Young actors everywhere have the right to be jealous of British hard-man Jason Statham. Film lovers know Statham as one of modern cinema’s leading action heroes, a man who can kick and punch his way through any number of bad guys. He is very much the modern day Bruce Willis or Van Damme.
Statham, however, wasn’t one of those actors who worked away in small roles and built his way up. In his early days, Statham was part of the British National Diving Team (he finished 12th in the World Championship in 1992). He was also a black market salesman before beginning a career as a fashion model.
It was Statham’s modelling career that first made award winning director Guy Ritchie sit up and take notice of him. Ritchie was so impressed with Statham’s work on a French Connection modelling project the he offered him the role of Bacon in his gangster film “Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels.” The film was a commercial and critical success and Statham received plenty of praise. So much, in fact, that Ritchie then cast him in his next film “Snatch” alongside Brad Pitt.
From there, Statham appeared in films like “Turn It Up,” “Ghost Of Mars,” “The One” and the remake of “Mean Machine” before earning the role that made him famous – that of action hero Frank Martin in “Transporter” – a role he also followed up in the successful “Transporter 2.” In between the two films he also got to star in other notable films including “The Italian Job,” (as part of a star studded cast) “Collateral” (with Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx) and the underrated “Cellular.” During that time he also voiced characters in the popular video games “Red Fraction” and “Call Of Duty.”
After roles in the under-performing “London,” “Revolver” and “Chaos,” Statham appeared in an uncredited role in “The Pink Panther” before the surprising success of “Crank,” a film that also warranted a sequel in 2009 with “Crank: High Voltage.”
After roles in the less than impressive films like “In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale” and “War,” Statham again found critical success with a role in the crime thriller “The Bank Job.” This was quickly followed by him doing what he does best and playing the action star in the remake of “Death Race” before once again playing Frank Martin for a third time in “Transporter 3.”
It was at this time that the world was left without a doubt that Jason Statham was now considered to be one of the world’s leading action heroes when Sylvester Stallone selected him to be one of the cast members of “The Expendables” – a film that saw all the greatest action heroes of now and the past pushed congregate together. Statham’s character of Lee Christmas also made the cut for “The Expendables 2” and it is strongly rumoured that he will also be in “The Expendables 3,” which is due in cinemas in 2014.
Along with roles in smaller films like “The Mechanic,” “Blitz,” “Killer Elite,” “Safe,” “Parker,” “Redemption” and “Homefront” Statham also found time to voice the character of Tybalt in the family film “Gnomeo & Juliet,” as well as join the cast of one of the hottest franchises going around when he appeared in “Fast & Furious 6.”
With another “Expendables” film and his main role in the forthcoming “Fast & Furious 7,” it seems that Jason Statham is here to stay.