If anyone’s ever perfectly embodied the image of the cockney tough guy, it’s Jason Statham. A former competitive diver, Statham made his first notable blip on the action movie radar alongside Jet Li in 2001’s “The One”.
Although his appearance in the sci-fi actioner would have him drop the cockney accent (that has since become his trademark), that changed with his breakout in 2002’s “The Transporter”. This launched Statham into the stratosphere as an uncompromising, tough-as-nails, stubble-faced badass with genuine fists of fury.
Since then, Jason Statham has gone on to become of one the biggest action stars on the planet, standing as one of the cornerstones of “The Expendables” movies, and leaping aboard the “Fast and Furious” train in both villainous and heroic roles.
Along the way, his immense skill as a martial artist has been a staple of his onscreen persona, and electrified audiences with unforgettable fight sequences. Well folks, this can only mean one thing – that it’s time for another KFK countdown…So, buckle up and let’s Transport you into Mr. Statham’s Fast and Furious world, as here in descending order, are the Top 10 Jason Statham Movie Fights!
- Rogue vs Crawford — War (2007)
- The Baby Rescue — The Fate of the Furious (2017)
- The Prison Riot Escape — The Fate of the Furious
- The Hallway Fight — The Transporter (2002)
- The Tunnel Fight — The Expendables (2010)
- Lee Christmas vs Hector — The Expendables 2 (2012)
- The Garage Fight — Transporter 2 (2005)
- Hobbs vs Shaw — Furious 7 (2015)
- Hobbs & Shaw vs Brixton Lore — Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
The world saw the first double-header of Jet Li and Jason Statham in 2001’s “The One”, with the two at once portraying allies and adversaries. In a curious (and spoiler heavy) way, that would be the case for them once again with 2007’s “War”, with Statham having risen tremendously as an action star in the interim.
The poster for “War” sold the movie as the ultimate, revenge-fueled showdown with its tagline, “One wants justice. The other wants revenge.” However, things are not as linear as they seem on FBI agent John Crawford’s quest to avenge his partner’s murder at the hands of the legendary underworld assassin known only as “Rogue”.
As it turns out, Crawford’s target is a very skillful manipulator from behind the scenes, and their final confrontation completely flips the script on the vendetta the audience is rooting for. That, and it’s just an awesome, down-and-dirty smackdown of two of the world’s biggest action stars. “War” takes many twists and turns to reach its final crescendo, and the journey to get to Rogue and Crawford’s final showdown is just as satisfying as the pay-off it delivers.
“The Fate of the Furious” marked the point where Deckard Shaw would transition from villain to anti-hero and did so pretty much overnight. However, his chemistry with Hobbs in their eponymous spin-off speaks for itself, and no series has ever managed to jump the shark and actually be praised for doing so like the “Fast and Furious” movies have.
Shaw may have been Dominic Torretto’s foe in “Furious 7”, but the situation in “The Fate of the Furious” is such that Dom can’t rescue the son he never knew he had without Shaw’s help, giving way to the most comedic fight scene the franchise has ever seen. At one moment, Shaw puts his opponent into the floor like a medicine ball, the next he’s keeping a smile in the face of a giggling infant. Shaw’s leap from antagonist to antagonistic good guy may not have gotten much of a running start, but with his mid-air baby rescue, it’s safe to say that he stuck the landing.
Hobbs and Shaw first met in their thunderous office fight in “Furious 7” (and we’ll be getting to that in good time!) However, the dawn of their buddy-movie partnership really began with the two in adjacent cells in “The Fate of the Furious”.
The banter between the two is hilarious enough on its own, with their ongoing debate over who won their previous battle and who would triumph in a rematch. However, the movie stops just short of treating us to said rematch when Hobbs and Shaw find themselves in the middle of a prison riot, being pulled back from trading fisticuffs just as they’re ready to rumble once more.
Not only is it a clever bait and switch on the movie’s part, but the audience still isn’t cheated out of their desire to see them kick butt, with Hobbs and Shaw battling their way through the insanity of the riot, along with Hobbs, as he generally does, snagging the best line of the movie. Verbal sparring is as far as Hobbs and Shaw’s rematch goes, but fans of the “Fast and Furious” movies got their first collective taste at their future partnership in the superb prison riot of “The Fate of the Furious”, one that also occupies a place of honor on KFK’s list of the Top 10 Prison Fight Scenes!
As mentioned in the intro, Jason Statham first popped on the action movie radar alongside Jet Li in 2001’s “The One”, but it was with 2002’s “The Transporter” that he really began to make his mark. And while he had put down a few cops earlier in the movie, this was the point where he truly demonstrated his capacity to kick butt.
When Frank’s car is blown to smithereens after completing what he thought was a routine gig as an underworld courier, he returns for some payback, literally kicking the door in with righteous fury. Our hero finds himself taking on two axe-wielding enemies at once in a tight hallway, setting up the movie’s predilection for placing Frank in quite literally tight spots in every fight sequence.
“The Transporter” would only get more wild from there, but it was all set in motion with the movie’s introduction to Frank Martin as a fighting machine!
The idea of an action-hero Hall of Fame like “The Expendables” would have seemed like wishful thinking in the 80’s or 90’s, but Sylvester Stallone was just the man to make it happen. (True, Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped in for only a brief cameo, but such were the circumstances of a then-politician!) It also brought Jason Statham and Jet Li together for the third time following their previous team-ups in “The One” and “War”, and team-up is certainly the operative word for the climax of “The Expendables”.
