Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 | 8 a.m.
There’s a heart-stopping moment in the new actioner “Parker” when British actor Jason Statham goes over the side of a skyscraper apartment building at the end of a brutal fight scene. Seconds earlier, a hired killer and he bloody it up in bathroom violence where, to save himself, Jason grabs the porcelain top of a toilet tank to whack his assailant into a marble bathtub.
But even that aggressive assault doesn’t finish the scene. This is more violent than an MMA knockout. The assassin comes back for more but winds up over Jason’s shoulders on the balcony, and both men go over the edge. Jason must be 50 floors high, and it’s for real. It’s not a stuntman stand-in. He’s hanging over the edge in a death-defying moment that has moviegoers open-jawed.
“Yes, that’s really me,” he said recently at the premiere of the film at Planet Hollywood. “It’s the toughest scene in the film. It’s the favorite scene with filmgoers when I go over the balcony. It’s a sure crowd-pleaser.” I asked if he also went headfirst from a speeding car in the middle of a gunfight to escape the firefight. “Yes, really me. Right onto the road at 40 mph,” he answered.
“I do every one of my own stunts. Call it crazy, but I feel if I didn’t do them myself, I’d be cheating the audience.” And referring to a short period of his earlier life when he was a hustler pushing questionable goods in the roving markets of England, the heartthrob added: “I don’t cheat anybody anymore. I did enough of that!”
Jason stars in the film with Jennifer Lopez. She’d just decided to get a divorce. “It was the worst time in my life, so I was being very real, too,” she said. J.Lo decides to get involved with Jason, who plays a Robin Hood thief double-crossed by five thugs connected to a Mafia kingpin.
Jason sipped a beer in a high-roller room at Planet Hollywood’s London Club as we chatted. He told me that he needed nearly a month to heal from the beating he took in the bathroom fight scene. He admitted that he’d had a safety wire as a precaution but wanted to hang over the edge without it. Film execs nixed that.
Jason believes that the success of his films is because he’s the real guy doing the real thing, and it’s not a special effect. Watch “Parker” after knowing that, and you feel sorry for the beatings he took in all those spectacular stunts as the ultimate smooth criminal.
“I’m not afraid of heights, so I would have done it. But the harness and the wire sort of hurt your arms. The stunt team was great, and they know what we’re doing. I just try to make it look good. There’s an excitement, adrenaline in doing it myself. If I didn’t have that, I don’t think the guy watching it would have it.
“It’s a thrill. I’m not afraid of the challenge. You test your skills. You face your fears. You push yourself. I do enjoy it, and I’d hate to rely on somebody else. I look at what we did on the screen, and you get a sense of achievement.”
Jason, 45, faces more incredible action in his third “Expendables” film with Sylvester Stallone. He almost made me spill my wine when he said that he’s never turned down a stunt, including the revelation that was him hanging 3,000 feet above L.A. from a helicopter.
A one-time member of the British Olympic diving team, he remains a specimen of super fitness. This generation’s box office action hero has triumphed through explosions, fights and gun battles in films including “The Transporter,” “Crank,” “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “The Mechanic.”
From his many visits the past five years to Planet Hollywood, he’s become a good U.K. mate, and as violent as he is onscreen, he is as gentle offscreen. Only when you watch Jason in “Parker” do you realize his toughness.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.