British film star Jason Statham is well-known for playing action heroes in high-octane movies.
He got his big break in the industry starring in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, followed by a role in Snatch by the same director. That exposure enabled him to break into Hollywood; his first film out there being John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars, a role in which Den of Geek claims was saw him just unlocking doors and describing rooms.
He’s since gone on to make a number of films, including several in the Transporter series. However, not all his movies are well received, despite the number of sequels he’s spawned with his Frank Martin character.
His most recent film is Hobbs and Shaw part of the Fast and the Furious franchise which also stars Dwayne Johnson. Whilst the latest instalment isn’t the most beloved, it does give Statham the perfect vehicle for his talent.
Whilst his style fits a certain persona, he does polarize audiences who seem to either love his movies or hate them. Not all his work is worthy of a sequel or franchise, as we are about to examine.
The One (2001)
With Statham starring alongside Jet Li, this flick was always going to be about martial arts, action and stunning visuals. It was only the third time Statham had starred in a Hollywood film, but it got bogged down in special effects and tried to excite the viewer without carrying a viable plot.
Statham plays MVA Agent Evan Funsch, part of an agency that acts as a police service for interdimensional travel via wormholes. Along with Li, they’re tasked with hunting down all variations of himself in alternate universes.
It’s as silly as it sounds and won’t be followed up by a sequel anytime soon.
Wild Card (2005)
This 2015 film should have been a big hit. The explosion of popularity in poker over the last decade or so has given rise to a need for films with themes around the game. More and more people are playing in the US with a partypoker guide explaining the basics for the ever-growing number of players. According to the World Poker Tour, there are currently around 60 million active players in the US alone and 100 million worldwide, so there was definitely a market for Wild Card. So what went wrong?
Even the hardcore poker players didn’t warm to Statham’s performance in this flick. Movie buffs and poker players alike are hungry for a film to fill the void that Rounders hasn’t yet filled with a sequel, but few will be asking for a Wild Card 2.
The action sequences aren’t bad in the film, but the narrative is clumsy and the real proof was at the box office, where it bombed.
Unlikeable characters and an aura of pretentiousness make this a thoroughly unpleasant watch. The story centers on Syd, played by Chris Evans, who receives a call to tell him his former girlfriend London (Jessica Biel) is leaving town.
A drug-fueled party follows in which several themes are explored, all as clumsily as the next. Statham, playing a drug dealer called Bateman, won’t have to reprise his role anytime soon as the film bombed and nobody wants to see what happened next.
This Géla Babluani’s English-language remake of his French debut was simply awful. The original, shot in black and white, is described as a ‘starkly minimalist nail-biter of a thriller relentlessly that builds up the tension’. There was no tension in the clumsy color remake and certainly no calls for a sequel.
Statham plays Jasper Bagges, a wealthy British man betting on a game of Russian Roulette. Alongside him are Ray Winstone, Curtis Jackson and Mickey Rourke, but the all-star cast can’t hold up a clumsy remake.
The dialogue is poor, it’s paced all wrong and every bit of the original’s grit is lost in an attempt to bring it to a wider audience. It’s certainly best forgotten.
The Meg (2015)
A creature, previously thought to be extinct, is discovered off the coast of China and Statham, playing diver Jonas Taylor, is tasked with taking it on.
It’s a typical B-movie premise with a plausible creature and just about enough thrills to hold its head above water, but sadly without anything to set it apart from a thousand other movies of the same genre, and few will remember this after watching.
It’s not genre-defining, and it just doesn’t have that wow factor to bring audiences back for a second bite.