What Jason Statham’s roles lack in variety, they make up for in over-the-top action.

By Jessica Jones

British actor JASON STATHAM first appeared on the big screen as the ruggedly handsome wise guy in Guy Ritchie’s pair of crooked crime capers, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Since then, Statham’s carved out a niche for himself in Hollywood, starring almost exclusively in big-budget action flicks (and their sequels). This month, he stars opposite Prison Break’s Robert Knepper in Transporter 3, another fast-paced, shoot-’em-up thriller. For those who are havingtrouble differentiating between the works of this “Action Jackson,” we offer a guide to help you understand Statham’s hot -- if notparticularly diverse -- career.

 

THE MOVIE THE PLOTTHE OPPONENTTHE BABETHE THEMES
The Transporter
(2002)
Statham plays Frank Martin, an ex-special-forces operator who discoversthat the “package” he is delivering is a woman who’s been kidnapped.Frank must save her life by tracking down the men who kidnapped her andkilling them at any cost.Wall Street (Matt Schulze), a mercenary who wants Frank deadLai (Qi Shu), the hostageGunplay, physical violence, car chase, revenge, damsel in distress
Cellular
(2004)
This time, Statham plays the bad guy, Ethan, a violent gang leader whokidnaps a woman and is looking to take her husband and son hostage aswell. A young surfer and the chief of police uncover Ethan’s plot andmust hunt him down before he destroys an innocent family.Ryan (Chris Evans), the young man who gets caught in the crossfire, andBob Mooney (William H. Macy), the police chief working to catch EthanDana Bayback (Valerie Cruz), Ethan’s CoconspiratorGunplay, physical violence, car chase, damsel in distress, kidnapping
Transporter 2
(2005)
Statham reprises his role as Frank Martin, who has taken what he thinksis an easy assignment of driving a wealthy boy to and from school. Whenthe boy is kidnapped and poisoned with a deadly virus, Frank must chasedown the gang leader to secure the antidote.Gianni Chellini (Alessandro Gassman), the kidnapping gang leaderLola (Kate Nauta), a gun-wielding assassin in lingerieGunplay, physical violence, car chase, revenge, poison, kidnapping
Crank
(2006)
Statham plays Chev Chelios, a hit man who gets injected with a poisonthat will kill him if his heart rate drops too low. To stay alive, hemust engage in adrenaline-pumping activities as he seeks vengeance anda life-saving antidote. A sequel is planned for next year.Verona (José Pablo Cantillo), the rival gangster who poisons himEve (Amy Smart), Chev’s girlfriendGunplay, physical violence, car chase, revenge, sex, poison
War
(2007)
FBI agent Jack Crawford (Statham) is on the hunt for traitorousassassin Rogue, who Jack believes killed his former partner. Roguediscovers that Jack is actually a double agent. When Jack finally facesoff with Rogue, he, too, makes a startling discovery about Rogue’s trueidentity.Rogue (Jet Li), the Japanese assassinKira (Devon Aoki), an agent involved with the Japanese crime organizationGunplay, physical violence, car chase, revenge, mistaken identity
Death Race
(2008)
Jensen Ames (Statham), a reformed ex-con, is wrongly accused of murderand sent back to the pen. The only way he can earn his freedom is tocompete in a brutal street-racing competition. When Jensen learns thathe was set up by prison officials, he seeks (what else?) revenge.Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson), Jensen’s toughest competitor, and Hennessey (Joan Allen), the prison warden who ensnares JensenElizabeth Case (Natalie Martinez), a female inmate and Jensen’s navigatorGunplay, physical violence, car chase, revenge