If there’s one thing I look for in a movie, it’s a lot of action and a character or two with a fun name. Admittedly, this is two things, but that’s the nice thing about Jason Statham movies: you’ll usually end up getting both anyway. Jason Statham movies are the best. Most of them are two hours or less and feature a ridiculous fight scene or action sequence and most of the time his character is named something like Chev Chelios or Terry Leather. I’m not making up either of those. Jason Statham played a character named Terry Leather in The Bank Job. A reasonable argument can be made that he is our greatest living actor. Reasonable to me, at least, which is what matters here because I’m the one writing the article.
And guess what: this is an article that ranks the names of characters Jason Statham plays in Jason Statham movies. That’s all I’m doing here. None of these rankings have anything to do with the quality of the films. I haven’t even seen the movie that contains the name I have ranked third. It’s a really good name, though, and now you have to scroll down to find out what it is. I’ll give you a hint: It’s not Terry Leather. But now you have to scroll down to find out where I ranked Terry Leather. I’m diabolical today. Almost as diabolical as the villains in Jason Statham movies.
I feel great about it. Let’s go.
TIER IV — I’m sorry but Jason Statham is not a “Luke” or a “Danny”
29. Jake Green (Revolver)
28. Luke Wright (Safe)
27. Rick Ford (Spy)
It breaks my heart to put Rick Ford this low. I love Rick Ford. It might be my favorite Statham performance to date. Some of that is the way the character takes almost 20 years of other Statham characters and turns them upside down a bit. Most of it is because Comedy Statham is a freaking revelation. He is so, so funny in Spy, every time he’s on-screen. He even looks like he’s having fun. Like, you can see it in his eyes, this “I can’t believe I’m getting to be this silly” shimmer that is so charming it should be against the law. Look at him in the “I know there’s a Face/Off machine” scene, and maybe just look if your in a place where someone shouting various t- and f-words are not ideal. Or put your headphones in and let yourself live for a couple of minutes. You deserve it.
Do you see my dilemma here? It’s perfect in every way… except that I can’t in good conscience put a name as straightforward as “Rick Ford” any higher than this on its own merits. It’s not even that it’s bad. I kind of like that a character this ridiculous has a name that simple. It would have been too much to name him, for example, Tex Montreal or Pepp Montecarlo, because the movie is already goofy and fun and tongue-in-cheek. I hate that I have to do this, but we all have jobs and this is mine, somehow. I imagine my high school guidance counselor is quite proud.
26. Bateman (London)
25. Jonas Taylor (The Meg)
See, now The Meg could have easily given him a better name than this. The Meg is a movie about a crack opening up on the ocean floor and a massive prehistoric shark emerging from it to murder everything it crosses in the sea. This movie is begging for Statham’s character — a deep-sea rescue diver who lost some people when a mission went wrong and is pulled back from his life of getting drunk in Thailand because someone has to stop the big shark and, dammit, he’s the best there ever was — to be named something outlandish like Brock Galapagos. I’m honestly kind of mad about it. Let’s move on.
24. Danny (Killer Elite)
23. Joey (Redemption)
21. (tie) Frank Martin (Transporter)
21. (tie) Airport Man (Collateral)
There are three important things to know here:
- Jason Statham makes a brief cameo in Collateral early in the movie, with the never-confirmed-but-really-fun theory being that it is his Transporter character and he and Tom Cruise’s hitman character work in similar circles
- Tom Cruise’s character in Collateral is named Vincent, but, per legend, in the early versions of the script, he was named “Vincent Collateral,” which is maybe a top-ten funniest piece of movie trivia and something I think I should note in a ranking of good names
- The Transporter movies are a lot of fun
I mean, look at this.
It is pretty funny that the dude who does all the wild stuff in this franchise has a name as boring as “Frank Martin.” It’s like if Vin Diesel’s character in the Fast & Furious movies had been named “Larry Jones.” Let your brain crank away on that hypothetical universe for a bit.
20. Ethan (Cellular)
19. Crawford (War)
TIER III — Other single names and/or nicknames that feel right
18. Mr. B (Turn It Up)
17. Monk (Mean Machine)
16. Brant (Blitz)
15. Parker (Parker)
The thing I like about Parker, an okay movie that somehow also stars Jennifer Lopez, is that Jason Statham wears a cowboy hat for a lot of it. It is a little frustrating that he looks as good as he does in a cowboy hat, because he already looked good with a prematurely bald head. “Cowboy hat” and “prematurely bald” are looks that are really hard to pull off. You’re a lucky dude if you can get either one to work for you. Statham has one of those heads that can make anything work. He could roll into a Burger King in a propeller beanie and he would still look smoldering. But I do like that he got to wear the hat. That counts for something.
