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DVD set containing all three films
Robert Mark Kamen
|Films and television|
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.
Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is a highly skilled driver known only as "The Transporter." He will transport anything, no questions asked, always on time, and he is known as the best in the business. He strictly follows three rules when transporting: Rule Number 1: "Once the deal is made, it is final", Rule Number 2: "No names", and Rule Number 3: "Never open the package." Frank inadvertently breaks his own rule, opens the package and finds a bound and gagged woman.
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.
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.
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. The films will likely be budgeted between $30 million to $40 million each and at least one will be shot in China. Luc Besson will co-finance, distribute, produce and write all the films. English actor Ed Skrein will replace Jason Statham as Frank Martin on the fourth installment of the series. The title of the fourth film, The Transporter Legacy is set to released on February 27, 2015 and will be directed by Camille Delamarre.
Transporter: The Series
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, 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. 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.
Cast and characters
|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|
|Jack Billings||Hunter Clary|
|Valentina Vasileva||Natalya Rudakova|
|Leonid Tomilenko||Jeroen Krabbé|
|Leonid's Aide||Alex Kobold|
|Malcom Manville||David Atrakchi|
|Leo Imasov||Lenn Kudrjawizki|
|Stanislav Turgin||Anatole Taubman|
|First appearance||The Transporter|
|Portrayed by||Jason Statham (films)
Chris Vance (TV series)
Special Forces Soldier (formerly)
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.
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.
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.
Frank Martin carries out his business according to strict rules, which he is loath to break, and expects his clients to adhere to them or face a breach of contract. His rules are:
- "Never change the deal"
- "No names"
- "Never open the package"
- (these first 3 are also mentioned in the TV Series)
- "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:
- "Respect a man's car, and the man will respect you"
- "Greet the man"
- "Seat belt"
- "Never drink coffee on the car"
- and, in the third film,
- "If you take care of the car, the car will take care of you"
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.
Frank Martin begins using:
- a 1999 BMW 7 Series E38 and Mercedes-Benz W140 in The Transporter;
- a 2004 Audi A8 6.0 W12 in Transporter 2;
- (however, during a pursuit scene, he drives a Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster);
- a 2008 facelifted Audi A8 6.0 W12 in Transporter 3;
- and a Audi A8 4.2 V8 in Transporter: The Series.
|Film||U.S. release date||Box office||Budget||Reference|
|U.S. and Canada||Outside U.S. and Canada||Worldwide|
|The Transporter||11 October 2002||$25,296,447||$18,632,485||$43,928,932||$21 million|||
|Transporter 2||2 September 2005||$43,095,856||$42,071,783||$85,167,639||$32 million|||
|Transporter 3||26 November 2008||$31,715,062||$77,264,487||$108,979,549||$30 million|||
|The Transporter||53% (125 reviews)||51 (27 reviews)|
|Transporter 2||51% (119 reviews)||56 (29 reviews)|
|Transporter 3||37% (111 reviews)||51 (26 reviews)|
- "'Transporter' sequels announced at Cannes Film Festival". digitalspy.co.uk. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Cannes 2013: Three New Films In The Transporter Franchise Announced". empireonline.com. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "New Transporter trilogy bound for big screen with parts 4 5 and 6 announced". metro.co.uk. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Sequel Bits: ‘Transformers 4’, ‘Expendables 3’, ‘Transporter 4-6’, ‘The Hobbit’, ‘Anchorman 2’, ‘Pacific Rim 2’". slashfilm.com. 21 May 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Transporter 4 will star Ed Skrein in Jason Statham role". theguardian.com. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (20 May 2011). "Cinemax's 'Transporter' Series Casts Male & Female Leads". Deadline.com.
- Goldberg, Lesley (23 June 2011). "'Transporter': 'Lost's' Stephen Williams to Helm Pilot (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter (Los Angeles, California).
- Roxborough, Scott (8 April 2014). "MIPTV: 'Transporter' Series Reboot for TNT Heavy on Action". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- Plot summary for The Transporter
- 2010 Audi A8 TDI quattro D4 [Typ 4H] in "Transporter: The Series, 2012-2013". IMCDb.org. Retrieved on 2014-02-01.
- Audi A8 to star in new Transporter TV series. Autoblog. Retrieved on 2014-02-01.
- "The Transporter (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "Transporter 2 (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "Transporter 3 (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "Transporter Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "The Transporter (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "The Transporter Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "Transporter 2 (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "Transporter 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "Transporter 3 (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "Transporter 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- The Transporter at the Internet Movie Database
- Transporter 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Transporter 3 at the Internet Movie Database
- Transporter: The Series at the Internet Movie Database