Who's In It: Jason Staham, Ben Foster, Tony Goldwyn, Donald Sutherland
The Basics: In this remake of a Charles Bronson pic with the same name, Arthur Bishop (Statham) is a lone wolf who gets The Job done (that is super secret spy code for He Kills People Dead). He doesn't make mistakes, he doesn't get emotionally involved, and he looks super good in cargo pants and mock turtlenecks. The sinister corporation he works for (who needs a strangely high number of people killed, by the way) sends him on a job that tests his loyalty and work ethic. Soon he finds himself breaking all kinds of rules, including letting the son of his best friend (Ben Foster) come along with him on jobs and learn the trade. Soon they find themselves becoming the hunted, and chaos ensues.
What's the Deal: Jason Statham is quickly becoming the 21st century's Bruce Willis--I am convinced that when the apocalypse comes, the only things left surviving on the planet will be cockroaches and this Derbyshire-born bloke. When I first saw that this film was being made I jokingly referred to it as Transporter 4, but I was brutally rebuffed--this film was great and stands on its own. The original is fun too, but Bronson's strong and silent persona doesn't bring empathy to the character like Statham does. Add in Ben Foster's complete unpredictability and intensity, you've got yourself a real powder keg. He plays the entire film perched on the edge of insanity, and he terrified me. It was definitely one of the most nail-biting performances I have seen in a long time. I couldn't wait to see what he did next. In fact, he did such a good job of playing an unstable wackadoo that I am convinced this is who he is in real life. If you see Ben Foster walking down the street towards you, RUN!
There are Lights and Camera, but mostly ACTION! The stunts in this movie are great. It seems like at every turn, someone is jumping out of a window on the 32nd story, driving a boat at high speeds, or walking away nonplussed from an explosion. Going to see this movie, all I cared about was seeing stuff blow up and I got it. Statham and Foster also make a great team here, rappelling in unison and crawling through walls like old friends.
Beware the Throwaway Storyline: Statham's wham bam thank you ma'am lady, played by Mini Anden, is the only way this movie doesn't exceed the original. This chick is at a bar, slender and winking, and she and Statham launch into a weirdly abrupt sex scene that is reminiscent of the creepy-desperate alien sex in Species. Then she makes fun of his name, he leaves, comes back later, lather, rinse, repeat. The original makes this way more compelling and gives an interesting insight into the character, but this just serves as eye candy.
PS. I love to hate you, Tony Goldwyn. Ever since Ghost, you infuriate me and I love every second of it. Congrats on being a successful actor and director…but if you ever see me walking down the street towards you, RUN!