Tag Archives: Jason Statham

Rebourne – The Mechanic (2011)

Spider Jase, Spider Jase; Does whatever a Spider Jase does.
Spider Jase, Spider Jase; Does whatever a Spider Jase does.

“Someone has to fix the problems”

Directed by Simon West
Starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland

The Original

See below.

The Remake

Arthur Bishop (Statham) is a meticulous assassin who carries out carefully planned assignments which involve dressing up as chefs and jumping off bridges. when his mentor Harry (Sutherland) comes up on his hit list he goes through with it, but from a sense of guilt begins to bond with Harry’s son Steve (Foster) and teaches him to be a hitman as a means of channeling his rage.

Rebourne

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Spy (2015)

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“One of the guys. One of the spies.”

Directed by Paul Feig
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Miranda Hart and Allison Janney

Susan Cooper (McCarthy) is a brilliant CIA analyst acting as handler and dogsbody for suave agent Bradley Fine (Law), until a mission goes wrong and he is shot dead by Rayna Boyanov (Byrne), a criminal in possession of a compact, virtually undetectable nuke. With the Agency’s top operatives – including angry British ex-patriot Rick Ford (Statham) – apparently exposed, Cooper is sent into the field by Deputy Director Crocker (Janney) to track Rayna’s middleman de Luca (Bobby Cannavale) and locate both Rayna and the bomb.

Continue reading Spy (2015)

Ghosts of Mars (2001)

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Back in the day, when a studio might insist on a big star like Ice Cube if all you had was Jason Statham.

“It’s their planet… We are the aliens.”

Directed by John Carpenter
Starring Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge and Jason Statham

Ballard (Henstridge), a police officer on Mars, reports to a panel after a mission goes royally tits up. Through a series of nested flashbacks, she explains how a simple pick-up of accused murderer ‘Desolation’ Williams (Cube) from a mining town jail went south as her team – Commander Braddock (Pam Grier), Ballard, Sergeant Jericho Butler (Statham) and a pair of rookies – stumbled into a town full of men and women possessed by, if you will, the ghosts of Mars.

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Safe (2012)

'From the Producer of...' is rarely a good sign.
‘From the Producer of…’ is rarely a good sign.

“They have the code. He is the key.”

Directed by Boaz Yakin
Starring Jason Statham and Catherine Chan

Mei (Chan) is a 12 year old mathematical prodigy, kidnapped by the Chinese mob to calculate and memorise their financial operations in New York. When she is re-kidnapped by, but escapes from, the Russian mob, she discovers an unexpected protector in the form of down-and-out former cage fighter, Luke Wright (Statham).

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In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)

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“Rise and Fight”

Directed by Uwe Boll
Starring Jason Statham, John Rhys Davies, Ron Perlman, Clare Forlani and Burt Reynolds

When his community is destroyed by rampaging Krugs – beast-like primates who have somehow acquired weapons and organisation, Farmer the Farmer (Statham) sets out to rescue his captured wife (Forlani) and avenge his murdered son. Meanwhile, the King (Burt Reynolds, I shit you not) and his magus Merick (Rhys Davies) must content with dual power grabs by the weasely Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard) and the malevolent magus Gallian (Ray Liotta).

Hijinks ensue, featuring as many Lord of the Rings knock-offs as they could muster and no fewer than three sets of tree ninjas.

Continue reading In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)

Death Race (2008)

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“Get ready for a killer ride!”

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring Jason Statham,  Tyrese Gibson, Joan Allen and Ian McShane

Following the complete breakdown of the US Justice System in 2012, prisons are now for-profit organisations showing pay-per-view blood sports, the most popular of which is Terminal Island Penitentiary’s Death Race.

With ratings falling and masked fan favourite Frankenstein dead, prison director Hennessy (Allen) has former driver Jensen Ames (Statham) framed for the murder of his wife in order to bring him in as the new Frankenstein. Despite his reluctance, and with the help of pit boss Coach (McShane), Ames must try to win just one race to earn his freedom, but for the prison there is no profit in the loss of their star driver.

