Jason Statham seems to apply the same technique to interviews about his films as he does to the fight scenes within them.
They are short, sharp and efficient, no longer than 15 minutes (ours lasted 12), it is an oral one two, one two then he is up off his chair for a brief break before seconds out and some fresh challengers.
Perhaps this expediency is prompted by the fact that, fresh off a night shoot, he hasn’t slept and is keen to fulfil his promotional duties before he gets his head down.
He doesn’t get a lot of sleep on his latest film Safe.
Playing an ex-cop turned cage fighter turned homeless bum after crossing the Russian mafia, he finds himself fighting a one-man war against the Russians, the Chinese and NYPD while trying to protect a young girl.
The youngster in question is a genius with numbers and acts as a human computer for the Chinese mob.
It is not a talent Statham shares, he admits.
“I can count money and that’s it,” he says with a grin.
Safe is the latest in a line of similar vehicles for Statham, as gruff voiced but charismatic loners with military/martial arts training.
It is a rather unexpected career tangent given that in his early films for Guy Ritchie, he was a ducker and diver living off his wits.
“Yeah, there was no punch ups or anything. I was quite a passive chap.
“The first action film I made was The Transporter for Luc Besson.
“That was the first time I got to do an actual fight scene.
“That paved the way if you like for some others to come my way.”
He could certainly handle it physically. He was a world class diver in his 20s and spent 12 years on Britain’s national diving squad before being scouted for modelling work by a talent agent specialising in athletes.
Guy Ritchie cast him as the street-wise Bacon in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels because of his verbal agility, honed selling knock offs on his dad’s market stall.
“It’s not like we were selling stolen goods although people may have thought it,” he says, laughing.
“If the police thought we were causing an obstruction in the street then the worst news you’d get was to move on.”
Statham and soccer hard man Vinnie Jones were propelled to stardom on the back of it.
However, while Jones has seen diminishing returns in terms of the quality of project he has been involved with, Statham’s have grossed more than $1 billion at the box office.
He has gained a reputation for doing his own fight scenes and stunt work, something he has felt obliged to keep in spite of the occasional injury.
“It’s contact sport we are doing in some ways, so you expect that. You put the pads on, cross your fingers and close your eyes,” he adds with a shrug.
“I always pick up a few injuries but they go away. You try not to think about it.”
Generally playing a Brit, it means the punches are often accompanied with punch lines and some dry humoured wit.
“I like a good laugh. I wish there was more of it. You never know what lines are going to work until you see it with an audience. What we might find funny on the day, people might not find equally as funny when they’re sitting there and have paid their money.”
The 44-year-old hasn’t ruled out branching out into comedy or even romance in the future but with The Expendables Two (starring alongside his genre predecessors Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean Claude Van Damme) on the horizon, he seems set to continue in this vein for a while yet.
“I’m happy. I want to keep working,
“The pursuit that keeps me motivated is to work with quality people.
“You wanna work with better directors, better colleagues, better actors, better material, better script, have more time, more money. Have all the luxuries that great movie making has.
“Not to say that we don’t have that but there is a real protection that comes with the high end of writers and directors.
“It is not so much about a particular genre, it’s about ‘How can I get to work with this guy? How can we get some employment from him?’.”