Getting cut by shrapnel, enduring a groin strain, spraining an ankle or having wires stick out of your wrist is just another day on the job for Jason Statham (search).
The slick British actor, who stars in the action movie "The Transporter 2," (search) out in theaters this weekend, insists on doing all his own stunts — from fighting off enemies with a fire hose to jumping on the back of a jet ski from a moving bus.
"I sustained a couple of minor injuries," says Statham, who you might remember as Handsome Rob from "The Italian Job" or the sexy stud with the Cockney accent from any of Guy Ritchie's (search) movies.
"It's par for the course. You hold your hands up to that kind of stuff .. brave or stupid is the operative word."
In the movie, Statham plays Frank Martin, a meticulous mystery man who transports packages for thugs, is always punctual and never leaves home without an extra black suit in his shiny trunk.
We hook up with Frank again as he is leading a simple life in Miami after his castle blew up in France (in "The Transporter"), chauffeuring a young boy to school and minding his own business. Then (natch), the boy is kidnapped and all hell breaks loose.
"This time we throw as much [stuff] at him [Frank] as we could," Statham says. "We see a side of him we haven't see before. How he can operate around the kid and we see how ... useless he is around women."
Indeed, there is a scene where Frank declines Mrs. Billing's advances (played by model Amber Valletta) because she is drunk and married. French director Louis Leterrier insists this is a trait that fans love about Frank Martin, a modern man's James Bond (search).
"That's what's good about this character," he says. "I love James Bond, but I hate that he's a misogynist chauvinistic pig. He goes from one woman to the next, cheats on her, doesn't care. I hate that. The Transporter is like the working man's James Bond. He is the real man."
In fact, "Jason is very much like that," Leterrier adds. "He's very fun, happy and he's real. He's very grounded, very normal and knows he fell into acting by accident; he knows his place in the world."
Seven years ago, Statham, a former fake jewelry salesman/model, decided to audition for Guy Ritchie's movie "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." Not only did he get the role of Bacon, but he has since starred in "Snatch" and the upcoming "Revolver" with Ritchie, a close friend whom Statham calls "a god of a director."
The hazel-eyed martial-arts master was tailor-made for the role of Frank Martin, crafted for him by screenwriter Luc Besson.
"He's a super, super professional," Leterrier says. "He will go over and over a scene again. He can become black and blue. In one scene, we did over 150 shots in two days. That was crazy for an action scene. He was hurting so much. But he knew we had to have this scene and he knew this would be one of the best fights of the movie, so he kept on going, and at the end of the day he almost fainted. He was in so much pain."
It's this real deal, hard-as-nails outlook that could be the reason "The Transporter" became a cult favorite among 13-year-old boys, selling more than 30 million DVDs. And it could be the perfect training to play James Bond.
"He's the James Bond that drinks a Heineken, not a martini," says Statham, 33. He even has rules to live by: No names. Never change the deal. Don't look in the package. Never make a promise you can't keep.
"We are so used to making empty promises on a daily basis," Statham says. "Here's a guy who makes a promise to a kid and risks his own life to keep that word. So I think people think, 'Oh, I wish I could be that good.' "
Statham hasn't been approached to be the legendary spy, and he simply shrugs it off.
"They're running out of names, I'm sure, if mine is being bandied around," he jokes. "I don't know. Where does that come from? I just wonder where the seed is for that? I think my mom always said it, even when I wasn't acting. She said, 'You'd be a good Bond. Why don't you start acting?'"
On a more serious note, "He's (Bond) been around for so many years," says Statham. "I'm a massive fan of James Bond, and I've seen every one of the movies.
"If I was to do that most prestigious role, then I think I'd add a new, modern feel to it, definitely."
Still, he's not waiting around for the Bond director to call. In addition to "T2," Statham has six movies in the works, including "The Brazilian Job," a sequel to the "Italian Job" with Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron (search).
If he doesn't break any bones in the meantime, that is.