Faced with hostility on and off the track, and the inevitable double-cross from Hennessy, Ames struggles to emerge the victor of a game with no winners.

What’s wrong with it?

Originally conceived as a remake or sequel and eventual pitched a s kind of thematic prequel to Death Race 2000, the already broad satire of the original (think of an episode of Whacky Races, but one where the course ran through populous areas and Penelope Pitstop scored points for every civilian she ran over) is boiled down to ‘they bet on people dying, yo’ under Anderson’s deft hand. In addition, by switching from a cross-country to a circuit race, the film loses much of the variety of the original, and sacrifices tension for close-up action.

Apart from the blood and rust coloured graphics of the Death Race online coverage – which kind of makes you wish they’d included form Starship Troopers-style infomercials and newsreel to break the monotony – the palette is extremely grey, and unless you’re a pretty serious gear head there isn’t much to pick between the various armoured, led-spewing cars on the track. Only Machine Gun Joe’s (Gibson) immense Dodge Ram really stands out.

The female navigators – of whom only Case (Natalie Martinez) has any character, or indeed lines – are there purely to sex things up visually, which would be bad enough, but when they are then shot, gored, crushed or burned to death during the race, they are left as nothing but voiceless, dead sex objects. A major plot point revolves around Hennessy suborning Case with the promise of her freedom, but this is not developed by giving them any scenes together, leaving the film to fail the Bechdel test on all levels.

Finally, the other drivers don’t really go much beyond stereotypes: Angry black guy, cool Chinese guy, neo-Nazi thug, crazy Latino etc.

What’s right with it?

The race scenes are okay, with the driving bits significantly better than any part where the cars are shooting at each other, where the film signally fails to present any kind of ‘dogfighting’ in favour of lots of straight lines and flying brass.

The plot, although ludicrous, is pretty consistent and, with a couple of exceptions, makes sense in its own mad world.

The main cast is well put together. Statham is typically likable as Ames, McShane’s institutionalised Coach makes for a great mentor  figure and Allen is an effective and nicely atypical villain.

How bad is it really?

There’s a fair bit of dumb fun to be had with this film, but for the most part we’ve seen it done before, and better. It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t quite earn its nastier moments and the hypersexualisation of the mostly-doomed navigators is uncomfortable to say the least.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Realising that he is dead, Triad driver 14K, whose previous dialogue has all been in dubbed Chinese (which language or dialect, I could not say), lets loose with an English language ‘Fuck me’… which is subtitled into Chinese . What can I say; I like subtitle humour.

What’s up with…?

  • Case getting her release papers in advance of her betrayal? It hardly seems Hennessey’s style.
  • The sudden introduction of the Dreadnought into the race? It’s like throwing a tiger onto the ring in the middle of a heavyweight boxing match. Sure, it’ll liven things up and probably get you a short-term boost to your ratings, but it’s not going to please the fans, especially the betting public.
  • Mask aside, anyone mistaking a curvy, five-foot-eight Latina for Jason Statham?
  • Likewise, anyone not checking a package being sent to the warden of a prison from the inside, before putting the bomb on her desk?

Ratings

Production values – Moderately slick, with some good explosions, but the muted palette confuses at times. 11

Dialogue and performances – The main cast are solid, especially Allen and McShane, but the support is highly variable. The absence of dialogue of any kind for the background female characters is telling. 14

Plot and execution – The plot is extremely basic, but largely consistent. The execution falls down on the lack of variation in the race scenes and in particular the failure to do anything with the shoot-outs that isn’t having one car drive in a straight line behind another car driving in a straight line. 13

Randomness -Surprisingly sound. There are no complete left-field moments and nothing completely incomprehensible. Only Hennessy’s uncharacteristic and ultimately self-defeating generosity towards Case, and the complete failures of security in the last part of the film stand out. 12

Waste of potential – Well, the pedigree isn’t great. Death Race 2000 is a cult classic, but not all that good of a film. It is a shame that we couldn’t get more satire from such a rich vein as pay-per-view and the morality of viewing dangerous sports, but ultimately if this film has an overall sin, it is in being just okay in a much duller way than 20009

Overall 59%