Orlando Bloom, star of two of the biggest film franchises in cinema history, Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings, is reinventing himself as an action hero in the slick thriller The Shanghai Job, where he plays the head of a high tech security firm tasked with transporting a rare vase from China to London. This thrilling heist caper showcases a side of Bloom that will delight his fans, with the handsome hunk on top form as a cross between Jason Bourne and The Transporter. Here’s a look at how Bloom has remodelled himself as a 21st century tough guy.
Bloom has had his long Pirates locks cut, and bleached a fetching platinum blond, and replaced his Lord of the Rings cloak with a fetching suit and white t-shirt combo, so that he really looks the part of a slick, stylish security operator and an expert in his field.
Although he was born in the genteel, Cathedral city of Canterbury in Kent, you wouldn’t know it after watching The Shanghai Job. Here, Bloom channels his inner Jason Statham and adopts an East End of London geezer accent – which works so much better if you want to be taken seriously by a gang of armed thugs who want to remove an extremely rare vase from your possession.
Bloom takes a leaf out of Daniel Craig’s book here. Craig was better known for starring in arthouse films like The Mother and serious TV dramas such as Our Friends In The North, before he starred in the hit crime film Layer Cake – a virtual dry run for Bond that showcased his skills as a suave, handy with a gun star, and helped nab him the part of iconic action hero 007. Similarly, Bloom switched gears in the 2013 action thriller Zulu, where he plays a tough cop investigating a brutal murder – quite a change from playing romantic leads in Elizabethtown and Love and Other Disasters.
Again, like Craig parading in his trunks on the beach in Casino Royale, Bloom wastes no time showing off his buff physique in The Shanghai Job. And why wouldn’t you? If you’ve got in shape for your film role, the least you can do for your adoring fans is take off your top and give them a peek. Of course, it also lends credence to the idea that you’ll be able to hold your own when going up against the bad guys – in this case a ruthless gang of robbers who’ve got your girlfriend held hostage.
He might have been a dab hand with firing a bow and arrow or shooting a musket, but you’ve never seen Bloom like this before – racing four by fours Fast and Furious style along Shanghai’s roads, leaping off speeding motorbikes and engaging in fisticuffs with his foes in some superbly choreographed street fights – for which Bloom trained with a Shaolin master martial artist in preparation.
The theme song
Any action hero worth his salt needs a decent theme tune – the Bond films, for example, always use the biggest pop stars to record a song for each release, most recently Adele and Sam Smith providing smash hit tunes. Who’s as big, if not bigger, than those two? Hmmm – perhaps Katy Perry, former flame of Mr Bloom, whose song Roulette plays out over the end credits.
The Bourne, Bond and Transporter films all have one thing in common – exotic locales. The heroes aren’t happy unless they’re jumping from one continent to another, giving us mere mortals a glimpse of life as a high flyer. The Shanghai Job showcases a striking, neon-drenched city, where Bloom is a fish out water who has found romance, intrigue and excitement in his new home.
Danny Stratton’s hi-tech security team S.M.A.R.T includes an attractive female driver, a geeky techno-wiz, and, as a no-nonsense, all-action sidekick, none other than Simon Yam, the legendary Hong Kong star of Ip Man, Election and Tomb Raider. S.M.A.R.T are surely poised for more adventures – there are surely no end of valuables needing to be shipped around the world that villains want to get their mits on. The film ends with a tantalising suggestion that Stratton and co could be back. The Shanghai Job 2: Acapulco Bound, anyone?
THE SHANGHAI JOB is out now on EST & VOD, as well as DVD 5th FEBRUARY 2018 by Signature Entertainment