The resurgence of Sylvester Stallone as an action hero speaks volumes of the
noticeable deficit of tough-guy leading men in movies for going on two decades.
Action heroes like Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis peaked in
the ... moremid 1990s, and their on-screen replacements have been few and far between.
One of the few actors to step up into the role of action star with any
consistency has been Jason Statham, whose latest film, "The Mechanic," opens this month.
Still more of a cult star than a bona fide movie star, possessing acting
talent that is more charisma than emotional dexterity, and with almost no
hairline to speak of, Jason Statham has emerged -- unlikely as it may seem -- as
one of the leading action heroes in contemporary film. He is part Charles
Bronson circa 1973, mixed with a dash of Dolph Lundgren, a measure of Jean
Claude Van Damme, just a pinch of Warren Oates in "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo
Garcia," and at least half a dozen other character actors who became genuine
movie stars even though conventional wisdom would have kept them in supporting
With over 30 credits to his name, ranging from cameos to leading roles,
heroes to villains, Statham is, for better or worse, one of the leading tough
guys of this generation. And yet he is still not a name commodity the way past
cinematic tough guys were, in which the utterance of their last name alone spoke
volumes. Perhaps it is a sign of the times, or maybe Statham's time is just
around the corner. Whatever the case, here are some career highs and lows.