|The Transporter (French: Le Transporteur) is a 2002 French action film directed by Louis Leterrier and Corey Yuen and written by Luc Besson, who was inspired by BMW Films’ The Hire series.
The film stars Jason Statham as Frank Martin, a driver for hire – a mercenary “transporter” who will deliver anything, anywhere – no questions asked – for the right price. It also stars Shu Qi as Lai Kwai.
It is the first film in a series also consisting of Transporter 2 and Transporter 3. A television series premiered in 2012 on October 11 in Germany on RTL on December 6 in France on M6.
Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is a highly skilled driver known only as “The Transporter.” The titular character is a former Special Forces officer who, disillusioned with his former leadership and tortured by the memories of his past, now lives on the French Mediterranean coastline with a lucrative “backup” career. He will transport anything, no questions asked, from Point A to Point B, always on time, and he is known as the best in the business. He strictly follows four rules when transporting: Rule #1: “No new deals, when it’s a deal, it’s a deal”, Rule #2: “No names”, Rule #3: “Don’t open the package”, and Rule #4: “Never make a promise you can’t keep”.
Frank has been hired to transport “Three men, 254 kilos.” When not three but four men get into his car, fresh from a bank heist, Frank refuses to move, holding fast to Rule #1. After one gang member is killed by the others, Frank leaves with the remaining robbers. On delivery to their destination, they foist new money on Frank to drive further from the city. He refuses the deal, again adhering to Rule #1. The robbers escape in another car, and Frank leaves.
Frank returns to his mansion in the south of France, and he finds out via the news that the gang was caught after crashing their getaway car in a pursuit. Later, local police Inspector Tarconi (François Berléand), who happens to be a close acquaintance, arrives to question Frank about the robbery, since his make and model of car was the same used in the robbery. However, despite his suspicions about Frank’s involvement, Tarconi has no concrete proof about the heist (due to Frank cleaning up the car and changing the licence plate) and leaves his Villa.
Frank is then hired to deliver a package to an American gangster (Matt Schulze) known only as “Wall Street.”. During the way, he notices that something is moving in the package, but he refuses to open the bag due to Rule #3. While changing a flat tire on the road in France, he breaks one of his rules and opens the package that was placed into the trunk at Point A. He finds the package is really a woman, and he makes a small hole in the tape over her mouth and gives her a bottle of juice to drink. He delivers the package as promised to Point B.
After receiving the package, Wall Street asks Frank to transport a briefcase. Frank reluctantly accepts the job. He takes the briefcase and leaves. On the way, he stops at a gas station to eat and rest for a little while, but the briefcase turns out to be a bomb that destroys Frank’s car in the parking lot but leaves him unharmed. Frank snaps and returns to Wall Street’s residence with a vengeance, dispatching several of his henchmen and then stealing a car to get away, only to find “the package” tied to a chair in the back seat.
Later on, he returns to his house, and unties the package who tells him that her name is Lai. The next day, Tarconi arrives. Lai opens the door and claims to be Frank’s new cook. He makes the usual inquiries, producing a scorched license plate, and expressing suspicion that Frank’s “cook” drives a Mercedes. Lai now says she is Frank’s new girlfriend and supports Frank’s alibi with an invented story about how they met. Tarconi leaves with no proof again. However, shortly after he leaves, missiles rain down on Frank’s house, and Frank and Lai are barely able to escape the house into the sewer, swimming away from the house before it completely explodes.
At the police station, being questioned about the destruction of Frank’s house, Frank and Lai are able to deflect Tarconi’s questions, and Lai manages to sneak onto Tarconi’s computer to access information on Wall Street. She tells Frank that Wall Street is trafficking two shipping containers full of Chinese people including her own father and family, and is planning to sell them into slavery. Lai and Frank go to Wall Street’s office to find the shipping docket identifying the containers. However, Wall Street reveals that Lai’s family is not in the containers. In fact, her father is the man responsible for the human trafficking. Tarconi, who was following Frank, then arrives at the office. Wall Street and Lai’s father accuse Frank of kidnapping Lai and attempting to blackmail them. Unable to prove otherwise, Tarconi has Frank arrested and locked up in the station.
At the station, Frank does his best to explain the situation to Tarconi. Tarconi agrees to abet Frank’s escape as his faux hostage. Frank then tracks the criminals to the docks, where they load the containers onto trucks. However, Frank is spotted and is forced to fight his way through the guards, failing to stop the trucks. He then steals a small airplane and parachutes onto one of the trucks, killing Wall Street and a number of his henchmen. After getting out of the truck, Frank is then ambushed by Lai’s father. However, Frank is saved when Lai shoots her own father. Afterwards, Tarconi arrives with the police and they rescue the people trapped inside the containers, and Frank and Lai help to load them in the ambulances as the film ends.