Jason Statham’s 6 best movie roles: Worthy of being the king of cinematic martial arts

Jason Statham has undeniably become one of the biggest Hollywood blockbuster stars in the world. With his suave British accent, ooziness of a slick demeanour, and brooding tough guy image, he has marked himself as truly commanding actor. However, beneath all of that, lies a real skill for martial arts.

Although he initially became known to mainstream audiences for his roles in Guy Ritchie‘s sleek crime capers, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and the genre re-defining Snatch, these movies didn’t give Statham a chance to show off his action skills. Yet, Statham actually has a rich history in many martial arts, including a variety of Chinese martial arts, kickboxing, and karate. So, here are his top 6 roles where he really got the chance to show off his martial arts mastery.

6. The Expendables 2 (2012)

The Expendables movie franchise boast heaps of dazzling action sequences with every entry. From gun fights to car chases to massive explosions, each movie is a nostalgia filled throwback to 80s action classics, and that’s exactly what Sylvester Stallone was aiming for. Although a great portion of the movie sees Jason Statham wielding a pistol or manning the machine gun of a tank, The Expendables 2 also sees Statham’s character, Lee Christmas, engage in some pretty brutal fights. The most notable being a brilliant clashing of two martial arts styles in his frenzied fight with Scott Adkins‘ character, Hector. The fight is a standout moment in the film, as it’s a battle that has been built up since the two mercenaries first cross paths at the beginning of the movie. So, for that reason, The Expendables 2 serves as one of Jason Statham’s top movie roles.

5. Crank (2006)

In the 2006 action movie, Crank, Jason Statham stars as Chev Chelios, a hitman who is poisoned with a lethal substance that will kill him if his adrenaline drops. Determined to stay alive, Chev embarks on a frantic and adrenaline-fueled quest to track down those responsible for his impending death. The film serves up a relentless pace, with non-stop action and high-octane stunts that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

In a masterful performance, Statham carries the movie almost single-handedly. The visual style of this frenetic movie sees the camera tracking Statham’s character as he navigates through a series of intense gun fights and fist fights. What’s more, Crank hit movie theaters at a time when Statham was gaining popularity as an action star, and his portrayal of Chev Chelios solidified his status as one of the top action heroes in Hollywood.

4. The Beekeeper (2024)

The Beekeeper is a dark and brooding action thriller that sees Jason Statham deliver a back-seated, understated performance with much more grit. However, the action that diehard Statham fans expect to see is still very much present. Yet, it is delivered in a way that feels like Statham has arrived at a more mature point of his career, focusing much more on character development. Nevertheless, The Beekeeper is a top-notch revenge flick that stands out as one of Statham’s finest roles, giving him ample opportunity to show off his martial arts skills.

David Ayer’s The Beekeeper is currently in movie theaters, however, it will likely soon be available on Prime Video, as Amazon and MGM acquired the action movie before its cinematic release.

3. Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

Fast & Furious 7 is an action-packed film that follows Dominic Toretto and his crew as they face off against a new enemy, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). The plot revolves around Shaw seeking revenge for the death of his brother at the hands of Toretto and his team. One of the standout moments in the film is the intense fight scene between Shaw and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). This intense scene showcases Statham’s real-life martial arts skills and has become renowned as one of the most memorable moments in the Fast & Furious extensive timeline.

2. War (2007)

In the 2007 action thriller, War, two of the biggest names in martial arts cinema, Jason Statham and Jet Li, face off against each other in a high-stakes battle of wits and physical prowess. While the film may not have received high praise from critics, it remains a significant moment in action cinema history for bringing together two iconic stars in a head-to-head showdown. In the movie, both Statham and Li deliver intense fight sequences and adrenaline-pumping action till the credits roll. Through well-choreographed battles, each action showcases their incredible skills and abilities as martial artists. So, despite its flaws, War still holds a special place in the hearts of fans of the genre for its memorable performances and a thrilling showdown between two utter legends of the martial arts world.

1. The Transporter (2002)

The Transporter is a fast-paced action extravaganza that puts viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. From the mind of Luc Besson, the mastermind behind Leon: The Prosfessional, this film follows the story of Frank Martin (Jason Statham), a skilled criminal with a strict code of ethics who works as a “transporter” for mysterious clients. However, when Frank faces the task of moving a package that turns out to be a living, breathing woman, his carefully crafted world is turned upside down. As Frank navigates through a web of deceit, danger, and high-speed car chases, he must rely on his quick wit and expert combat skills to survive.

The Transporter was the movie that ignited the action career of Statham. Two years after the glaring success of Guy Ritchie‘s Snatch, The Transporter gave Statham the chance to make his mark on the action world. To this day, it stands as a classic movie filled with heaps of fistfights that truly display Statham’s gift for martial arts. Therefore, this movie stands out as the top movie of Statham’s incredible blockbuster career. If you’re wondering how Statham broke into Hollywood, here’s his impressive journey to stardom.

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