Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Jason Statham

The Transporter star also talks Corey Yuen, Olivier Megaton and his just-announced film with Sly Stallone and Jet Li.

by | November 24, 2008 | Comments

British actor Jason Statham has made a career of reviving a forgotten genre – that of the ultimate “guy flick” – by blending the ultra-cool masculinity of Steve McQueen, the physicality of 1980s action stars, and a post-modern, knowing slyness that belies the otherwise B-movie nature of many of his vehicles (all of which often make him the most engaging element of his own films). This week Statham returns to one of his best-known characters in Transporter 3: Frank Martin, the black market driver with a “no questions asked” policy and a knack for kicking ass without leaving so much as a wrinkle on his tailored designer suits.

While the first Transporter film (2002) was directed by acclaimed martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen, French director Louis Letterier took the helm for its follow-up, Transporter 2 (2005). This week newcomer Olivier Megaton takes the wheel for a bigger, faster Transporter 3, with Yuen returning to choreograph a leaner (and often shirtless) Statham in the film’s impressive action sequences.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke to Statham about his favorite films of all time, which surprisingly include a few Paul Newman classics and unsurprisingly include a Bruce Lee film. As our conversation continued, we also discussed the different feel of Transporter 3, Corey Yuen’s diminished role in the film’s action scenes, and his recently announced film, The Expendables, in which he’ll star with action legends Sylvester Stallone (who will also write and direct) and Jet Li.

 

Cool Hand Luke (1967, 100% Tomatometer)



Cool Hand Luke
I saw it years ago, when my mom and dad made me watch it. And I was like, “This guy [Paul Newman] is just the coolest dude ever.” He just had such charisma. It just really spoke to me, and it’s one of those films I can watch time and time again. Paul Newman! It was like, Oh my God, look at this guy, he’s so cool! It was pretty much the first time I saw Paul Newman and I’ve been hooked on most of his movies ever since.

The Godfather (1972,
100% Tomatometer), The Godfather Part II (1974, 98%)



Godfather
It’s just quality at its best. Fantastic writing, an amazing caliber of acting; just beautiful, everything about it. The details of the clothes, the sets — just a masterpiece. Again, I can watch any of the trilogy time and time again. [RT: Even Godfather 3??] Well…(laughs) Listen, the first two are so good.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, 90% Tomatometer)



Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Another favorite movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Again, I can watch that movie a hundred times and never get tired. I think the pairing of Redford and Newman is amazing. Paul Newman and Robert Redford are just so good.

The Sting (1973, 91% Tomatometer)



The Sting

The Sting. I have a lot of Paul Newman films, don’t I? But they’re so good!

 

Enter the Dragon (1973,
97% Tomatometer)



Enter the Dragon

If we want to talk about the movies that have made an impact in what I do in the action realm — Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. I’ve watched that countless times. That is a standalone pioneer in action movies, and anyone that was inspired by Bruce Lee…I’m sure everyone that has ever done an action movie has just drooled over how full of talent Bruce Lee was, and how unique he was.

[On the first time he saw Enter the Dragon]: I was a kid; my brother had posters of Bruce Lee on the wall. My brother’s you know, punching me and he was a lot bigger than me; I was like, what? I couldn’t see the movie, I was tiny. But as soon as I was able to steal the VHS and stick it in, it was like, Gee, this guy is just…so avant-garde, he’s years above, so far ahead of his own time. So that made a massive impact in my life.

Next: Jason Statham on Transporter 3, Corey Yuen’s diminished involvement, and his plans to team up with Sly Stallone and Jet Li.

I hear you visit Rotten Tomatoes…

Jason Statham: Sometimes, yeah! You’re making all these films, and sometimes – hey, listen, it can be quite depressing or it can give you a big head for all the wrong reasons. So I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but sometimes you spend so many hours making these films…people are going to give an opinion on them, and everyone’s entitled to an opinion. There’s always good and there’s always bad. So it’s best not to take it too seriously, but at the same time it’s nice to know people support what you’re doing, and at the same time you also get the ol’ custard pie. “That was a piece of crap!” But at the end of the day, no one tries to make a bad movie. And people really do work hard. And there are a lot of people involved. And sometimes it doesn’t end up the way it was supposed to end up. So to think that some people just say, “Well that was a piece of shit…” It’s quite harsh when you read that. But at the end of the day, it’s just us trying to do good.

And you’re just a part of the whole picture…

JS: Yeah, you’re not solely responsible for the finished product. But it is what it is; people like feedback.

