Having built a name as one of the hardest working, but perhaps least discerning action movie stars currently working, Jason Statham returns to cinemas this weekend with his latest, Mechanic: Resurrection, the follow-up to 2011's The Mechanic.
Regardless of how you might feel about his range, Statham is one of very few movie action icons of his generation. Senior citizens like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger still crank out tough guy flicks because there's a distinct lack of talent in the field when it comes to younger performers, partly thanks to a dearth of quality, and partly because of the evolution of the film market.
Statham is an exception: he has proven time and time again that he's a force to be reckoned with onscreen, particularly when given the opportunity to glower and hold guns and generally look double hard. It might seem somewhat shocking, given how often he plays slight variations of the same sort of character (occasionally with an "American" accent,) but he has also shown that he has something beyond the typical limits of actors from within his genre - actual dramatic acting cops.
His appeal has always been backed up with real skills, whether that's whispering, or shouting while looking really menacing, and in all seriousness it is incredibly reductive to simply think of him as the go-to bald action hero who now fills the gap where Bruce Willis once made his dollars. He's actually got some incredible performances on his CV that he hasn't received anything like the right amount of credit for.
Still, when you so happily accept jobs like the Transporter series, it's inevitable that there will also be some clunkers - which, unfortunately for him, he seems to have become more notorious for. Many still believe Statham is a one note performer that can't act and that's fair if you've only seen a handful of his films.
In celebration of the release of Mechanic: Resurrection, we're dedicating this week's column to the man who makes frowning an artform, and focusing on five times Statham lit up the screen with awesomeness, and five where he definitely didn't...