As an action star, Statham is a somewhat unusual performer. He is an
extraordinary individual star who brings something new to the field with his
visually stunning physical prowess, complex stunt work and ambiguous
transnational persona. But he presents more than just that of the quick-fire
lone wolf tradition. Many of his leading roles are well sustained by
interaction with compelling secondary casts (such as the Crank and
Transporter franchises), and even his comic turn in Spy works so effectively
due to the fractious relationship created with other figures. His screen
presence is often not the singularly extraordinary ‘best of the best’, but
more akin to ‘[one of the] best of the best’. His acting reflects this
stance. Therefore, this chapter will explore the landscape of Jason
Statham’s performances in order to think about Statham’s own individual
acting technique and how this functions across wider ensemble casts – from
supporting players to other major icons of cinema.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.