Hobbs & Shaw teams up Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as reluctant partners, but which actor is really the better action star? If only one of them could continue to have a career based on your decision, which would you choose?
This is, deliberately, a difficult decision. Both actors are charismatic, likable movie stars. Both have made a fair number of entertaining movies, even outside their pairings in the Fast & Furious franchise. Unfortunately, both have made quite a few duds as well.
It’s really hard to dislike Dwayne Johnson. With the right vehicle tailored to his strengths, I feel like he could be this generation’s preeminent action star, what Arnold Schwarzenegger was to the 1980s and early ’90s. Sadly, I don’t think he’s found that vehicle yet. The Furious franchise may use him well, but until this new spinoff he’s been a supporting player to Vin Diesel’s hero. Johnson’s other star projects, even the ones that have been hits like G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, have been pretty mediocre as movies. (I’m excluding Moana from this discussion since it’s not an action flick.)
Jason Statham also has a very appealing screen presence, though he has largely focused on B-level projects. While he doesn’t have a lot of range as an actor (neither does Johnson), he proved in Spy that he has a surprisingly strong facility for comedy.
Looking over the respective filmographies, the highpoints of Statham’s career (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Snatch; the gonzo insanity of the Crank franchise) exceed anything in Johnson’s, and none of his duds (of which there are many, admittedly) are nearly as bad as Doom or Hercules.
Advantage: Jason Statham?
Jason Statham has this great swagger, easily selling the tough-guy-cool. He can also lob sarcastic humor like the way only someone trained on Guy Ritchie dialog could. That being said, Johnson has a greater range, being able to pull off serious-yet-sincere roles like ‘Snitch’, family humor like ‘Tooth Fairy’, and even excellent voice work such as ‘Moana’.
So while the question is, who is the better action star, what makes Johnson’s action movies as enjoyable as they are is because he can bring in varying degrees of his humor or dramatic skills. When you cast Statham, you get Statham.
I agree with the synopsis. The Rock has towering screen presence and charm, but just hasn’t connected the best material. The best action film he’s been in is ‘Fast Five’, which was Diesel and Walker’s show. His best action movie where he plays the lead is probably still ‘The Rundown’, and he should’ve topped that one by now.
Statham has done way better movies. He’s got an established persona and frequently plays very similar roles (world’s greatest hitman/getaway driver), but I never get tired of him. His willingness to totally commit to his performance in those ‘Crank’ movies or show up for 10 seconds in ‘Collateral’ makes him a champ.
I did not enjoy The Rundown at all, personally.
In Europe, ‘The Rundown’ is called ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. Imagine my surprise when ‘Jumanji 2’ was announced. Confusing as fork.
I’m greatly amused by the photographic trickery that must have been necessary to make Statham look as tall as Johnson in the post’s header image. He must be standing ten feet ahead of him with the distance compressed by a telephoto lens.
The Rock has yet to make a good movie.
He’s got the “it” factor. But either he, or his agent suck at choosing material.
He does not yet have a Terminator, a Rambo, a John McClane.
Hell, he doesn’t even have a Running Man yet.
Jason Statham for me. The Rock little by little is getting better for me but Staham has better acting chops. I think Johnson should get into some hard R gritty goodness. I know he’s done some before, but he should do more.
‘Pain & Gain’ was R, but what a truly painful movie. Unpleasant, even. I felt dirty after watching it.
The Rock is a better actor. End of discussion.
This. Even when he’s in a crappy movie, his acting skills usually shine. The show Ballers is a really good example of his acting chops.