Meathead Mondays: Jason Statham

everybodaaaaaay

rock yo’ body riiiiight

Backmuscles’ back, ALL RIGHT

No, that doesn’t scan, and frankly I don’t care.  Yes, it has been a while since I’ve typed out an ode to actin and myosin (that is a muscle fiber joke stay with me) but given the recent release of The Meg I figured no better time than now to sing the praises of everyone’s favorite terrifying English dude. I am having difficulty uploading the pictures I chose of his intensely coiled body and face, so this is a text-only post, and if you stop reading now because of it I would not blame you.

That’s right.  This post is about Jason Statham.  You can’t spell “Man” without Jason Statham.  I don’t know what I’m saying.  I just love his bald head and his intense stare and his accent that never changes and his aggressive dedication to playing one character forever because boyyyy howdy will I continue to watch his stuff until the abyss swallows us all.

Origin story

My bb Jason was born in NINETEEN SIXTY-FLIPPING-SEVEN (possibly? he’s reported 1972.  I don’t know, I’m sticking with Wikipedia) which makes him FIFTY-ONE and you can’t spell FINE without “FIFTY-ONE” okay I will STOP but oof, he looks great.  His mom was a dancer and his dad was a street-seller, house-painter, and general odd-job-doer, which means Jay-Jay’s jawline and smolder are what carried him into stardom.  My guy played football with Vinnie Jones because of course he did, but he was most involved in diving and was legitimately on the national team for a dozen years.  He appeared in the Commonwealth Games in 1990 and this is partly why I don’t get as nervous when he does his underwater stunts.

He got spotted by a modeling agency in the mid-90s to do sports modelling and then other places saw the beauty that is his back muscles and were like “YEP” so he did other campaigns for things like Tommy Hilfiger and Levi’s and especially French Connection.  They reported that they liked him because he looked like an everyday guy and not a model but my guess is that he spent an hour-long interview not smiling and then smiled and everyone fell over so they gave him the job.  He also appeared in music videos, because just look at him.  I’d buy the song for sure.

While modelling, he met Guy Ritchie, and got cast in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and the rest is gruff, masculine history.

You’ll know him from

Transporter.  Obviously Transporter. I think I’m saying it correctly: these movies are a Big Mood.  If you haven’t seen these movies, lemme break it down for you.  Statham is Frank Martin, a phenomenal driver slash fly-looking dude, and his one thing is driving packages from one place to the other for money.  He’s got rules (no names given, never open the package) and he never gets caught, and the movies go from there.  He drives *so* well in these things, and they are a wonderful introduction to watching him fight in close quarters.  In the first one, he is hanging off of the bottom of a truck on the highway, and while he was tied to the truck, he’s still hanging off the bottom of a TRUCK on a HIGHWAY.

The action is stylized somewhat, but it is mostly just a really fit guy hitting other things realistically albeit in weird scenarios.  Also, the first movie has a scene in which he uses his shirt as a weapon (plus good) and then goes on to fight a bad guy while sliding around in motor oil (double-plus good) and I just… yeah.  I could write poetry to his lats.  Not that I have.  But I could.  Also the oil was actually molasses syrup which helps the situation okay okay okay I will stop but please watch this movie it is fun and watch the other ones too.

The Expendables.  If you haven’t seen these movies,  that is… mostly okay? But watch the first one, please.  He plays LEE CHRISTMAS and he is a former special forces guy whose specialty is close-quarters knife fighting.  I don’t know how else to sell you this movie.  It’s a bunch of action stars looking for a paycheck and it works v well.  LEE. CHRISTMAS.  So much stabby.  Also shooty.  Like pop up out of a plane and shooty.

The Mechanic. “Wait, Christina, isn’t he basically playing the same guy in every one of these movies?”