14. Jasper (13)
13. Turkish (Snatch)
12. Bacon (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels)
11. Handsome Rob (The Italian Job)
If you were in a fancy grocery store — think like a Whole Foods — and you were cruising through the packaged meats section, as one does, and you stumbled across a high-end product called “Handsome Rob’s Turkish Bacon,” would you buy it?
I think I would. I don’t even think the price would matter. I would be too intrigued. I don’t necessarily like that this is true about me, but the same thing that causes it is what lets me pitch ideas to my editor like “Yo, can I just rank the names of Jason Statham characters this week,” so I guess I’m just rolling with it now. No point in fighting it.
TIER II — Various Funches and such
10. Phil Broker (Homefront)
9. Quentin Conners (Chaos)
8. Arthur Bishop (The Mechanic)
There are two Mechanic movies starring Jason Statham. They are based very loosely on the 1972 movie The Mechanic, which stars Charles Bronson as a character who is also named Arthur Bishop. I point this out because it is deeply funny to me to picture Charles Bronson leaping from a gondola onto a passing hang glider to escape a gun-toting villainess in a party dress, as Statham does in Mechanic: Resurrection, so early in the movie that the opening credits have not ended yet. It’s also funny because they absolutely would not have named this character “Arthur Bishop” if not for that tie-in. People named Arthur do not — or at least should not — leap onto passing hang gliders. It would be like if someone made a movie about a young female assassin and they named her Agnes. I kind of hope this happens now.
Mechanic 3: The Rise of Agnes
7. Agent Evan Funch (The One)
6. Deckard Shaw (Fast & Furious)
There are a number of things I like about Statham’s character from the Fast & Furious franchise. I like that he was introduced in the sixth movie as the one who murdered Han in the third movie. I like that he spent the entire seventh movie trying to murder the rest of the crew using bazookas and muscle cars. I like that none of any of that prevented him from being rolled right into the crew in the eighth movie, to the degree that he was entrusted with Dom’s infant son at one point. But mostly I like that he’s named Deckard.
I did not know Deckard was a name prior to this development. I did not even know it was a thing you could name someone. It’s so perfect, though. Jason Statham looks like a Deckard to such a degree that he should consider changing it to that in real life. More people should. Everyone should. Although, now that I type it all out, maybe that’s not a good idea. Not everyone can pull off a Deckard, just like not everyone can pull off a cowboy hat or a balding head. Paul Giamatti would not be a good Deckard, for example. But Jason Statham is. Here, watch: Deckard Statham. Admit it, this plays. If any of you ever meet Jason Statham, please pitch him this idea. I am not joking.
5. Chev Chelios (Crank)
I had almost forgotten that Statham’s character in two Crank movies — there are two Crank movies, let’s not overlook that part — is Chev Chelios. Writing this article is what reminded me. Even if no one reading it gets this far down the page, it will have been worth it to me for that alone.
TIER I — Yes, it is now time to discuss the name “Terry Leather”
4. Lee Christmas (The Expendables)
The Expendables movies are, basically, a franchise full of knowing winks. You can’t have that kind of cast and not wink at least a little. Especially not with Sylvester Stallone tweeting stuff like this during the casting.
Why would I put JCVD , and I do like him, in EXPENDABLES when I know SEACREST could destroy the one time great . ASK STEVE AUSTIN, he knows.
— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) September 17, 2010
But still, even with that noted, it is delightful that Jason Statham plays a knife-expert named Lee Christmas. That’s just great work by everyone. It’s good to acknowledge when good things happen. This is me doing that.
3. Sergeant Jericho Butler (Ghost of Mars)
Full disclosure: I have not seen the 2000 movie Ghosts of Mars. I doubt I ever will. It is a horror movie based in outer space and I generally do not enjoy scary things or space things. What I do enjoy, though, is knowing that there’s a movie out there, somewhere in this great big world of ours, where Jason Statham played a character named “Sergeant Jericho Butler.” It’s so good. It’s so good. It’s so good that I’m almost ready to take back everything I said about the name Deckard and apply it here.
I don’t think you understand how serious I am about this. If a movie was announced today, any movie, about anything, and the press release said “starring Jason Statham as Sergeant Jericho Butler,” I would shout. I would literally shout at my screen. I’m a little annoyed that the name was used in a movie I didn’t see from 20 years ago. We should have saved it. It should have been his name in Spy. It’s crazy that I’m probably the first person to realize this.
2. Nick Wild (Wild)
I need to be very clear about this:
- There is a movie called Wild
- It stars Jason Statham
- As a character named Nick Wild
Wild is a lesser Statham movie and not one I would recommend when there are so many better options out there, but it holds a special place in my heart for this at the very least.
1. Terry Leather (The Bank Job)
I know I said in the heading of this tier that I was going to “discuss” this name but I don’t see how any words I type into this box can possibly top FIRST NAME TERRY LAST NAME LEATHER.
It’s so beautiful I might cry. It had to be number one.