The Italian Job (2003)
Back to back high-octane, well-crafted action movies! This trend unfortunately won't continue, but after this and The Transporter, Statham really could have made the move into superstardom if he'd had the right movie to follow these. That unfortunately didn't pan out, but good that he had a chance to be involved in a high-profile, big star movie like this. Would love to see him opposite Marky Mark again some day, they really play well off each other and felt like they had known each other forever.
This is probably the best non-Ritchie plot of any movie Statham is in. A fair bit of it is predictable and it has the obligatory happy Hollywood ending, but there are a couple of very decent twists and some very solid writing. I enjoyed all the time spent planning the raid on Ed's house only to have to pull the plug on it with nary an action scene to be had. Also love Ed predictably getting his in the end, but they handle it very well and it makes for a wonderfully satisfying end to the movie.
Some excellent ensemble work here and while Marky Mark is naturally the lead, they balance out screentime with the rest of the cast nicely. Charlize was particularly good and her nervousness at confronting Ed was well played and gave an unexpected level of drama to those scenes. As usual, Seth steals nearly every scene he's in and I love his narration of Statham chatting up Becky from the cable company. "Yeah, you're not to bright, are you?" "No" "Perfect" The outtakes on that are hilarious as well.
Special nod of appreciate for making the Cooper Mini a complete badass in its own right in this. They look simply stunning, maneuver like everything else is in slow motion, and were an inspired choice of getaway/transport vehicle. Especially fun given how many shots have the actors actually doing their own driving. Statham of course has a history there, but Charlize was crazy-fun to watch and she seemed to be genuinely enjoying herself.
Badassery Quotient - 8
No hand-to-hand combat, but Statham's oozing style and charisma. While he doesn't fire a weapon, he does at least get to pose menacingly with an automatic for a bit. Some great dialogue and excellent driving sequences push the meter pretty high on this one.
Rewatchability - Yes please
Another one I want to immediately rewatch. Very nicely paced with not one or two, but three full capers to watch planned or executed. Worth watching again for the Cooper Mini sequences alone. Absolutely recommended to any fan of heist or action movies. Good stuff.
Up next - Cellular and we enter the uncharted area between The Italian Job and Transporter 3 where I apparently up and stopped watching Statham's movies. No idea what happened there, but will be interesting to see what he was up to while I was distracted by something shiny for a few years.