The Bank Job got great reviews.

JS: I know! I was like, hey, somebody likes a movie of mine!

[rtimage]MapID=1197818&MapTypeID=2&photo=12&legacy=1[/rtimage]
You mentioned how influential Bruce Lee was to you; in many of the scenes in your movies, but especially in Transporter 3, you seem to be going for such a precise physicality that is reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s lightning-quick moves and poses.

JS: Oh, God. Bruce Lee was just so lightning-fast. People try to emulate him in whatever way they can, but to try and do what he was doing…you’re just inspired by it; you’re not trying to say, look, I can do that. No one can do what he did.

And Corey Yuen, by the way, is the one that creates all these sequences. [Yuen directed the first Transporter film, served as second unit director on Transporter 2, and choreographed the action in Transporter 3.] He’s ultimately responsible for those choreographed pieces.

Now, Corey directed the first Transporter; the second film was by Louis Leterrier (Incredible Hulk). In the third Transporter, you’ve got a new director, Olivier Megaton. How different has it been working from movie to movie with these different directors?

[rtimage]MapID=1197818&MapTypeID=2&photo=11&legacy=1[/rtimage]
JS: think it’s difficult, because this time the action sequences took on a bit of a different twist. Normally Corey Yuen gets to edit the sequences; because he creates them, he’s responsible for the snip, snip, snip, and puts them together in his own musical way. But this time, Olivier – who’s obviously the director – he wanted to give it a new twist, a fresh twist, and basically put them together in what he saw as the best way. It’s only down to individual taste, really. I don’t know whether it was better…I hope it was.

But Corey still choreographed the sequences?

JS: Yes, but usually if you choreograph it, you usually edit it, too. But you know, Olivier has a very certain style of filmmaking, and it’s very stylistic and cool; I think he’s done a great job. But it is very different to the previous two. A lot faster; doesn’t have the silky-smooth feel. A little bit of timing was lost. But at the same time, some people like that; it’s a little more contemporary. It’s all about flavor, it’s all about what you like.

Can you talk a bit about The Expendables, which was just announced?

JS: Yeah, we’re gonna team up with Sly, who’s going to write, direct and star in The Expendables movie and I’m going along for the ride. With Jet Li as well! It’ll be a powerhouse combo – get out of the way, motherf***ers! (laughs) That’s what it should be called.

Will you be fighting each other?

JS: No, we’ll be on the same squad. There’ll be some ass to be kicked. I’m looking forward to it.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Robert Pattinson, Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, and Judd Apatow.

