Should Statham stretch or simply keep smashing skulls ad nauseum?

Should Statham stretch or simply keep smashing skulls ad nauseum?

Killer Elite Jason Statham

Actor Jason Statham was born to be an action movie star.

Just look at that bullet-shaped dome of his. It’s practically a weapon unto itself. But is anyone getting tired of seeing him breaking bones with alacrity?

Film critics put Statham leagues ahead of fellow action stars like Steven Seagal and Arnold Schwarzenegger. And rightfully so. Statham can act, and on the rare occasions he’s asked to dramatically carry a scene, as he does in “The Bank Job,” he acquits himself beautifully.

So … why not tackle a character study or simply an action film that doesn’t arrive with the adjective “formulaic” attached to it?

Perhaps “Killer Elite,” Statham’s latest knuckle buster, will push him out of his cinematic comfort zone. He plays a retired assassin drawn back into the business to rescue an old pal (Robert De Niro).The film comes on the heels of the underwhelming remake of Charles Bronson’s “The Mechanic,” another film which failed to fully explore Statham’s range.

There’s something to be said about knowing your strengths and sticking to them. Statham appears to do just that in “Elite,” which opens Sept. 23.

Where do you stand on Statham? Should he try to broaden his film roles or stick to what made him a star?

(Photo: Jason Statham stars in the action thriller “Killer Elite,” opening nationwide September 23rd. Photo credit Dan Smith/Open Road Films.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike B.No Gravatar September 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm

ctoto, what about if he “eased” into a deeper role (with still some violent aspects)?

I’d love to see him tone it down and play the sophisticated psychopath anti-hero “Ripley”.

Didn’t Malkovitch do an outstanding job in “Ripley’s Game”? I love that film. Couldn’t you see this as a logical stepping stone into deeper roles without alienating his blood-lust, action-nut, fan base?

JimmyCNo Gravatar September 22, 2011 at 10:34 pm

He played a straight dramatic role (and even wore a wig) in the movie London. Not a particularly good movie, but he held his own, acting-wise.

Tink in CaliNo Gravatar September 23, 2011 at 12:01 am

Maybe he likes working in the action genre for now and as a fan it might be slightly disconcerting to see him in a different type of role. We are also assuming he is offered, but not exploring other parts. If I remember correctly, in “The Italian Job” he played more a lovable rogue type of character (rather than just a brute like in “The Transporter” franchise), that might be another direction for him to explore.

SynovaNo Gravatar September 23, 2011 at 2:01 am

Stallone was funny as… well, you know… really funny in “Oscar.” Totally different from anything else I can think of that he did. But it wasn’t a franchise with legs. If you go to see a Stallone movie, you go to see a Stallone movie.

I like Jason Statham movies. Actually, I like some a whole lot more than others (and War had plot issues that annoyed the heck out of me but that wasn’t Jason’s fault, nor Li’s I think) but I like the type of movie I know he’s going to be in.

There is nothing wrong with doing something and doing it well.

I think that an actor who feels like they have to do something else to be legitimate, in this case something more serious than taking his shirt off and beating up people, is disrespecting what they do. And if someone disrespects what they do, will they do it well?

(Doing something else for the fun of it or as a business decision is different than disrespect.)

AidyNo Gravatar September 23, 2011 at 9:18 am

I am honestly tired of seeing him in these typecast role. However, this is what he does well. @Synova a great point.

LizNo Gravatar September 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm

He voiced a character in Gnomeo & Juliet, so he may just be trying to widen his range. But if wants to continue making films where he removes his shirt and kick b*tt, that’s OK with me.

KNo Gravatar September 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Please leave him be. If the starts trying to “widen his range” the next thing you know he’ll be playing tough male characters who get preggers and then become Governor of California. Never again.

= John Wayne as Genghis Khan

TrentNo Gravatar September 24, 2011 at 4:54 am

Statham’s next role, as the iconic (among crime fiction fans) thief Parker may turn out to be a make-or-break for Statham as a dramatic actor. It’s an attempt to launch a franchise with some star power (J. Lo, Michael Chiklis), but the built-in fanbase is quite particular (which I know from running a website devoted to the character).

I thought The Bank Job demonstrated that Statham was more than ready to stretch, and I’m looking forward to The Killer Elite even though the reviews haven’t been great. Medved liked it, though!

@Mike B (#1): Donald Westlake wrote the Parker novels as Richard Stark, and also wrote the screenplay for Ripley Under Ground, so there’s a connection of sorts. I have yet to see that or Ripley’s Game, but your post prompted me to remember that they both need to be high on my TBW list. Thanks!

NostraNo Gravatar September 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Statham is one of those actors who knows what type of movies people are expecting from him. I watch almost anything he’s in though, but the movies I love the most are the ones where he’s fighting….

Mike B.No Gravatar September 30, 2011 at 1:47 am

Trent, here is proof-positive that I am not a “fan-boy” on “Ripley’s Game”:

GBNo Gravatar October 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Nothing wrong with ‘formula’ movies as long as they are entertaining. Entertainment is the primary objective of any movie, not education or learning or helping one become “aware” of anything. If it does any of those things great, if it doesnt’ and the movie is still entertaining, good.

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