After careers as a diver and a model, Jason Statham first made his way into movies starring in crime films - but his career has evolved quite a lot since then. In the last 20 years, the gruff Englishman has successfully become one of the biggest action stars in the world - not only leading big blockbusters, but jumpstarting multiple franchises. More than that, however, he also has a particular brand within the genre - and a big part of it is embracing the ridiculous and going balls to the wall.
With Jason Statham's latest strange adventure, The Meg, hitting theaters this weekend, we thought that this would be a proper time to look back at some of the craziest moments in the man's long career. Limiting selections to one scene per title, we've put together this list of Statham's nine most ridiculous scenes - and we'll start with what is to-date his highest grossing feature:
Playing Chicken With Dom Torretto -- Furious 7
The game of Chicken has a long and wonderful cinematic history. After all, it is easily one of the most dramatic things you can do with two cars on screen: having them race towards each other at top speed with the loser being the one who swerves first. James Wan's Furious 7 features an all-timer version of the game, pitting Jason Statham and Vin Diesel against one another in a pair of muscle cars, and the reason it makes this list is because neither of them loses, and they wind up crashing directly into one another in a big crunch of metal and glass.
The sequence begins as Dom Toretto sees Deckard Shaw observing Han's funeral, and the two wind up getting in a chase/car battle. Eventually the two cars find each other opposite one another one the same stretch of road, and both kick it into high gear. What ultimately earns it the label "ridiculous" is that both drivers are basically unharmed by the whole encounter, needing only to crack a few joints to relieve pain - and that's even before Dom notes that Deckard drove into him with a reinforced chassis.
Removing A Bomb From Under His Car -- Transporter 2
As portrayed in the Transporter movies, Jason Statham's Frank Martin is one hell of a driver. The man can maneuver a vehicle on both open and congested roads like few others on Earth, and is often shown operating them in impossible ways. The prime example of this can be found in Louis Leterrier's Transporter 2. After a face-to-face encounter with the movie's central villain, Gianni Chellini (Alessandro Gassman), Frank discovers that an explosive has been planted on the bottom of his car. So what does he do? Does he act like a normal action star and dive out at top speed? Nah. He launches the car off a ramp, spins it, and expertly uses a crane to remove the device at precisely the last second.
There is so much about this scene that makes absolutely no sense, as it breaks most known laws of physics - but I can't ignore the big capper: the fact that Frank manages to land his car right side up on all four wheels so it remains driveable. It's entirely ridiculous, but also the most memorable moment in Transporter 2.
Ford's Insane Field History -- Spy
Most entries on this list are about action instead of words, but an exception must be made for Paul Feig's Spy. The film is one of the star's few attempts at straight comedy, and he winds up stealing every single scene he is in - playing perpetually rage-filled super agent Rick Ford. Arguably his best scene comes early in the movie when he interrupts the work being done by Melissa McCarthy's Susan Cooper, and feeling the need to demonstrate his awesomeness he runs down a list of his most dangerous missions. And boy, is it nuts.
We have seen Jason Statham do a lot of crazy shit in his action movies, but we've never seen him jam shards of glass in his own eye, jump of high rises with raincoat parachutes, or seen him reattach his own arm. Yet those are just some of the accomplishments listed by Rick Ford as he goes off on a riff. Not only is it hilarious, but Statham sells the hell out of it, making us believe Rick Ford isn't just full of hot air, and as a result we're counting it on this list.
Falling Out Of A Helicopter -- Crank
It's because of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's Crank that we had to establish the "one moment per movie" rule, because otherwise this would just be pages and pages of me describing scenes from the movie. While there are a lot of titles on this list that intentionally built to be ridiculous, Crank is unquestionably the most intense and insane. Needless to say, it was hard picking just one scene from the story of a man who needs non-stop adrenaline to keep himself alive, but at the end of the day the finale was just the natural choice.
Crank is a film that begins its ending with Jason Statham's Chev Chelios (amazing name) yanking his arch-nemesis, Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), out of a helicopter mid-flight. After successfully breaking Verona's neck, he peacefully plummets to the Earth - but not before whipping out his cell phone and leaving an answering machine message for his girlfriend (Amy Smart). Then, of course, he finally hits the ground, but instead of just going splat, he instead hits a car, BOUNCES, and then lands on the concrete. It's a truly epic finish, and a perfect fit for this list.
