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The Jason Statham And Jet Li Team-Up You Likely Forgot Happened Before The Expendables

The 2010 film "The Expendables" was notable for bringing together some of the biggest action stars of the past few decades. The film's ensemble cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Terry Crews, Charisma Carpenter, and Mickey Rourke.

One of the team-ups fans were particularly excited to see on screen is between Jason Statham and Jet Li. At the time, both performers were already accomplished action stars, with Statham headlining the "Transporter" franchise as well as the "Crank" films, while also appearing in movies such as "Snatch" and "The Italian Job." Li, meanwhile, was known for his work in films such as "Lethal Weapon 4," "Romeo Must Die," and "Cradle 2 the Grave."

However, "The Expendables" is not the first time Statham and Li share the screen. The two were, in fact, familiar to each other, having worked together in a film that even fans of the two performers often tend to overlook. Here's the Statham and Li team-up you likely forgot happened before "The Expendables."

Statham and Li squared off against each other in two previous films

Jason Statham and Jet Li first worked together in the 2001 science fiction action movie "The One." The film is written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, who previously collaborated on the science fiction procedural "The X-Files." Wong also directed the film.

"The One" revolves around Gabriel Yulaw, played by Li, a man who travels across parallel universes to kill other-dimensional versions of himself, getting stronger with each kill as he attains their life forces. He manages to kill all but one version, Gabe Law, also played by Li, who has become similarly powerful. Jason Statham plays Evan Funsch, an agent of the MultiVerse Authority, or MVA, who, along with his partner Harry Rodecker (Delroy Lindo), is in pursuit of Yulaw. Funsch ultimately teams up with Law to help defeat Yulaw and thwart his plans to become an all-powerful being.

Li and Statham then reunited in 2007 for the action film "War," which was directed by Philip G. Atwell. "War" revolves around FBI agent John Crawford, played by Statham, whose partner Tom Lone (Terry Chen) gets killed by a famous assassin named Rogue, played by Li. Crawford makes it his singular mission to find Rogue and take revenge for Lone's death, unaware that Rogue is holding deeper secrets. 

After two successful collaborations, Statham and Li would go on to costar in three "Expendables" movies from 2010 to 2014.