With our anti-heroes outnumbered in the confines of an underground tunnel, Barney Ross (Stallone) must pull out everything he’s got for the bloodthirsty enforcer Dan Paine, played by Stone Cold Steve Austin. Meanwhile, Yin Yang and Lee Christmas (Li and Statham) are forced to double-team on the equally ruthless enforcer known as “The Brit”, played by the great Gary Daniels.
The circumstances of their previous appearances together in “The One” and “War” feel like they’ve come full circle with Li and Statham truly fighting side-by-side, and it’s capped off with a thoroughly impactful money shot indeed. Though Jet Li’s finest moment in “The Expendables” franchise would come in Yang’s blazing kitchen brawl in the opening of “The Expendables 2”, Yin Yang and Lee Christmas standing side-by-side in the tunnel battle remains among the highlight reels of the series, and of Jason Statham’s big-screen beatdowns.
The ensemble of action movie all-stars that is “The Expendables” kicked things up to an eleven with its 2012 sequel “The Expendables 2”. Jean-Claude Van Damme may have been AWOL the first go-around, but he’s on deck for part two as the sinister arms dealer, aptly named Jean Vilain.
Veteran Expendable, Lee Christmas, finds himself immediately targetted by Vilain’s right-hand man Hector, played by Scott Adkins, and the feeling is definitely mutual when they finally face-off right next to whirring helicopter blades.
“The Expendables 2” offers up a double-helping of its homage to action movies both new and old here, in roping in the frequently collaborating Scott Adkins and Van Damme, while Lee’s smackdown with Hector itself is a clear tribute to Indiana Jones’ airfield battle with a towering Nazi bruiser in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. As Lee himself observes, you can’t beat a classic!
Like the best sequels to action movie sleeper hits, 2005’s “Transporter 2” cranked up the volume and took the gloves off to deliver a greater helping of what made its predecessor popular.
The automotive action rises to a level of crowd-pleasing absurdity that the “Fast and Furious” movies wouldn’t achieve until six movies in, most notably seen in our hero’s ridiculous yet satisfying method for disarming a car bomb.
The martial arts action, meanwhile, easily equals the excellence of the first “Transporter”, especially in Frank Martin’s garage brawl with a gang of two-dozen determined henchmen. While the bus station fight raised the stakes by giving Frank the added obstacles of tight confines and oil slicked floor, the garage fight in “Transporter 2” completely flips it. Here, Frank more than holds his own against opponents wielding swords and axes, and while the score in the bus station battle communicated the cramped spot he was in, the heavy metal soundtrack here just lets you know much he’s dominating the fight.
The garage fight of “Transporter 2” had a lot to live up to with the standards set by the bus station battle by its predecessor, and it knocked it out of the park!
They may fight side-by-side today, but Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw began as enemies back in 2015’s “Furious 7”. The subsequent installments of the “Fast and Furious” series have completely reinvented Shaw into an anti-hero tangentially connected to Dominic Toretto’s family, but he was out to eliminate them all in “Furious 7”. Shaw’s vendetta would begin with his thunderous smackdown with Hobbs that puts both through the ringer and concludes without a definitive winner. That, of course, would just lay the foundation for their antagonistic buddy-movie banter and ongoing debate over, yep, you guessed it, who won the fight in “The Fate of the Furious” and “Hobbs and Shaw”.
Audiences couldn’t have foreseen that they were witnessing the beginning of a modern day Riggs and Murtaugh in the opening of “Furious 7”, but the future duo smashing each other through walls and glass tables made it a rivalry worth following until their partnership began.
As stated above, viewers couldn’t have foreseen that the two characters going head-to-head in the opening of “Furious 7” would later become a buddy-movie duo teaming-up to save the world, but here we are with “Hobbs and Shaw”.
When the shadowy Eteon terrorist group hatches a plot to “save” the planet by unleashing a deadly virus on humanity, Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw along with the latter’s sister Hattie, are the world’s only hope. However, they’ve got their work cut out for them facing off with Eteon’s most formidable enforcer, the cybernetically-enhanced Brixton Lore, played by Idris Elba.
Under the direction of stunt veteran David Leitch of “John Wick” and “Atomic Blonde” fame, Hobbs and Shaw’s cliffside showdown with Brixton is hands down the best fight sequence to date in the “Fast and Furious” series. It’s especially clear that David Leitch brought over some lessons from his work as a stuntman on Zack Snyder’s “300”, with liberal use of speed-ramping employed to make the rain-soaked battle a thing of beauty. If Hobbs and Shaw reunite once more to take down Eteon, the final fight of their eponymous first buddy-movie team-up is most definitely the template to go by!
…and in at #1 is…
The Bus Station Battle — The Transporter
In breaking his inviolable rule of never opening the package, underworld transporter Frank Martin stumbles onto a human trafficking ring passing through France, with the entire last third of the movie devoted to him battling every last henchman involved with it.
This is actually three fight scenes in one, with Frank first standing his ground against his enemies in cargo containers, before transitioning into the narrow confines of a bus, and going in for round three in the bus station itself. With the floor soaked in motor oil, Frank indulging in greased lightnin’ fightin’ keeps his balance by strapping a pair of bicycle peddles to his feet, enabling him to knock his foes down with some powerful spinning kicks.
“The Transporter” marked the beginning of Jason Statham as an action star, and kick-started his rise to the throne of the ultimate cockney butt-kicker beautifully with a virtually non-stop blast of martial arts action in its final, glorious act!