Delivering things is easy, right? Wrong. Let’s take a look at how a professional deliveryman is enough of a driver to validate three films.
It’s not often that the first film in a franchise is actually the worst, mainly because studios only commit to a bankable success. The Transporter started off the trilogy to the tune of $44m worldwide – not a huge sum in the grand scheme of things considering the budget was almost half of that. So why did the studio commit to another film, let alone two more?
Let’s look at the facts from the first film: Jason Statham as Frank was an OK macho lead (but just OK), his female counterpart was incredibly annoying, and the story didn’t do enough to carry itself – but most importantly: things blew up and people died (Explosions: six. Deaths: 12. To be exact, but I’ll get onto that). So the foundations were set for a typical action film; the studio decided to take a new direction on Transporter 2 where Frank isn’t technically a transporter of goods but is now emotionally bound to a six year old. This went on to generate a comparatively massive $85m worldwide, and frankly (ha, get it) a much better film plot: Frank on a mission to save the boy.
Three years later we reach Transporter 3, which manages to bring in $108m worldwide, continuing and growing on the success of the second film. The film isn’t as good as Transporter 2, but it’s a damned lot closer than the first; the creators tightened up the story while reinstating him as a professional transporter like the first, he also had a new and much better female counterpart, and Frank is still as bad-ass as ever.
If all goes well, we should be seeing Transporter 4 hit the big screen in 2015, but it seems that Statham won’t be present as Ed Skrein is taking over the lead role. As The Playlist aptly said, “when it comes to the franchise that made his name, he’s walking away from it slowly (as something surely explodes behind him)”. Amen to that. (will link to http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/jason-statham-wont-star-in-transporter-4-but-will-return-for-the-mechanic-2-20140207)
Each of the three films interestingly add something different, but despite this, one thing is always consistent: Frank. He only gets injured once throughout the entire franchise; that was just a minor head wound after the final scene of the second film. To put this into some context, Spider-Man never kills anyone in his franchise but gets injured 10 times, Rambo gets injured 11 times, and Die Hard’s John McClane gets injured 16 times. So that confirms it: Frank is harder than a superhero fighting with an explosive bow and arrow while his family are on the line.
As mentioned above, the third film goes back to franchises original roots a little more with Frank once again a transporter, but it’s obviously not as close as first examined. Frank only drives the one car in Transporter 3 (which he even goes to the bottom of a river to get… and drive again straight away), while he actually drives 4 cars in the first film and three in the second. Despite this, there are between 4-6 scenes of him driving in each film, so maybe each film is more similar than we thought.
Even with fairly different story lines and set ups, each of the films do stay consistent in some areas. Each of the films have 5 or 7 chase scenes, use 10-11 domestic objects used for violence, and Frank also only kills 5 or 6 people per film. This consistency is actually quite rare in a franchise (granted that it’s only three films), and shows that having the same writer for each film pays off to make a level franchise. The ratings and quality is a different matter though.
That leads us towards the ultimate question: is The Transporter franchise actually better when Frank isn’t a transporter? Sure, that’s the point of the franchise and the main premise, but the second film completely leaves this idea at the door and the result offers a much more interesting story and adds a new level of depth to the lead character. Let us know in the comments section on the review pages which you thought was best and why!
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