John Powers compares Jason Statham to Steve McQueen:
McQueen could bluff at poker, hotwire a car and wield a gun without making a fetish of its size. Who wouldn't want to be like that? One who's clearly trying is Jason Statham...
I don't think Statham quite lives up to it, but Powers may have something in the comparison. Statham, perhaps, projects more power than McQueen, which creates a visceral reaction in the viewer, whereas McQueen, while possessing a similar physicality, projected a more intellectual vibe. I'm not so sure Statham could bluff at poker as well...
Now, part of Statham's appeal is that he's neither a Tom Cruise pretty-boy nor a towering monument like Clint Eastwood.
Statham belongs to the tradition of heroes, from John Wayne through Harrison Ford, who are laconic to the point of grumpiness.
Again. Not sure Statham is there (yet), but have to agree, the guy is a breath of fresh air in action movies that usually feature men who are too pretty, that get into and out of situations which are contrived and orchestrated to the point of silliness, all too easily.