There is a checkered history when it comes to action films. The traditional mould for stars of what I like to call ‘karate guy’ films is to take a martial artist of some renown, stick him in front of a camera with actors and stuntmen, string together some sort of marginal plot (usually taking revenge on someone or protecting someone from revenge), and have him kick and punch his way through 90 minutes of fight scenes and a poorly-done romantic subplot.
There are literally hundreds of these guys and girls who have followed in the footsteps of kickboxing champion/actor/bearded wonder Chuck Norris: Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Don ‘the Dragon’ Wilson, Billy Blanks, Cynthia Rothrock, Mark Dacascos and various others have turned marital arts prowess into movie success and acting careers.
Others have taken up the mantle of Bruce Lee, starting out as actors or stuntmen before becoming martial artists: Jackie Chan, Patrick Swayze, Michelle Yeoh, Michael Dudikoff, Sasha Mitchell, Stephen Chow, Tony Jaa, Steven Seagal, and Chow Yun Fat are just a few of the many actors (mostly in Hong Kong) who have taken up the study of martial arts, or taken their own interest in martial arts into their film careers. Of course, traditional actors with no martial arts background (Charlie’s Angels) do their own fu, too, usually with the assistance of an army of stuntmen.
Click yonder link and find out just why I think Jason Statham is so badassed that he’s earned all the praise I can give him and more. I can assure you, it’s totally worth the click and the time you’d need to read it. I really think Jason Statham is nothing short of brilliant and criminally underrated.