Yep

What’s your point

In this particular action movie, J-Bear is an assassin whose expertise is in making people die but it’ll look like an accident, or need to cast suspicion on someone else.  But early on in this film, his mentor gets killed, and (you knew this was coming) it’s personal. He, of course, goes around and murders everyone with his mentor’s son with him and he’s just a wonderful hardened bully club made of teakwood the whole movie.  If I think too hard about this one I end up having nightmares, because oh my GOD he just sneaks into ANYWHERE but he is so delightful and very *him* in this one that it is very worth watching.

You should know him from

The Fast and Furious franchise.  My guy plays Deckard Shaw, because of course that’s his fucking name, and he is a bad guy who is the brother of another bad guy, and he was pretty Statham-y and great in his first few appearances, but in The Fate of the Furious, he really got his chance to shine.  He and The Rock have a fistfight in a prison, which is just delicious for the size difference alone (my bb is 5’10”; the Rock played the skyscraper in his movie Skyscraper) but he’s flipping around and being awesome.

Later on in the movie, however, he has a shootout while protecting a baby in a car seat, and he knows it is going to be loud, so he puts baby headphones on the little baby ears and then swings him around in his little baby carrier and it is THE BEST THING.  Like, an exchange happens where a bad guy points his gun at the baby, and Statham, a dude who has killed like a dozen people in the last 90 seconds, looks at him incredulously while saying “you were gonna shoot a baby?!” I’m not saying it was the best thing that has happened to me but IT WAS THE BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME.

Spy. Now, okay, in this movie, he plays, well, another tough spy. BUT. This is a comedy, and he knows it, and he just spends so much time listing ridiculous scenarios that he’s been in (losing his left arm and reattaching it using his right arm). Same accent.  Turtleneck and blazer. Nothing is different other than he knows he is ridiculous and PLAYS IT SO WELL OMG. He knows what he is, and he doubles down, and he’s just SO GREAT.

Crank. There’s also Crank 2. This movie is best described as “like Speed but instead of a bus it’s a person” no really stay with me.  His character has been poisoned, and he will die if he does not keep his adrenaline levels up, so of course there are drugs and there is sex and there is shooty and slicey stuff.  He bangs his girlfriend on the street in the middle of Chinatown.  He steals drugs from a hospital and uses a defibrillator on himself.  He says offensive things for no goddamn reason other than to get people to hit him.  You don’t have to see either of these movies, because they are the visual equivalent of an edgelord typing “I’m not racist; I hate all races equally” on a subreddit, but the mere fact that he sells this generator-battery-fueled-by-cocaine plot is a testament to him.  You really do not have to watch it, just be aware it exists.

I’m also throwing in two of the really lesser-known (but still profitable because my man is a broken slot machine and everyone is a winner) films, which are called Safe and Parker.  Safe is included because he is protecting an 11-year-old girl for much of the movie, and she is precious and he is precious and they warm my heart and if Statham is available to babysit I would hire him in a Crank heartbeat. It also includes the line “I didn’t know tracheas could break.”

Parker is a weird kind of Robin Hood beginning (he’s a thief who only steals from rich people and tbh you go, buddy, eat the rich no good billionaires etc etc) but he gets cut out of his share and beaten up and J.Lo, of all people, finds him on the side of the road.  She is a realtor for very rich people in South Florida, and he poses as a Texan oil tycoon with a cowboy hat to be able to get into these houses and his accent is SO TERRIBLE, and they are actually both goddamn charming in this movie.  She asks him how he sleeps at night, and he tells her he doesn’t drink coffee after 7 at night.

Are these all the same movie? Yep. Do I like them in general? Yep.  I’m That Person who will order the same thing at different restaurants because I like it and it’ll be served up slightly differently each time.  Go watch a good movie and tell me how it goes; I will be over here giving Jason my money.  You can’t spell “staying power” without “Statham.”  Okay, you can, but why would you want to okay never mind MOVING ON

Muscles at home

My guy is engaged to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, another bananas attractive human being.  I was initially a bit worried about this relationship as he is 51 and she is 31 (“wait, Christina, aren’t you 30, and you still have a crush on h-” YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAN SHUT IT) but they are delightful together.  They had their first baby, Jack, last year.

