Frank Martin (Transporter)
|First appearance||The Transporter (2002)|
|Last appearance||The Transporter Refueled (2015)|
|Created by||Luc Besson
Robert Mark Kamen
|Portrayed by||Jason Statham (1–3)
Ed Skrein (reboot)
Chris Vance (TV series)
British Army Special Air Service (formerly)
|Family||Frank Martin Sr. (father)|
|Children||unnamed son (with Zara Knight)|
Frank Martin is the protagonist of the Transporter franchise, created by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. He is portrayed by Jason Statham in the first three films, Ed Skrein in the reboot, and Chris Vance in the 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 Cockney 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. In the television series, it was revealed that he was enlisted in the British Army and later transferred to Special Air Service.
It is also stated in the second season of the television series that Frank lost his father below the age of ten, whereas in the reboot film, The Transporter Refueled, his father, a parental namesake called Frank Martin Sr. is alive and well, revealed to be a former British spy, who retired away from London to renovate his fatherly relationship with his son.
Frank has already established a good reputation in his secondary, secretive line of work, all the while maintaining an apparently legitimate life living off of his army pension. However he did manage to attract the suspicions of the police in France, where he had been living quietly near the coast.
In the second season of Transporter: The Series, it was revealed that Frank had a firm and close relationship with a UN Diplomat named Zara Knight whose abduction was orchestrated by a rival transporter and Frank's archenemy, Olivier Dassin. Zara, at the time, was in negotiation of peace settlement when she came to an arms dealer's attention, Armand Burton, who was playing both unnamed sides for fools and peace was going to cost him billions of dollars. She was forced to disappear and work for Burton in exchange for the protection of a child who was revealed to be her and Frank's son, unbeknownst to him.
Attributes and abilities
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"
- "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 in the car"
- "If you take care of the car, the car will take care of you"
By the second season of Transporter: The Series, an aging Frank Martin unveils that he no longer lives by making rules but one, which oversees him carrying out the job he's taken from any client from start to finish. However, Rule No. 3 is mentioned once when Frank expresses a brief regret over not checking the validity of the package he was supposed to deliver.
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 second film, and a PAM 212 in the third 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, in accordance with his second rule.
Throughout the films and television series, Frank Martin has been portrayed to prefer large, powerful German saloons:
- A 1999 BMW 7 Series E38 and Mercedes-Benz W140 in The Transporter.
- A 2006 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.
- An Audi A8 4.2 V8 in Transporter: The Series.
- An Audi S8 4.0 V8 in The Transporter Refueled.
- 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.