Jason Statham comes from a long tradition of English hardmen who have made the transition to Hollywood. However, unlike Vinnie Jones and other predecessors, Statham has made quite the career as a leading man. In fact, his appearances in the Fast And The Furious franchise have become so popular and memorable they’ve eclipsed a lot of his older films.
However, an older Statham film is dominating streaming, as according to FlixPatrol, it is the 14th most popular film on Netflix. This film is 2007’s War. Part of the reason this film isn’t well remembered as a Statham film is that Statham shares top billing with Jet Li. And Li dominated most of the film’s marketing, as he was more famous than Statham at the time.
The film was Philip G. Atwell’s directorial debut, and it follows FBI agent John Crawford who, while trying to bring down the Yakuza in San Francisco, encounters Rogue. Rogue is a legendary assassin who used to work for the CIA but defected to the Yakuza. But, when Rogue kills Crawford’s partner, Crawford pledges revenge.
Years later, Rogue reappears, working with the Chinese Triad, setting off a gang war between the Triad and the Yakuza. Crawford sees this as his opportunity for revenge and starts hunting down Rogue while untangling the gang war. However, as he does, secrets are revealed, and this truth affects both Crawford and Rogue’s futures.
The film didn’t review well when released. It only got a 13% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics found the film boring and lacking in action until the final act. Many critics pointed out that the plot started overly cliche. They also said the ending was confusing and terribly thought out, leading to a film that felt a little bit messy and didn’t have the pure visceral excitement of other Statham or Li films.
Viewers were more kind to it, as the film made $40.7 million globally at theaters. The film also did well on DVD making $28 million thanks to the strength of its two leading men. The film also has a 51% viewer score on Rotten Tomatoes. While many reviews echo the complaints that the critics made. Many viewers point out that the fight sequence in the third act is stunning and contains all the action you would expect from Jet Li.
War is a fascinating film. While you can argue that the plot isn’t the best, Statham and Li have surprisingly good on-screen chemistry, and they work well together during action scenes. War is a film that is worth a watch merely for the third-act fight scene. This is where Statham and Li get to do what they do best. Throw each other around in a highly choreographed ballet of violence. However, viewers looking for a nuanced detective or gang film should likely look elsewhere.