Originally published in 2018, this article by Vulture is being republished to coincide with the release of “Expend4bles,” which features Jason Statham reprising his role as a character with an outrageously bizarre name that ranks high on the list. “The Meg” sees Statham facing off against a massive prehistoric shark in what is almost a perfect movie, except for the fact that it fails to provide him with one of the defining traits of his career: truly eccentric character names. While some of Statham’s franchises have saddled him with dull names, only Mark Wahlberg and Matthew McConaughey come close to his level of over-the-top, unrealistic character naming. With his ability to bring a serious tone to even the most absurd of situations, Statham is a natural fit for action films as well as comedies. The article then goes on to rank Statham’s most ridiculous character names, beginning with Yves Gluant from “The Pink Panther.”
Jason Statham made a surprise appearance in the Pink Panther film that starred Steve Martin. He played the role of a French soccer coach named “Yves Gluant” but remained uncredited. The joke here is that Statham’s image is typically associated with working-class English, but in the movie, he portrays a French character, which adds a layer of complexity to his performance. In the Fast and Furious franchise, Statham is known for his role as Deckard Shaw.
The character of “Deckard Shaw” exudes exaggerated masculinity in a way that is more cartoonish than silly, aligning perfectly with the tone of the entire Fast and Furious series. And let’s not forget, #JusticeforHan always. Another similar character is Handsome Rob from The Italian Job.
Rob is quite a looker, and that’s pretty much all there is to say about him. His name may not be very creative, but it certainly suits him well. This reminds me of Jensen Garner Ames from Death Race.
The moniker “Jensen Garner Ames” does not belong to a race-car driver who was falsely accused of killing his spouse and subsequently imprisoned in a facility that compels drivers to participate in lethal competitions for a chance at freedom. Rather, it is the name of a cast member from a so-so comedy series on the CW network. One could imagine it being the title given to a character on a Real Housewives program – perhaps a lawyer specializing in property laws or a surgeon who specializes in cosmetic procedures. This individual would likely be prosperous but not overly so, and may have undergone a hair transplant procedure.
It’s quite surprising that Jason Statham plays the role of a man named Evan Funsch, who explains Multiverse Theory to Jet Li. One would have thought that the role would be played by someone like Paul Giamatti. Nonetheless, it is what it is, and it’s interesting to see Statham in such a unique role. Another unexpected role for Statham was that of Farmer in the film “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.”
Even the presence of Jason Statham as the lead character named Nick Wild cannot rescue this movie from being utterly disappointing. The film, titled Wild Card, suffers from a lack of creativity, evident in the unimaginative naming convention used for character development. It’s not surprising that a movie with the title Wild Card has issues with nomenclature, but seriously, what were they thinking? The story features Nick Wild, a man who is emotionally disconnected from his wife and an expert at using boomerangs as weapons. His back story involves him being found as a toddler on a battlefield by Ron Perlman, who gives him the name Nick Wild. When his wife asks if he has another name, she is told that Nick became the man he is through his actions. Thus, he could be called anything, like ‘Boomerang Master’ or ‘Tornado Book Reader.’ But let’s be clear: you should avoid watching this movie.
If you had a last name like “Wild,” it would seem odd if you didn’t live up to its meaning, right? In the movie set in Las Vegas, which can be classified as a pulp/drama/actioner and is quite strange, imagine if Jason Statham’s character was an actuary instead of a gambling-addicted bodyguard who uses a butter knife to stab Milo Ventimiglia in the face. Moving on to The Bank Job, a movie loosely based on the 1971 robbery of a London bank’s safe deposit boxes, including one allegedly containing scandalous photos of Princess Margaret, the screenwriters had creative freedom while naming the perpetrators since their identities were not known. They settled on “Terry Leather” for the leader of the gang, a salt-of-the-earth, tough-yet-tender family man. Turkish from Snatch and Bacon from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels make up the third and fourth entries.
Jason Statham was introduced to the world of unique character names by Guy Ritchie in his films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000). Statham’s characters in both films find themselves involved in unexpected criminal activity, as per Ritchie’s signature style. While the name “Turkish” is explained to have come from a plane crash, the origin of the name “Bacon” is unclear – is it his first or last name? Is he really called “Dave”? It’s almost as if he appeared fully formed as a Cockney-accented gangster Boss Baby with an adult head on an infant’s body. These mysteries remain unsolved. Another memorable character name in Statham’s repertoire is Lee Christmas from the Expendables franchise.
The Expendables franchise is notorious for its use of cheesy and sometimes offensive character names. While some like Terry Crews’ “Hale Caesar” are excellent, others like “Yin Yang” for the Asian character can be offensively stupid. However, Jason Statham’s portrayal of a knife expert named “Lee Christmas” is definitely in the excellent category. It’s even more impressive that Sylvester Stallone managed to include an “It’s Christmastime” reference in the script of the first film. Still, it’s surprising that a “Christmas comes but once a year” joke wasn’t used, as that’s what aggressively straight men supposedly enjoy discussing – each other’s genitals.
Let’s take a look at another example: Chev Chelios from the “Crank” series.
Undoubtedly, the name “Chev Chelios” is the ultimate moniker for a Grand Theft Auto character who relies on cocaine and electric shocks to survive. This name is a masterpiece and possibly the most outstanding character name ever created. The origin story of the name is hilarious, as per Mark Neveldine, one of the writers and directors of Crank and Crank: High Voltage. While working on their first film, Neveldine and Brian Taylor met a guy on set who kept bragging about drinking out of the Stanley Cup with three-time winner Chris Chelios, saying his name in a peculiar way. This made the writers laugh so hard that they decided to name their lead character after the hockey star. The name “Chev” added an extra level of masculinity to the name, creating a character that is a true force to be reckoned with. In addition, the duo aimed to create a Jack Kirby-style alliterative name, akin to Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, and Doctor Doom. Therefore, if there were ever a real-life Jack Kirby character, it would be Jason Statham’s portrayal of Chev Chelios in Crank.