Statham Cracks Skulls, Cracks Up Audiences

Actor's films expertly blend adventure, slapstick
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2009 1:23 PM CDT

(Newser) – Jason Statham, the hulking British action star specializing in shoot-em-up, kick-em-down movies, owes much to Jackie Chan and Wile E. Coyote, Jody Rosen writes for Slate. After all, Statham trades in “a mix of bionic brute force and slapstick”—delivered with his Everyman charm. It may sound absurd, but audiences are buying it: Statham’s films have grossed $500 million worldwide.

True, Statham is no Matt “Jason Bourne” Damon. But unlike Hollywood’s other professional butt-kickers, the diver-turned-actor boasts two hit action franchises: The Transporter and Crank, whose latest installment opens today. “Call them action-adventure movies if you like,” Rosen says. “The truth is, they're comedies, and they're telling a joke that never gets old: He was dead… but he got better.”