By Malice Intended of Planet Ill
Every actor fears being typecast. No matter how great the fame or how big the payday, no one wants to be known as a one trick pony. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. When an actor establishes himself as one thing, audiences sometimes have a problem accepting them as anything else. If you really want your fans to follow you into uncharted territory, you have to honor their trust by making your transition gradual and choosing roles that do not completely betray what they have come to expect from you, at least not at first.
Blitz, the first production from Lionsgate UK, is a serial killer thriller with a brutally novel twist. Jason Statham plays Brant, a hardnosed London police officer on the trail of “Blitz.” Blitz, as he has been dubbed by the media, is a serial killer that targets police officers instead of hapless civilians. Things become complicated when the homophobic Brant is teamed up with a homosexual partner (Paddy Considine) while on the case. As they work out their differences, Blitz continues his vicious rampage.
The film is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Irish author Ken Bruen, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nathan Parker. Though it takes place in London, the trailer has a decidedly American feel. The editing seems timed to the pulsating electronic music that underscores the slick visuals. While Statham is indeed sporting the same British tough guy persona that is by now quite familiar to audiences, those really paying attention will notice the context is somewhat different. The attitude is the same, but this time he’s not some highly trained superhero. Brant is clearly flawed. How much these flaws will be explored in the film is anyone’s guess, but it does show a bit of ambition on Statham’s part.
It is clear that Statham realizes that audiences will soon tire of the unreality displayed in the Transporter and Crank films, regardless of how tongue-and-cheek the presentation is. Action heroes who lack any real acting chops find themselves in an untenable position when age catches up with them and/or their audience outgrows them. Statham sees the writing on the wall and he is at least attempting to make the necessary adjustments. Blitz is not a complete 180 degree turn for him, but it shows that he is learning how to apply his skillset differently. Blitz looks as though it moves just as fast as any of his action vehicles, but offers something more in the way of characterization and story. If Statham can make it work, his career may indeed have a second act.