Writer-director Guy Ritchie was one of the main contributors to making Jason Statham a movie star, and their collaboration has continued for decades.
Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham have collaborated on some great movies — and some not-so-great ones. Ritchie is the director who gave Statham his break in the film industry and, effectively, he’s the one who made him a movie star. Their collaboration began with the double whammy of crime comedies Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. The duo later paired up for another dark comedic gangster movie, Revolver, and after a lengthy hiatus from working together, they reunited for a couple of high-octane action thrillers, Wrath of Man and Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre.
Statham started his career on Britain’s national diving team and later worked as a model before Ritchie gave him his first acting gig. Since then, Statham has become one of Hollywood’s go-to guys for gritty, tough-as-nails roles. Statham’s various action movie franchises — including Transporter, Crank, The Expendables, The Meg, and Fast & Furious — might not have happened if Ritchie hadn’t seen a star quality in him and cast him as “Bacon” in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. That movie reinvigorated the British crime film genre, but not all of Ritchie and Statham’s movies have been so successful. Here are all their collaborations ranked from worst to best.
With a 15% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a lackluster IMDb rating of 6.3, Revolver is one of the biggest critical failures of Guy Ritchie’s career — however, while it’s very far from being one of the best movies Ritchie has directed, it’s actually not the worst. In the movie, Jason Statham plays Jake Green, a gambler who seeks revenge against the mafia boss responsible for his seven-year stint in solitary confinement and then gets drawn into a deadly game. This relatively simplistic premise spins out into a convoluted plot that gets impaired by its own overreaching ambition.
In combining Ritchie’s usual wisecracking mobsters with a Buddhist philosophy, Revolver becomes too muddled and incoherent for its own good. Ritchie’s Revolver script, co-written with Léon: The Professional director Luc Besson, doesn’t use its clever narrative devices as organically as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch; it gets too complex to allow room for the action scenes and comic interplay that made those movies so much fun. Revolver’s star-studded cast, including such legendary actors as Goodfellas star Ray Liotta, Kingsman’s Mark Strong, and The Sopranos’ Vincent Pastore, is let down by an overcomplicated plot and a confused philosophical message.
Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre (2023)
As its middling 65% Rotten Tomatoes score and 6.7 IMDb rating would suggest, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre isn’t a mind-blowing masterpiece that will change audiences’ lives, but it’s still well worth a watch. Jason Statham stars as Orson Fortune, a secret agent who reluctantly teams up with a famous movie star to save the world from a deadly new weapons technology. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is an exciting action comedy with plenty of action and plenty of comedy, achieving the full potential of its quirky Bond-goes-to-Hollywood premise without breaking any new ground.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre isn’t as gritty as a lot of Guy Ritchie’s movies. After a run of visceral, hard-hitting thrillers, this offbeat spy caper marked a refreshing change of pace for the actor-director pairing. Statham carries the movie with effortless charisma, offering his own take on the 007 archetype with Sean Connery’s suaveness and Roger Moore’s tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Aubrey Plaza is hilarious as always as Fortune’s tech-savvy sidekick, and Hugh Grant relishes the opportunity to ham it up as a larger-than-life villain, much like he did in Paddington 2.
Wrath Of Man (2021)
Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man, an English-language remake of the French actioner Le Convoyeur, was met with a similarly lukewarm reception to Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, garnering a 67% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.1 rating on IMDb. But it’s a riveting, action-packed thriller bolstered by inventive nonlinear storytelling and a surprising twist. Wrath of Man, which is one of Jason Statham’s best movies overall, starts off as pretty standard action fare. Statham plays the cold and enigmatic H, who takes a job as a security guard on a cash truck and eviscerates various bands of robbers who attempt to steal his loot.
At first, H just seems to be great at foiling heists. But Wrath of Man becomes a lot more interesting and engaging when it dives into the mysterious antihero’s backstory in the second act. The movie opens with a string of explosive set-pieces right out of the gate then slows down significantly around the midpoint to fill in H’s vengeful motivations. The action eventually comes back around, and the emotional context provided by the flashbacks ensures that the violence is more engaging this time around.
Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Guy Ritchie’s feature-length directorial debut, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, got his career off to a terrific start. Lock, Stock’s darkly comedic crime saga kicks off with a mafia poker game that goes horribly wrong, after which a low-level crook in way over his head has just a week to pay a powerful local mobster the half a million pounds he owes him. The movie’s 75% score on Rotten Tomatoes and its 8.2 rating on IMDb indicate that it’s a favorite with both critics and audiences.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was the breakout movie for both Ritchie and Jason Statham, establishing the former’s unique cinematic voice as Britain’s answer to Quentin Tarantino and introducing the grit, charisma, and star power that has gone on to define the latter’s acting career. Long after its heyday with films like Get Carter, The Italian Job, and The Long Good Friday, British gangster and crime films had gotten stagnant. Then Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels came along. Ritchie gave the genre a shot in the arm with a fast-paced, fun-filled, pitch-black comedy.