Breaking conventions: Jason Statham redefines the action hero archetype, emerging as the unconventional icon of strength and resilience.TD

They don’t make movie tough guys like they used to. In the ’60s and ’70s, there were Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood. In the ’80s and ’90s, it was Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis. But nowadays, there aren’t a whole lot of bankable action stars willing to pick up a crowbar and beat the stuffing out of bad guys.

Blitz (2011)

Maybe that’s why we have a soft spot for Jason Statham movies. The chrome-domed Cockney badass is a throwback to the macho stars of the past. Whether he’s burning rubber behind the wheel in the Transporter movies, getting jacked-up on adrenalin in the loco Crank flicks, or teaming up with his pugnacious predecessors in The Expendables, Statham feels like a bona fide throwback to the good ol’ days.

Which is why I’m a little surprised that his latest film, the rogue cop thriller Blitz, is making its debut not on 2,000 screens but instead is going direct-to-DVD in the States on Aug. 23.

The film, which opened in U.K. theaters back in May, is like a British version of Dirty Harry, with Statham as chain-smoking, hard-drinking, stubbly, South East London police sergeant.

He’s big on breaking rules, flipping the bird to his superiors, and, of course, excessive force. But just as he’s burning out on the job, a serial cop killer starts murdering his pals on the force. And we all know what that means: It’s Statham time, sucka!

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