Three Observations on the Physics of Jason Statham Films


Three Observations on the Physics of Jason Statham Films
Discussed:  The Mechanic, Crank, Crank: High Voltage, The Bank Job, Blitz, The Transporter


1) Jason Statham cannot be killed. While this seems an elementary premise for the hero of any action-adventure film, Statham films are a special case. Even though he impossibly cheats death via car explosion in "The Mechanic" and "The Transporter", I'll take "Crank" as the ultimate example: Statham's character Chev Chelios is killed in the final scene, having fallen from a plane without a parachute and landing on the pavement, yet--in defiance physical and metaphysical law--is resuscitated for the sequel "Crank: High Voltage." This means Statham cannot be killed by being killed.

2) No one in a Statham movie is aware he cannot be killed. Again, it seems pretty straightforward--most movie villains attempt to stop the hero, and are thwarted--but characters in Statham movies are shocked in the same way we in the real world would be. For example: in "The Bank Job," Statham's character Terry Leather defeats a band of assailants by hand, only for the final assailant to pull a gun and shoot at near point-blank range. Statham, of course, jumps out of the way of the bullet. (See point number one: he cannot be killed.) Rather than shooting again, the assailant is dumbfounded, a character who cannot believe Statham literally dodged a bullet like he was superhuman.

2a.  As a corollary, Statham is fully aware that he cannot be killed--after the assailant in "The Bank Job" shoots at him, Statham looks back not in fear or worry or urgency, but in annoyed disbelief. He can't believe this guy had the audacity to shoot at him. Clearly he didn't read the script. See also: Frank Martin, protagonist of the "Transporter" films, who routinely walks in to houses full of armed enemies. While this is in keeping with the action-adventure hero, Statham films exclude the normal scene of the hero gathering his nerve, taking deep breaths, preparing in any way or otherwise psyching himself up - Statham knows he's effectively immortal, so he just kicks the door down and goes to work.

3) Statham is a hit man even when he is not a hit man. If you check out any Jason Statham movie, there's a 90% chance he's playing a hit man. On closer inspection, though, he's always a hit man - in "Blitz" and "The Bank Job" he plays a police officer and a thief, respectively, but the cop becomes a vigilante killer in the final scene, and "The Bank Job," which I've already discussed. In these two films, along with the Transporter series, the protagonists' trade may differ entirely from a highly trained, insanely lethal one-man army, but even if he played a software engineer he'd still possess the assassin's skillset.

All these titles and more are available to check out; if you aren't already a Statham fan, be assured that there's no more reliable (and reliably entertaining) action movie star.

--Mark D., Mid-County Branch



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