Transporter (franchise)

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Transporter
Transporter Trilogy cover.jpg
DVD set containing all three films
Creator Luc Besson
Robert Mark Kamen
Films and television
Films
Television series
Audio
Soundtracks

The Transporter is a French film series, comprising three films released between 2002 and 2008. Jason Statham plays Frank Martin, a professional freelance courier driver for hire. Statham is himself an accomplished martial artist, allowing him to do all the combat scenes involving Frank Martin himself. This permits the films' signature Hong Kong-style fight scenes, choreographed by Cory Yuen Kwai.

Films[edit]

The Transporter[edit]

Main article: The Transporter

In the first movie, Frank is hired to deliver a package to an American gangster known only as "Wall Street". Breaking one of his rules, Frank opens the package: it reveals a tied-up and gagged woman by the name of Lai. Initially, Frank simply delivers the package, however when Wall Street attempts to kill Frank, Frank returns to the delivery site. Frank injures many of Wall Street's henchmen and steals a car containing Lai. The next morning at Frank's house, an inspector turns up and questions their story. However, this works to their advantage, as they manage to discover the whereabouts of Wall Street while at the police station. Lai then explains that there is a shipping container full of people. After lots of action, and with the inspector's help, Frank succeeds in an attempt to retrieve a truck full of immigrants.

Martin is aided by a French Police inspector named Tarconi. Initially, Tarconi is assigned to investigate the path of destruction that Martin is leaving but ends up aiding in the recovery of the containers full of human slaves. Incidentally, although two slave containers are identified, Martin only recovers one at the end of the film.

Transporter 2[edit]

Main article: Transporter 2

Frank is working as the driver/chauffeur for a wealthy family, in the United States. Martin bonds with their young son, whom he drives to school every day. When the boy is kidnapped, Frank must again take action in order to protect his young "package" and his family. Eventually, Martin unravels a scheme involving biological weapons and the nefarious Gianni Chellini. Martin is forced to remove a bomb from the bottom of his car by executing an aerial corkscrew maneuver underneath a crane. The crane catches the bomb and Martin escapes unharmed. Frank debuts the Audi A8 W12 in this film.

Inspector Tarconi plays an even more prominent role in this film. It is established that he and Frank are now friends, and Tarconi goes as far as to lie to the police to cover for Frank. His cooking prowess is established as well.

Transporter 3[edit]

Main article: Transporter 3

Frank has been pressured into transporting Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) (by using a device which prevents him from moving 75 feet from his car or a bomb attached to him explodes which was unknowingly attached to him after a car crash) the kidnapped daughter of Leonid Vasilev (Jeroen Krabbé), the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for Ukraine, from Marseilles through Stuttgart and Budapest until he ends up in Odessa on the Black Sea. Along the way, with the help of Inspector Tarconi (François Berléand), Frank has to contend with the people who strong armed him to take the job, agents sent by Vasilev to intercept him, and the general non-cooperation of his passenger, whom he realizes is the package mid-way through the film. Despite Valentina's cynical disposition and Frank's resistance to get involved, Frank and Valentina fall for each other, while escaping from one life-threatening situation after another. Martin again drives an armored Audi A8 W12 in the film, as well as a BMX bicycle.

Transporter 4, 5 and 6[edit]

In May 2013 at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival a new trilogy was announced with EuropaCorp and China's Fundamental Films co-producing and distributing the titles.[1][2] The films will likely be budgeted between $30 million to $40 million each and at least one will be shot in China.[3] Luc Besson will co-finance, distribute, produce and write all the films.[4] English actor Ed Skrein will replace Jason Statham as Frank Martin on the fourth installment of the series.[5] The title of the fourth film, The Transporter Legacy is set to released on February 27, 2015 and will be directed by Camille Delamarre.

