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The 5 essential Jason Statham movies to get you prepared for The Meg

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, along comes this summer's oversized shark movie The Meg to scare you back onto dry land.

It's Jason 'The Stath' Statham vs a rampaging megalodon in the upcoming action-thriller, as everyone's favourite big screen tough guy faces off against a gargantuan Great White that threatens all of humanity.

If that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, we've round up the five essential Statham movies to get you ready for The Meg's arrival...

1. Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

The film that gave Statham his big screen break, Guy Ritchie's fast-talking British gangster flick was an early indication of The Stath's no-nonsense charisma.

Also starring hard-man Vinnie Jones, Lock, Stock is slick, stylish, gritty and packed with memorable one-liners. Statham plays Bacon, a street salesman who ends up in the seedy underworld of London after his mate Eddy (Nick Moran) winds up owing a notorious business owner a rather large sum of money. There's double-crossing and surprises aplenty in this riotous, violent cult classic, and amid a great ensemble cast, Statham manages to be one of the stand-outs.

With Hollywood beckoning, Statham went on to work with Ritchie again in Snatch (2000), the all-star follow-up to Lock, Stock, and the critically derided Revolver (2005).


2. The Transporter (2002)

This is arguably the film that cemented Statham as a genuine action star, and also proved that he could front his own two-fisted franchise. Mercenary Frank Martin (Statham) is tasked with transporting various unknown packages between high profile clients – however, complications soon arise when one of the packages turns out to be a person.

Some 16 years later, audiences have been treated to two additional Transporter movies, which took the choreographed fights and action set-pieces to even more ludicrously enjoyable extremes. Any movie that features Statham taking down heavies in increasingly outrageous ways (including the now infamous brawl when covered in oil) gets our vote immediately.


3. Crank (2006)

The sheer nutty premise of Crank alone should earn it a place on any list, and all credit to Statham for totally selling this performance, and the outrageous concept. Professional assassin Chev Chelios (Statham) is injected with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops. Cue a series of intentionally ridiculous set pieces, stunts, thrills and all-out craziness – albeit with a twisted, blackly comic edge.

Crank proved that Statham was an actor fully committed to a role, putting 100% into the physical output, as well as showing that he has a bit of a sense of humour when it comes to selecting projects. When watching Crank, it's obvious Statham is aware of how utterly bonkers the movie is, but this sense of humility is key to his appeal.


4. Spy (2015)

Statham's action roles are often tongue in cheek and slyly funny in their sense of macho bravado. His casting in Paul Feig's deliriously entertaining espionage comedy Spy is therefore a stroke of genius: he is, in essence, playing somebody who could have stepped out of the Transporter universe, albeit in the context of an out-and-out comedy movie, and it's precisely that poker-faced sense of machismo that serves as the basis of Spy's funniest moments.

As boastful CIA agent Rick Ford, a man who, allegedly, appeared in front of Congress as Barack Obama and re-attached one arm with the other, Statham delivers a ruthlessly self-deprecating turn that earned widespread acclaim. Statham also manages to upstage nominal star Melissa McCarthy, someone famed for her improvisational comic skills – no mean feat, and one of the many reasons why Spy became a huge hit.


5. Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

Just when you thought this full-throttle franchise couldn't come loaded with any more testosterone, along came the seventh movie, which pitted The Stath against returning stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.

Statham's villain, Deckard Shaw, has history with Dom Toretto's (Diesel) carjacking crew – they were responsible for the death of his brother Owen (Luke Evans) in the sixth movie, and he's therefore gunning for them. This manifests in all manner of bone-crunching fight sequences, including a glass-shattering face-off between Deckard and Johnson's Hobbs, before Shaw, reluctantly, sides with our heroes during the climax of Fast & Furious 8.

Whilst he was sparingly used in Fast & Furious 7, sometimes less is more, and Statham undoubtedly stole every single scene he was in. And the popularity of his character has now helped pave the way for a Hobbs & Shaw spin-off movie, due to hit our screens in 2019. That's the power of The Stath for you.

Does a giant shark stand any chance against the might of The Stath? With The Meg due for release on 10th August, tweet us your favourite Jason Statham movies @Cineworld.

Sarah Buddery is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.