Is Jason Statham Cursed As The New Vin Diesel?

It’s no secret that action stars usually stay action stars from the start to the end of their careers. Dramatic actors have the luxury of jumping from project to project with little-to-no apprehension from producers about their skill. Even if dramatic actors have to switch things up a bit and “act funny” when the role calls for it, it’s not uncommon to hear praise about their versatility. The same goes for comedic actors who have the ability to turn on the tears; most are generally met with a pat on the back from critics. It’s not the same story, however, for action stars, even when they have the potential to be versatile.

Which is why it’s frustrating, as a fan of Jason Statham, to watch him fall into a similar mold as someone who truly doesn’t have the same potential: his Fast & Furious 6 co-star, Vin Diesel. Diesel can be goofy, sure (The Pacifier, anyone?), and he was pretty perfect as the voice for the adorable Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, but he’s not a dramatic actor, nor is he funny in the most general sense. Statham however, should not be type-cast as “only an action star,” and it’s hard not to blame Hollywood producers who don’t know what to do with a good-looking, bald Englishman with muscles but to turn him into eye candy with a gun.

After breaking through the international barrier under Guy Ritchie‘s direction in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Statham was picked up by Hollywood and immediately signed on to two overpriced action flops, Ghosts of Mars and Jet Li’s The One.

From there, Statham was trapped in the action cage where he now only stars as:

  • A bank-robbing womanizer
  • A bad guy whose occupation isn’t clear, but he has morals and the potential to attract women
  • A car thief
  • A car thief who’s also a womanizer
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  • A drag racing car thief who’s also a womanizer
  • An ex-cop/agent
  • A transporter

It’s a common misconception to think that Statham wielded guns and women when he first got his start. Wrong. In his first film role, he played a sinewy, offbeat, charming, and fairly hilarious black market salesman as Bacon in Lock, Stock…, which he followed up with before his role as Turkish, a broke, pushover illegal boxing promoter in Snatch. When Statham first came on the scene, his persona didn’t scream “action star,” but more like a potential foil. A Ben Mendelsohn type. Or even a dark and stormy character actor. But lo and behold, action it is.

For Vin Diesel there is simply no hope. Groot is the best thing he’s done in a very long time, maybe even since Saving Private Ryan or Boiler Room. He keeps getting granted more Fast & Furious movies, but you know you’re irrelevant when you’re not even invited to do The Expendables movies. (They even asked Antonio Banderas to star in that shit.

But what do I know? Jason Statham might love being typecast as action hero. The work is obviously steady and probably a great time. He has four films lined up for the rest of this year and next, including another Fast & Furious movie and a sequel to The Mechanic. The only unfortunate thing is if he ever wanted to give something of more weight a try, he’d have to do some serious convincing or produce the project on his own. Once you go down the Vin Diesel rabbit hole, there’s no coming out.


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