OWF Attends The Jason Stathamathon

It is 8.30am on a Saturday morning. Normally at this time on a Saturday I€™d be in the catatonic state that customarily precedes a hangover. But not today. Today I am fresh-faced and awake, for today I am embarking on the Stathamathon, a gruelling eight-hour marathon of ludicrously explosive action movies starring the balding Brit bruiser Jason Statham. Since being recruited by Guy Ritchie in 1998 to lead up his debut gangster flick Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, the Stath has carved a very respectable career for himself blowing things up, shooting things with guns, and delivering one-liners in his patented mockney accent. As comedian Richard Sandling, our host for the day, correctly observed, €œhe is his own genre€. The event is being organised by Lionsgate to promote the forthcoming Blitz, which will be screened alongside three other Stath classics: The Mechanic, The Expendables and audience choice Crank 2: High Voltage. I must admit to feeling a smidge of trepidation at what can only be described as endurance moviegoing; much as I enjoy the man€™s work, there€™s only so much mindless testosterone anyone can take in one sitting, especially when most people are still eating breakfast. Nonetheless, like some heroic war correspondent, I persevere, in the name of journalistic scrupulousness. Here€™s what happened.


First up is this recent remake of the Charles Bronson/Michael Winner 70s thriller. The Stath plays tough, uncompromising hitman Arthur Bishop, an assassin who kills people and makes it look like suicide. It€™s a curiously slow start to the day, the problem perhaps lying in having a chunky badass like Statham parachuted into a thoughtful Bronson role. As a result, our hero is flat, brooding and expressionless throughout, and opening scene aside, nothing exciting happens for a good forty minutes. The director labours under the misapprehension that the story is strong enough to hold attention, but it€™s really not. Still, the conclusion provides the explosions that today€™s audience of bloggers and competition winners hanker for.

Best line:
€œI'm going to put a price on your head so big, when you look in the mirror your reflection's gonna want to shoot you in the face.€


A noticeable shift in tone here, as Sylvester Stallone€™s 2010 ensemble piece turns up the noise - and the stupid. The Stath plays tough, uncompromising mercenary Lee Christmas (a classic action hero name) alongside a surfeit of ageing, steroid-riddled action heroes. Clamouring for his 80s heydey, Sly ramps everything up to 11 without worrying about the plot, and so like the best/worst of B-movie action trash, the dialogue is awful, the acting wooden, the story barely existent, but the action gratifyingly loud, explosive and relentless. As idiotically fun as it is, I find myself suffering from Top Gun-esque muscle fatigue at the sight of so many rippling biceps, and yearn for some estrogen pills to avoid overdosing on all this testosterone. Best line:
€œNext time, I'll deflate all your balls, friend.€


After a lunch break spent looking at pictures of kittens, we€™re back to work. The forthcoming film for which this epic marathon is here to promote, Blitz sees the Stath play tough, uncompromising detective Tom Brant, in an adaptation of Ken Bruen€™s serial killer crime novel. Blitz is not released in the UK until 20th May so remains under reviewing embargo, but I can tell you that there is –ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ –ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ the –ˆ–ˆ–ˆ in the –ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ, whilst there is an extraordinary scene where the –ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆ is entirely –ˆ–ˆ–ˆ–ˆed. (A full review will posted soon.) Best line:
€œDo I look like I carry a pencil?€


So we come to our journey€™s conclusion, with this, a near-unanimous audience choice and by far the best film of the day, simply because it stubbornly refuses to take itself seriously - right from the start, when a news reader describes events as €˜implausible€™. The Stath plays tough, uncompromising gangster Chev Chelios, who must continually electrocute himself to keep his artificial heart working. It€™s essentially a rehash of the original, in which a Chinese poison forces Chev to maintain high-levels of adrenaline. Statham loves a high concept, and as concepts go, few are sky-higher. It€™s utterly bonkers, shamelessly exploitative and endlessly plotholey, but who the hell cares when it€™s this entertaining? Best line:
€œFuck your mother! I let boss know you shit in Superman's stomach!€

I ramble incessantly about film, music, TV, etc.