Tag Cloud

CBS All Access teaser hispanic Summer Film Festival latino indiana jones adaptation parents sag awards Ellie Kemper Alien The Arrangement gangster canceled TV shows godzilla criterion See It Skip It twilight concert Baby Yoda kong Black History Month Pirates Red Carpet supernatural Interview serial killer TLC Kids & Family animated 73rd Emmy Awards live action satire Marvel Television book critics Rocky GIFs YA 2017 Tubi FXX obituary women Action transformers Disney Plus Legendary basketball video independent wonder woman Pet Sematary halloween tv toronto saw TCA Winter 2020 kaiju Pixar dramedy adenture facebook zombies Certified Fresh GLAAD hidden camera slasher discovery black finale Pride Month elevated horror Paramount Plus black comedy feel good Freeform YouTube YouTube Red halloween American Society of Cinematographers FX on Hulu king kong dexter Starz Arrowverse Disney+ Disney Plus australia asian-american 2016 tv talk Marvel Syfy A&E TBS scary know your critic rotten cars sitcom christmas movies 99% Winter TV target Pacific Islander Martial Arts popular New York Comic Con DirecTV Film Warner Bros. foreign Election Spectrum Originals WarnerMedia space genre dc crime drama young adult rt labs critics edition zero dark thirty Toys composers Set visit Cannes Fox News Valentine's Day versus USA Network olympics Tomatazos historical drama Exclusive Video Peacock crime VOD SundanceTV Music superman The CW archives The Walt Disney Company natural history sports war jamie lee curtis royal family werewolf CNN Character Guide Ghostbusters stoner cats CW Seed Classic Film Crunchyroll indie revenge series Schedule hollywood 72 Emmy Awards 2021 Mary Poppins Returns true crime award winner theme song ABC Signature Amazon scary movies Comics on TV science fiction Premiere Dates Columbia Pictures Instagram Live japan National Geographic Travel Channel toy story technology venice Netflix Christmas movies romantic comedy Sundance cinemax talk show Musicals Mindy Kaling spider-man BAFTA Grammys Amazon Prime 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards social media aliens Thanksgiving The Purge Lifetime game show universal monsters PBS Watching Series Super Bowl Apple TV+ Rock cancelled television Logo LGBT Disney Channel Universal Calendar A24 period drama binge Awards Tour San Diego Comic-Con Fargo Binge Guide Spring TV Holiday cops HBO X-Men The Academy batman nature screenings anime festival cooking ESPN 24 frames hist Quiz ratings dceu Stephen King movie legend Emmys art house ABC Family Rom-Com ID biopic First Reviews psychological thriller Marvel Studios live event marvel comics Comic Book new star wars movies Reality Competition south america romance DC streaming service comiccon Star Trek 007 renewed TV shows Showtime USA Writers Guild of America news SDCC Fox Searchlight children's TV based on movie Shudder 71st Emmy Awards OWN AMC Plus zombie streaming cartoon telelvision Horror Creative Arts Emmys Comic-Con@Home 2021 MTV NYCC french Tumblr blockbusters Christmas child's play a nightmare on elm street directors Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt richard e. Grant First Look heist movie mutant mission: impossible comic Discovery Channel die hard Mudbound IMDb TV spanish language mob Walt Disney Pictures political drama Bravo Animation BBC Disney miniseries unscripted 4/20 Family worst AMC Television Critics Association Nickelodeon harry potter dogs The Walking Dead comic book movies emmy awards President spider-verse ghosts cults reviews documentary Crackle comics Comedy medical drama police drama Wes Anderson El Rey rt labs Trophy Talk singing competition PaleyFest posters sequel Spike Pop TV Disney streaming service Women's History Month rom-coms rotten movies we love marvel cinematic universe Tarantino Trailer Lucasfilm Brie Larson Drama video on demand IFC Films dark what to watch quibi Ovation Song of Ice and Fire scene in color Sci-Fi Elton John films documentaries CBS worst movies Musical Podcast TCM screen actors guild Vudu Sundance TV Cosplay international scorecard action-comedy Dark Horse Comics Nat Geo Mary Tyler Moore spanish Oscars diversity mockumentary E3 TruTV movies MCU nfl Apple TV Plus nbcuniversal 2018 kids The Witch Marathons E! james bond CMT witnail classics free movies mcc canceled Hear Us Out VH1 Photos TV renewals hispanic heritage month vampires Hulu 21st Century Fox Food Network Amazon Studios Paramount Network green book MSNBC Rocketman Year in Review razzies HBO Max Fantasy Heroines high school breaking bad Sony Pictures Masterpiece stand-up comedy Captain marvel TV One Extras Nominations DGA NBC Pop Star Wars Teen name the review Black Mirror suspense all-time king arthur laika DC Comics festivals Reality Superheroes vs. chucky travel sopranos cancelled Opinion Winners blaxploitation BBC One Box Office 2019 football Video Games docuseries Tokyo Olympics Anna Paquin crime thriller golden globes docudrama aapi joker Turner Classic Movies disaster Acorn TV IFC game of thrones book adaptation golden globe awards Countdown superhero Epix NBA Mystery TV movies Shondaland FX Lifetime Christmas movies Image Comics biography blockbuster PlayStation 2020 prank best cancelled TV shows Fall TV Netflix Amazon Prime Video RT History debate 93rd Oscars fresh Holidays Academy Awards deadpool new zealand WGN spain Infographic Polls and Games critic resources BET casting Awards trailers 90s justice league boxoffice DC Universe Chernobyl sequels TIFF spy thriller TCA Sundance Now ITV adventure RT21 45 anthology Apple Hallmark franchise reboot BET Awards TNT Cartoon Network dreamworks robots Adult Swim Emmy Nominations Paramount Hallmark Christmas movies remakes new york OneApp ViacomCBS GoT slashers lord of the rings APB fast and furious thriller Country HBO Go Funimation TCA 2017 streaming movies Sneak Peek 1990s comedies History 20th Century Fox Comedy Central FOX monster movies pirates of the caribbean LGBTQ cancelled TV series TCA Awards TV Land Neflix japanese stop motion Television Academy Universal Pictures YouTube Premium Esquire Best and Worst dragons psycho Trivia Turner Mary poppins television spinoff Broadway crossover TV SXSW boxing rt archives Biopics BBC America Superheroe comic books comic book movie strong female leads italian politics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina jurassic park Western 2015 ABC Avengers Britbox VICE Lionsgate doctor who Endgame