Television[edit]

Transporter: The Series[edit]

Transporter: The Series is a television series based on the Transporter films which premiered in 2012 on October 11 in Germany on RTL, and on December 6 in France on M6. Chris Vance takes over the role of Frank from Jason Statham and is joined by Hungarian actress Andrea Osvárt, who plays the leading female role in the series,[6] starring as a former CIA agent and love interest for Frank, who organizes his missions, and French actor François Berléand, the only returning actor from the film series, who reprises his role as Inspector Tarconi.[7] The show was initially supposed to premiere on the cable network Cinemax but Cinemax pulled out due to production problems. TNT has recently picked up the show and will air the 12-episode first season on the TNT network. TNT has already ordered a 12-episode second season which it plans to air in the fall.[8]


Cast and characters[edit]

Character Film TV series
The Transporter Transporter 2 Transporter 3 The Transporter Legacy Transporter: The Series
Frank Martin Jason Statham Ed Skrein Chris Vance
Inspector Tarconi François Berléand   François Berléand
Lai Kwai Shu Qi  
Darren "Wall Street" Bettencourt Matt Schulze  
Mr. Kwai Ric Young  
Gianni Chellini   Alessandro Gassman  
Audrey Billings   Amber Valletta  
Lola   Kate Nauta  
Stappleton   Keith David  
Jack Billings   Hunter Clary  
Max   Shannon Briggs  
Valentina Vasileva   Natalya Rudakova  
Johnson   Robert Knepper  
Leonid Tomilenko   Jeroen Krabbé  
Leonid's Aide   Alex Kobold  
Malcom Manville   David Atrakchi  
Flag   Yann Sundberg  
Ice   Eriq Ebouaney  

Character[edit]

Frank Martin
First appearance The Transporter
Portrayed by Jason Statham (films)
Chris Vance (TV series)
Information
Aliases Driver
Transporter
Gender Male
Occupation Wheelman
Mercenary
Special Forces Soldier (formerly)
Title The Transporter

Frank Martin is the protagonist of the films and television series. He initially serves as a reluctant hero. He is portrayed as a former Special Forces operative who was a team leader of a search and destroy unit. His military background includes operations "in and out of" Lebanon, Syria and Sudan. He retires from this after becoming fatigued and disenchanted with his superior officers. In simple terms, he got tired of seeing his best efforts turned to nothing by the same people paying him to do the job. So he puts his skills to action as a private driver for hire.

His country of origin is unclear - throughout the franchise, Statham seems to speak with a "mid-Atlantic" accent, mixing his own Estuary English accent with a European and also with perhaps a generic Appalachian American accent, suggesting he could be European, British or American, but who may have spent considerable time in another country.

In The Transporter, Frank Martin is shown to have received the Bronze Star.

Frank has already established a good reputation in his secondary, secretive line of work, all the while maintaining an apparently legitimate life. However he did manage to attract the suspicions of the police in France, where he had been living quietly in an old place on the coast.

Background[edit]

Possibly through his military background, Frank is portrayed as having expertise with explosives, surveillance, hand-to-hand combat, and evasive driving. Emphasis is given to his skills as an accomplished driver, able to conduct seemingly impossible maneuvers while retaining perfect control of his vehicle. Frank often engages in hand-to-hand combat, having to improvise using unconventional weapons against his opponents. Martin is also an accomplished sharpshooter.

Rules[edit]

Frank Martin carries out his business according to strict rules,[9] which he is loath to break, and expects his clients to adhere to them or face a breach of contract. His rules are:

  1. "Never change the deal"
  2. "No names"
  3. "Never open the package"
    (these first 3 are also mentioned in the TV Series)
  4. "Never make a promise you can't keep"

While at first these rules may seem unnecessarily strict, their importance is illustrated when Frank is hired to transport three men, but four arrive, straight from a bank heist. Explaining to them that The Deal was for a precise number of passengers with specific weight and that fuel and suspension were specifically set to reach the destination, the gang is forced to remove their extra man or face being caught.

Frank's breaking of his own rules is the central theme in The Transporter.

Rules of the car:

  1. "Respect a man's car, and the man will respect you"
  2. "Greet the man"
  3. "Seat belt"
  4. "Never drink coffee on the car"
    and, in the third film,
  5. "If you take care of the car, the car will take care of you"

Appearance[edit]

Frank Martin maintains a uniform of sorts, consisting of a black suit, white shirt, and a black tie. He wears Panerai Chronograph watches as well, utilizing a PAM 74 in the first film, a PAM 196H in the 2nd film, and a PAM 212 in the 3rd film. Martin also puts great emphasis on precise timing and punctuality. He regularly maintains anonymity from his clients, going by the aliases Transporter, or more simply Driver.

Cars[edit]

Frank Martin begins using:

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Film Release date Box office (worldwide)
The Transporter 2002 $43,928,932
Transporter 2 2005 $85,167,639
Transporter 3 2008 $108,979,549

References[edit]

External links[edit]