April 17, 2009

SPEAKING OF MAKING PRISON BEARABLE....:

The Last Action Hero: How Jason Statham became the world's biggest B-movie star. (Jody Rosen, April 16, 2009, Slate)

Jason Statham's greatness announced itself early in his acting career—88 seconds into his motion picture debut, to be precise, in the opening sequence of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). Statham plays Bacon, a small-time criminal peddling stolen merchandise ("Handmade in Italy, hand-stolen in Stepney") on a London street corner. Suddenly, the police show up; Bacon and his accomplice take flight; and then, rounding a rain-slickened corner with a suitcase under his arm, he nearly tips over, performing a ridiculous little shuffle-step at an almost-45-degree-angle to the pavement, his feet moving furiously but his forward motion momentarily stalled, like Wile E. Coyote in the instant before he realizes he has run out of clifftop road and is about to plummet 5,000 feet into a canyon. Whereupon Bacon regains his footing, vaults a barrier, and spills the entire contents of his suitcase as he races down a flight of stairs.

This is the essence of Statham-ism, a mix of bionic brute force and slapstick—Robocop meets Keystone Cops. It's a formula that has made Statham the biggest action hero going: Since 2001, Statham star vehicles have grossed $500 million worldwide.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 17, 2009 9:21 AM
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