wild Card, there’s the small matter of the latest installment in the Fast & Furious franchise to be seen. This is definitely not a small budget affair and will quite possibly be the biggest grossing film to date for The Stath. This additional worldwide exposure can be nothing but a good thing for our favourite British action hero.

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And if that were not enough, we also have Paul Feig’s next offering – Spy – to look forward to. The latest comedy from the filmmaker of Bridesmaids and Heat will once again star his muse Melissa McCarthy, together with fellow Bridesmaids alumna Rose Byrne, as well as Jude Law and our Jason. And to whet your appetite here’s a couple of posters and the latest trailer.

Fast & Furious 7 will be released this Friday, 3rd April, while we’ll have to wait until 5th June here in the UK to catch Spy.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Wild Card – Gratifying

Wild Card quad

There’s no question with any of Jason Statham‘s films that you don’t want to mess with him! (Generally) death and (sometimes) destruction follow in his wake, usually in the name of righteous justice. Of course, as I’ve mentioned previously, I haven’t seen all his films and my attempts to watch one a week have fallen by the wayside somewhat of late; so it may well be that tucked into the canon of work The Stath has undertaken over the past 17 years there are one or two “bad guy” roles. It certainly looks like his feet are in the “Antagonist” camp when viewing the trailers for the upcoming (Fast) Furious 7.

That being said, our Protagonist in his latest offering, Wild Card, is pretty standard fayre – a likeable enough fellow with a sketchy “Special Forces” background and a penchant for dispatching anyone that gets in his way with anything other than a firearm; and that makes for some very interesting altercations. Originally entitled Heat and made as a vehicle for Burt Reynolds back in 1986, this is a direct remake from the original script by William Goldman. Yes, that William Goldman. The one that wrote All the President’s Men and Marathon Man and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and I could go on!

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That’s gonna smart in the morning!

Unfortunately, Wild Card isn’t at that kind of level, but it is an interesting film, brought to us by the ever-so-capable direction of Simon West. Yes, that Simon West. The guy that brought us Con Air and The Expendables 2 and Lara Croft (sorry?!?) and I couldn’t go on! Mr West does have previous with the almighty Stath, directing yet another remake, The Mechanic, back in 2011 (which I still haven’t seen!) so he knows how the frame our eponymous hero. So all the boxes are checked.

  1. Do a remake – check
  2. Use the original script to keep costs down. If it’s been written by someone good, all the better – check
  3. Get a director I’ve worked with previously so he knows what I want – check
  4. Stand back and let me do my thing – check
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Death from above!

Wild Card isn’t going to break any box office records, but like I’ve said before, The Stath does exactly what he says on the tin! You know what you’re going to get and generally speaking you’re not going to be let down. I have to say, I’ve seen some bigger budget movies of late >cough< Jupiter Ascending >cough< with far bigger promotional budgets that have been downright rank. Wild Card is 92 minutes of entertainment and 92 minutes you won’t mind spending with the world’s favourite British action hero. Go see it. You’ll enjoy it. And if you don’t, I’ll send Nick Wild round to sort you out!

Thank you for reading 🙂

A Jason Statham film a week #4

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So today we have Mr. Statham’s 2013 film Hummingbird or, for those of you “across the pond”, Redemption. IMDb has this currently (13th January 2015) rated at 6.2 from 41,332 users which is somewhat disappointing. It’s definitely better than Blitz which is also rated at 6.2 from 57,860 users and just as good as Homefront which sits at 6.5 from 64,622 lovely users. I know I’m splitting hairs, but hey, I don’t really care.

Hummingbird (I’ll be referring to it by its UK title) was a pleasant surprise for me. I hadn’t seen it before, but do remember when it was released, with the internet “word” being about “the one that Jason Statham actually acts in.” It’s fair to say the action/ violence quota is a little on the low side for a film starring The Stath, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s certainly got a great pedigree, having been written and directed by Steven Knight and if you think you’ve heard that name before you’d be right. Mr. Knight also wrote and directed the excellent Locke in 2014 with Tom Hardy.

I don’t really want to go into the whys and wherefores of Hummingbird. It’s got a strong narrative and I don’t want to spoil anything for potential viewers. The use of side streets and back alleys in central London, a lot of it shot at night, lend a sense of disconnect from the daily routines played out around us. These are some of the sights and sounds the homeless of our great city are used to; it feels like an attempt to show us their world, to draw us in. Mr. Statham’s character never forgets where he has come from at this stage in his life. I think it’s quite sensitively handled and I applaud the production for that. But let’s be clear; this isn’t a film about the homeless, I just think that part of it has been well tackled.

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Jason Statham as Joseph Smith

Hummingbird is not your typical Jason Statham film – that is to say, it isn’t your typical Stath film when considering his reputation. Some may suggest it’s a bit of a stretch for him, but I would disagree. Hummingbird is an opportunity for Mr. Statham to flex his acting muscles rather than to literally flex his muscles. An opportunity that doesn’t seem to have been afforded our favourite action hero thus far. In all fairness, Hummingbird was only released about 18 months ago, so here’s hoping these are the kind of roles The Stath is aiming to play more of. This film does not deserve it’s lowly 6.2 rating on IMDb. Check it out for yourself. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you for reading 🙂

A Jason Statham film a week #3

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Do you think filmmakers are contractually obliged to demonstrate The Stath’s destructive powers within the first 5 to 10 minutes of any film he stars in? I’d like to think so. And as I’ve previously written, it would, so far, seem to be a totally justified form of violence. But I am only two films into his body of work! We’re beyond the 2014 festive season and I’m now back on point when it comes to witnessing the awesomeness of Jason Statham on a weekly basis. It’s a dirty job…blah, blah, blah!

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Jason Statham as Brant

Pre-Crimbo I had the pleasure of watching Blitz (2011) on Netflix but have only now found the time to commit my thoughts to the keyboard. Yes, it does open with an explosion of violence from our titular “hero” as three yoofs attempt to break into his car. They are dispatched with aplomb, our blood-pumping testosterone levels are pushed through the roof and The Stath carries on. But, we then find out who his character is and realise it’s not all going to be bone-crunching chop-sockey “all-is-right-with-the-world-cos-The-Stath-is-in-charge”. This time he’s playing “Angry“. He has to work within the confines of “the System“, but he’s clearly a donkey-on-the-edge and is prepared to blur the boundaries. Interesting. Well, it isn’t that interesting really, conforming to most stereotypes with its cast of characters and plodding along for some time. When it does become interesting is in the third act and that was a pleasant surprise. Up to that point I was pretty much just watching Blitz to write a review, but life got in the way and I had to pause my viewing for around an hour before returning. And on continuing my experience, it picked up, but I don’t really know why. Taking a break clearly helped!

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Aidan Gillen as Weiss

When you look at the cast, it’s pretty impressive. Aside from The Stath, Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones‘ Littlefinger) is the stand out performer and clearly relishes the role. Paddy Considine (yes, I know!) is The Stath’s homosexual Commanding Officer and his performance plainly improves as the film progresses. Perhaps The Stath took him back to his trailer during filming and gave him a “little pep talk“. We also have David Morrissey playing a tabloid hack, but I thought he was underused and didn’t really bring anything to the party. So, all-in-all, Blitz is a solid piece of work. I’m glad I watched it.

Thank you for reading 🙂

A Jason Statham film a week #2

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Just so you know, I’m viewing these films in no particular order other than what takes my fancy at the time. That being said, the films that garner sequels will be viewed one after the other. Hopefully that will give us a sense of where The Stath’s character is going throughout the narrative journey – that is, of course, if there such a thing, rather than assuming the decision to make a sequel was based purely on how well the preceding film did at the box office and with Blu-ray/ DVD sales (I say this with tongue firmly placed in cheek!).

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So, on to an offering from 2013 – Homefront. When I saw the trailer for this film my interest was piqued with the appearance of James Franco. Here’s an actor with some gravitas – certainly more well know and with a perceived better box office draw than The Stath – who is happy to play second fiddle to (currently) “the world’s greatest (mainly straight to DVD/Blu-ray) action hero“. Interesting. I’m not going to attempt to analyse any kind of formula when it comes to a Jason Statham film; suffice to say it does what it says on the tin – and I think I’ll be using that phrase a lot over the next few weeks and months. We’re certainly not disappointed. Save for some extremely dodgy looking hairpiece in the opening sequence, there’s gun-play and violence aplenty throughout it’s 100 minute run time. There is a sense of justifiable violence to The Stath’s encounters with his many foe and occasions where you definitely want to shout “YEAH!” at the screen as he “justifiably” mashes another man’s face and/or body – “They had it comin’ to ’em!” “Go get ’em Jase!” An unadulterated feeling of righteousness is unleashed every time we see our eponymous hero give back more than he got as these feckless fools try to intimidate him. And so it goes on, a series of escalating encounters all brought about because the school playground bully got what was coming to him.

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Recollecting The Stath’s films I have already seen, working under my current preconception of what to expect and having now viewed Homefront, I have to say you pretty much know what you’re going to get with The Stath. And that’s not a bad thing. My slight concern with this particular film is a personal bug-bear. I really don’t like to see swearing in front of children and there’s plenty of that going on. It’s disappointing but there you go. Such is modern society. Apart from that, The Stath yet again delivers and more power to him for that! Also, any film with Clancy Brown in it is OK by me.

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Clancy Brown and The Stath!

 

While we’re on the subject, here’s a bonus poster for all you Stath fans. Released yesterday, it’s really an announcement poster for the 2016 sequel to the 2011 remake of the Charles Bronson 1972 original. I know, it’s a bit convoluted but it had to be said. (Un) surprisingly, I haven’t yet seen The Mechanic, but with this announcement I’ll probably watch that one next. And isn’t that exactly what the film’s producers want to hear from any fan? “We don’t really need to know that a Jason Statham sequel is coming out in around 18 months time, but a little peak in sales of the first one will do no harm.”

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And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a new poster for Wild Card, another remake with The Stath at the helm – that’s acting helm not directing helm. Interestingly, they’re even using the same William Goldman (yes THAT William Goldman) script this time – so either it’s set in the same time period as the original or there’s been a bit of a polish to bring it into the 21st Century. Judging from the trailer, I’m going for the former. Either way, saves on script developement fees.

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I hope you enjoyed all things Statham and thank you for reading 🙂

A Jason Statham film a week #1

Mean Machine

In all fairness, one could consider this a “Soft Launch” to last week’s proposal of viewing The Stath’s major bodies of work. It may also be stretching the bounds of decency to describe this as a “major body of work”, but I viewed it nonetheless. The 2001 remake of Burt Reynolds‘ 1974 film of the same name, Mean Machine was a vehicle for ex-professional footballer (soccer to those lovely readers in the US) Vinnie Jones. To describe the comparatively small role inhabited by Mr. Statham as eccentric would be a somewhat mild description of the character known as “Monk”. One supposes that to make his behaviour unhinged would be to lend his name a comedic edge also.

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No, your eyes do not deceive you. It’s The Stath playing a goalkeeper!!

Even at this early stage in his career – Mean Machine was his 6th feature – our introduction is by way of a set of chiselled abs. And with a body like his, what man wouldn’t be willing to get his shirt off? What with that and a little demonstration of his martial arts skills, we’re definitely playing to his strengths. We also get a chance to hear The Stath “doing” an accent; Scottish to be precise. There’s really not a lot more to say about Mean Machine. Just think Escape to Victory (only worse, if that’s possible) coupled with John Forgeham‘s Noel Coward-esque performance – directly channelled from The Italian Job.

What I find interesting is that Mr. Statham’s and Mr. Jones’ acting careers both started with 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. In the intervening (nearly) 17 years, Mr. Statham has 42 acting credits to his name, while Mr. Jones has made hay while the sun shines with a whopping 85 acting credits. May I be so bold as to suggest that The Stath has been a little more discerning with his work selection…

Thank you for reading 🙂

Jason Statham – he does exactly what it says on the tin!

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Currently sitting at no. 173 in IMDb’s STARmeter chart, the legend that is Jason Statham usurps the likes of Arnie (he’s so big we don’t even need to say his surname), Gerard Butler, Liam Neeson and Tom Hanks! I mention these first 3 as a deliberate comparison – Arnie in his heyday was the go-to action star and in their current guises Messrs. Butler and Neeson have a penchant for the Action genre. As for Mr. Hanks, well, he’s a two-time Oscar winner, but while sitting at no. 199, still can’t get a look in on the popularity stakes compared to The Stath! I know these kinds of charts mean next to nothing in the real world, but it is a good indiction of where these actors sit in the “where have I seen him/ her before?/ what else have they been in?” >clicks IMDb< area of our lives. What’s more, you’ve only got to type in the first 3 letters of his first name for the Mighty One to appear at the top of the aforementioned site’s list of suggestions!

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To give his output of films some kind of comparison, I would look no further than the output of the one and only Chuck Norris, albeit with (perhaps) slighty higher production values. If you haven’t seen the Chuck Norris Facts website, with classic statements like “Chuck Norris doesn’t obey laws…the laws obey him“, then check it out – it’s a whole other world of funny. But substitute Norris for Statham and you too can be wearing a shirt that says “Jason Statham doesn’t flush the toilet, he scares the sh*t out of it“. Not wanting to besmirch the great Mr. Norris, I think it’s fair to suggest that The Stath is just as much an action hero now as Mr. Norris was back in his hey day.

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Why, you may ask, am I giving a Post over to The Stath? Well, there’s two answers to that query. One, the powers-that-be have recently released a trailer for his latest opus. And here it is:

And two, having watched the trailer a couple of times – yes, I am a Jason Statham fan – it got me to thinking. If you’re familiar with The Stath’s canon, you’ll likely agree that the above 100 seconds of trailery goodness ticks all the right boxes when consideration is given to a film starring said action star. Or, it does if you’ve only seen a few of the more well-know ones and while I would call myself a fan, I haven’t seen nearly enough. So, over the coming months I will attempt to view all the films The Stath has starred or co-starred in and proffer my views. Hopefully, it will give me – and by association you, dear reader – a better understanding of where Jason Statham sits in the pantheon of “action movie” actors. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Oh, by the way, I do realise that he starred in an Uwe Boll film too. That’s the one I’m least looking forward to viewing.

Thank you for reading 🙂