The Oil Fight -- The Transporter
We've already seen on this list what kind of impossible crap Frank Martin can pull off behind the wheel - but not to be forgotten is that he's a surprisingly creative hand-to-hand fighter when he steps out of his car. Take, for example, one particular brawl late in Louis Leterrier and Corey Yuen's The Transporter. Running around a transportation depot, Frank encounters scores of henchmen, and has no problem putting them down - at least for the most part. After taking down a literal bus full of dudes, he's feeling pretty cocky, but then runs into one guy considerably larger than him... and things get worse when he's joined by some friends. Fortunately there is are a bunch of half-barrels filled with used oil that he can utilize, and after completely covering himself in the viscus liquid he takes on a whole new fighting style constantly slipping through grips.
It's just bonkers and fun to watch. The bad guys look entirely silly just sliding around the ground covered in goo, and then Jason Statham takes his badassness up a level by snapping off some bike pedals and creating some improvised cleats. The Transporter was really the movie that put Statham on the map as an action star, and it's because of scenes like this one that fans really took a shine to him.
The Baby Fight -- The Fate Of The Furious
After being the villain in Furious 7, Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw started playing for the good guys in F. Gary Gray's The Fate Of The Furious - and while that by itself sparked a bit of controversy that we won't get into here, it did wind up leaving us with yet another wonderfully ridiculous moment to add to this list. Specifically, during the third act, while most of the cast is racing along on ice in various vehicles, Deckard finds himself up in the air on a mission to rescue Dom's baby from the hands of Charlize Theron's Cypher. It's not an easy gig, as there are a ton of guards on board, but it's almost crazy how fun it is to watch Deckard mow them all down while also being sure to care for the child and not let it be traumatized by violence.
It's not often that you see babies in the midst of gunfire, and in many cases it's horrific, depressing stuff, but that's not the case here. Jason Statham's fight skills almost seem to be enhanced by his possession of the infant car seat, and it's fantastic to see him go back and forth between killing people and making sure his ward is okay. This was an easy pick for this list.
Landing A Car On A Train, And Then Crashing -- Transporter 3
And now we return to the adventures of Frank Martin: Vehicle Impossibilist. Yes, every chapter of the Transporter franchise is represented here, because it's really where Jason Statham started developing the brand discussed at the start of this feature. Though Transporter 3 is helmed by a different director than the first two, with Olivier Megaton taking the reins, it still has plenty of stupid fun action, including Frank successfully jumping a car off a bridge and on to a train moving at full speed - and then later using that same car to crash into the same train.
Not only does Frank Martin wait until the absolute last moment possible to make the jump with his car, it's absolutely ridiculous just how perfect it all is. He then proceeds to casually get out, swing down through one of the windows and kick a whole bunch of ass. And then later, when he needs to return to the vehicle, it's not only fortunately still there, but after the carriages are disconnected he uses it to drive off the the train and crash back into it. It's a perfect Jason Statham move.
Car Battery Charge-Up -- Crank 2: High Voltage
As you probably expected, we now find our way returning to the Crank franchise and the story of the seemingly-unkillable Chev Chelios. Again, Crank 2: High Voltage is another movie that is basically built out of ridiculous moments, and it was a challenge to pick just one. We almost went for the grand finale again, featuring Chev on-fire and wildly hallucinating - but instead chose the film's most memorable example of him juicing up.
In the first Crank Chev needed adrenaline to stay alive, but in Crank 2: High Voltage the name of the game is electrical charges to keep his artificial heart pumping. He gets in a car accident early in the movie destroying the external battery pack that's on his belt - but he quickly finds a replacement power source. With the help of some locals, their car, and a set of jumper cables, Chev gets totally revved up, attaching one clamp to his nipple, and the other to his tongue. Brought to life by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's unique style, it's a fantastic moment of intensity and ridiculousness.
SPOILER WARNING: The next page contains massive spoilers for The Meg. If you have not yet seen the film, please bookmark this page and come back to it after your screening!
Jonas Inspires A Feeding Frenzy - The Meg
Finally we get to the film that got this feature going, as it is yet another perfect example of the strange and unique tone and style that Jason Statham brings to the table in his action movies. In this one he is facing down a prehistoric shark that is a hundred times larger than a Great White, so obviously things were going to get weird and ridiculous, and in particular Jon Turteltaub's The Meg finds its best beat at the very end when Jonas Taylor finally finds a way to put down the monster.
For a moment it looks like Jonas is making a sacrificial move, as there's no way he could possibly survive a direct one-on-one encounter with The Megalodon, but what the hero smartly factors in is that it isn't the only shark in the area. After taking a bit of a ride on the giant fish, he's successfully able to cut the beast open, and the blood in the water makes the other meat eaters in the water take notice. Before long, it's proven that only nature could take down the monster, which is a nice beat - but it doesn't fully undercut just how ridiculous the whole thing is.