Written by Luc Besson, who created the action classics La Femme Nikita (1990) and The Professional (1994), The Transporter 2 (2005) features British star Jason Statham reprising his role as the mercenary Frank Martin. Among action movie aficionados, He is quickly becoming a favorite, and for good reason. He’s one of the few actors who actually shares some real-life similarities with the roguish characters he plays.
Before jumping into action flicks, Statham perfected his now famous leaps and bounds on the British National Diving Team. After winning 12th place in the 1992 World Championships and competing in the Olympics, Statham left the squad for a change of pace. A modeling manager spotted him and helped him win work throughout Europe, but the pay was low. To supplement his income, curiously, Statham held down another job as a sidewalk salesman, swindling London’s visitors into buying knock-off necklaces and scents.
Statham’s fateful break into film came when his manager told him about Guy Ritchie, an upcoming writer and director who wanted to make a crime caper with talents straight out of London’s street life. With little to lose, Statham auditioned. Appropriately enough, instead of reading scenes, Statham’s try-out with Ritchie consisted of him hawking merchandise to the director. By cunningly conning Ritchie into making three purchases, Statham won his first role in the sleeper success, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998).
Ritchie and Statham promptly joined again for the hilarious ensemble tale of jewel smuggling and boxing, Snatch (2000). The film featured Ritchie’s trademark writing and directing, but with Brad Pitt and Benicio Del Toro on board, it also brought star power into the mix, which gave Ritchie and Statham’s careers an even bigger boost.
Statham’s next starring role in The Transporter (2002) seemed as if it was written solely for him. Nearly every action scene drew on skills Statham already had, providing him with the added prestige of performing most stunts himself. And from high-speed driving, to scuba diving, to hand-to-hand fighting, Statham’s performance awed action fans everywhere.
He currently has six films in the works, including the Steve Martin and Beyonce Knowles collaboration, The Pink Panther (2006). And to keep his core fans happy, he also just completed Revolver (2005), his third teaming with Guy Ritchie.