Rosie is 5’9″.  Jay-Bae is 5’10”.  On red carpets, she will regularly wear like 5-inch heels and tower over him, and he doesn’t look even a bit uncomfortable, and I realize I am made of emotions, but I adore it.  I love seeing her gorgeous giraffe head peeking over the crowd while he holds her waist and stares out like “you’re going to comment that she’s taller? Go ahead. Please, try to come for me.”

He drove a truck into the Black Sea during the filming of Expendables 3. There isn’t really much more than that to the story other than he lived and said that apparently Sylvester Stallone was at the edge of the ramp filming him with his iPhone and when he got to the surface asked “hey Jason, you need a towel?”

Why you should care

He’s just a deliciously grizzled Now! That’s What I Call Latissimus Dorsi with an accent you could exfoliate with and he knows it and he doubles down and it is GREAT.  Every character is a variation on the same, and he does them PERFECTLY.    You know exactly what you’re getting, and you know it is going to be wonderful and have good shoulders wait what.

He does all of his own stunts (this is a common theme among my Meathead Baes), and this is partially why you’ll see him in water so often – he was a diver, he’s got this.  He’s argued before that stunt performers should get their own Oscars category, and he’s both correct and also aware of the difficulty of the things they have to do every day!  The interview he did with Vanity Fair about this also gave us this quote:

“Then you have some guy standing in front of a fucking green screen screwing his face up pretending like he’s doing the stunt.”

He is aware that he is like a laserbeam-focused Cockney-flavored Mount-Rushmore-faced brick wall and he is so, so rich off of these.  He made like, 30 movies over 10 years, and all of them have him doing flips and punches and dives and cars and explosions and guns and chopping off a hand holding a gun and then using the hand to shoot another dude.  (Yep.)

And he knows that they are ridiculous. He’s fully aware that he gets signed on to drive a car fast, punch a guy, shoot another guy, and not smile.  He knows what he is, and he’s having a fucking GREAT time.  He talks about how he will put in the work to fight, to swim, to drive, to move fast, but he’s “never had an acting lesson a day in his life” and he is consciously aware that he is signed up to hit things and might not do anything else ever and that’s fine. He’s mentioned in more than one interview that he feels if he’s being offered projects that pay, he should take them, and I think that is very much a product of not being in any way part of Hollywood or show business or even the elite.  If the expression is “laughing all the way to the bank,” he’s got the route memorized and the tellers all know his name.

His movies do amazingly well overseas, and he’s aware of this and thankful for it.  He goes to premieres in China very frequently and smiles and waves and is generally a delight.  He’s been described by more than one interviewer as “chatty,” which is just wonderful.  Outside of his movies, he smiles constantly, and will answer questions you didn’t even ask, and apparently laughs like a dying goose, and swears constantly not because he’s angry just because “fucking” is a great adjective, and he tells stories about his youth as a diver and a street busker and people named Fish Fibbens (a friend of his who used to drag race with him).

Jason went to the School for Punching to get a degree in Punching and if someone says “hey why aren’t you working as a Talker” he’d be like “because my degree is in Punching.”

[from Esquire]

Statham’s notable role in Spy aside, he has no aspirations outside the action genre. “I’ve never had a fucking acting lesson; no one’s telling me how to act,” he says. “Would it be better for Daniel Day-Lewis to play Lincoln than me?” He laughs at the prospect. “I think so.” And as he drifts off that next laugh, he adds: “But no one’s asked me to play Lincoln, and I’m not too worried about not getting the offer.”

I love him.  I love his accent, I love his weird nose, I love his bald boulder head, I love his dedication to doing his own stunts and working on them until they look good, and I love his commitment to using a dress shirt he is wearing as a weapon in more than one of his movies.  Bae-son Bae-tham.  Jay-Bae.  May you and your sandpaper soul live a thousand years and make ten thousand movies.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *