Movie tough guy Jason Statham is either remarkably consistent or just really enjoys playing guys who can break your neck with his steely gaze. Whatever the case, when you pay your money for a Statham flick you know in advance what you’re getting into.
In this weekend’s Safe, the gravelly-voiced action hero digs deep into his bag of tricks to play Luke Wright, Statham Character #2. That’s the “loner with a past who must protect a youthful innocent.” (As opposed to Statham Character #1 in which he plays “a loner with a past who must protect a loved one.”)
Like his other movies Safe is a marketers dream. Here’s a sample ad:
Body Count: 350
Bullet Budget: $1,000,000
Jason Statham’s Steely Glare: Priceless
Recently a scientific poll—OK, I posted a question on facebook—posed this question: What makes Statham movies so popular? Here are some of the comments:
• His Blue Steel stare puts Zoolander to shame!
• His complete lack of facial movement? It’s like if Buster Keaton were an emotionless British killing machine.
• He always manages to kick someone’s butt while being tied to a chair.
• Not since Don Johnson, circa Miami Vice, has an actor managed to maintain a perfect three-day stubble…
His movies are predictable as heck. “You gotta be kidding me!” you’ll be tempted to say at some of the plot twists, if only the movie’s characters didn’t beat you to it. They are cliché-a-thons, but because Statham understands his audience and persona his films are dumb good fun. His über-macho presence is more important than the script. As long as he is in motion, running and leaping, kicking and punching, and giving voice to action movie platitudes in his distinctive English rasp, his pictures work.
Statham has made films like Transporter, Killer Elite, The Mechanic,
over-and-over. Different title, and sometimes with a big name supporting cast—like Robert De Niro and Clive Owen—and sometimes not—Safe co-stars newcomer Catherine Chan—but the story of a tough guy who lives in a world where “everybody knows the rules; there are no rules,” is the common thread.
Statham, however, says he’s open to showing audiences another side of his personality. When a Huffington Post writer asked if he would make a rom com with Reese Witherspoon he said, “of course, I would love to do that. But, my phone is right there and it ain’t ******* ringing.”
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