Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Entire Transporter Timeline Explained

    Much like Frank Martin, whose badassery in the "Transporter" series was hinted at with an equally badass backstory, Jason Statham has had an eventful career. That was true even before helming the role of this stoic yet intense character who became something of a breakout role for the action star. Having a natural interest in martial arts and karate since childhood, Statham represented England as a diver in the 1990 Commonwealth Games, then went on to model in advertisements for prominent fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Levi's, before being cast in Guy Ritchie's crime thrillers "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch."

    But what really made Statham a household name was 2002's "The Transporter," in which playing the titular character utilized the actor's martial arts prowess. Since then, his career has never been the same, earning him leading man status and garnering two sequels, each outdoing its predecessors at the box office. The role seemed so tailor-made for Statham that any attempts at a redo of the character without him have been marred by failure. Given that the franchise did not just consist of the three Statham movies, but also a two-season television show, a reboot, and a cameo appearance in a Tom Cruise movie, the timeline can get pretty confusing. Here's the entire Transporter timeline explained.

Before the movies

Frank Martin served in the British Navy Special Forces as the leader of a search-and-destroy commando unit. His service took him through various countries such as Lebanon, Syria, and Sudan. Eventually, Frank got disillusioned with his job when his government and superiors made certain decisions that he disagreed with. He resigned and later used his special set of skills as a freelance "transporter" — transporting anything (or anyone) while strictly adhering to three rules: never change the deal, no names, and never open the package.

Upon taking up this new career, he quickly develops a reputation for his ruthless efficiency and consummate professionalism, even catching the eye of French Police Inspector Tarconi, with whom Frank gets acquainted when Frank settles somewhere on the outskirts of Southern France. Tarconi suspects (maybe even knows) of Frank's illegal activities, but has no way of proving it, making their interactions cordial at best. Frank's ride is a black BMW 735i that's customized with switchable number plates and an ignition that will only switch on with a code. So far, life as a freelancer seems to suit Frank.

Rules schmules!

Frank gets a call for a job and collects the package that's discreetly placed in the boot of his car. He finds out that the package is a bagged human being, which he opens (immediately breaking his third rule) to reveal a young woman named Lai. Lai tries to run away, after which Frank captures her but comes back to the car to find two cops waiting for him, catching Frank red-handed with a tied-up Lai. He takes the cops down, putting them in the boot of the car along with Lai.

Frank meets the recipient of the package, Darren "Wall Street" Bettencourt, who has his men collect the package and pay Frank. As Frank leaves, Darren offers Frank a job transporting another package — a dubious-looking metallic briefcase. This would have been a good time for Frank to break his third rule because as it turns out, the package is rigged with a bomb that explodes Frank's car and the two subdued cops inside. Frank survives and heads back to Darren's villa to inflict his own sense of justice. He kills all the henchmen, but doesn't find Darren, and drives off in a Mercedes found in the garage.

Stockholm syndrome? But we're not in Sweden...

Frank finds Lai in the car, and briefly contemplates leaving her behind, before putting her in the boot again. He takes her to his home, where Lai reveals her name and that Frank has gotten himself into some "deep s***." After feeding her, Frank heads to bed, leaving Lai with the freedom to run away. While he sleeps, Lai rummages through Frank's belongings and finds out that he's a Navy veteran. Frank wakes up to find her having made breakfast for him. 

Tarconi makes another unannounced visit to Frank's house, asking him about the license plate he found from the exploded car. Lai introduces herself to Tarconi as Frank's cook, saving Frank when Tarconi inspects Frank's garage and is about to find the damage on the Mercedes that could implicate him. Right after Tarconi leaves, a missile hits Frank's house, and several men launch an armed assault, ordered by Darren to eliminate Frank. Frank and Lai narrowly dodge the attack that culminates in a massive explosion which demolishes Frank's home, swimming through an underwater passage that leads the two into another house owned by Frank. The two share a romantic exchange after which they make love.

Home sweet home... no more

At Tarconi's office, Frank and Lai provide a sham alibi on the destruction of Frank's house and steal information on Darren from Tarconi's computer. Lai tells Frank that her family (including her father) and many others are being smuggled in a shipping container, and insists that Frank help her rescue them. The two ambush Darren at his office, where it's revealed that most of what Lai said was a lie: Lai's father, Mr. Kwai, enters with his men holding Frank at gunpoint, and reveals that he's actually been working with Darren all along. They attack Frank and frame him as a culprit in front of Tarconi, who finally gets to arrest Frank.

At the lockup, Tarconi has a heart-to-heart with Frank, who reveals that Darren and Mr. Kwai are smuggling people from Asia. Tarconi admits that it would take him 12 months of investigation to solve this, while Frank would need only 12 hours. He allows Frank to use him as a hostage to escape the police station, after which Frank stocks up on ammunition and sails solo to the ship holding the containers.

A plane to catch

At the docks, Frank takes a few henchmen down before being spotted, after which the villains leave with the containers loaded onto a truck. Frank chases them by jumping from vehicle to vehicle, before ending up in a bus depot where he fights several goons in all his shirtless motor oil-covered glory. The next morning, Frank catches a crop duster plane and flies to the highway where the cargo trucks are en route. He parachutes his way to the top of one of the trucks, hijacks it, and has a vehicular chase-fight with Darren and Mr. Kwai, who holds his own daughter hostage in a sedan. Darren dies, and Frank shakes Mr. Kwai's sedan off-road, seemingly having escaped with the truck and the smuggled people inside its container.

However, Mr. Kwai catches up to Frank and holds him at gunpoint, until Lai shoots her father to save Frank. After Lai grieves for her father, Frank and Lai reconcile, just as Tarconi shows up with a team to rescue and provide habilitation to the smuggled people inside the truck.

A brief stop at L.A., and then we're off to Miami

Frank stops by the Los Angeles International Airport to deliver a package to a hitman named Vincent (Tom Cruise), in a brief cameo in the 2004 thriller "Collateral" (confirmed to be canon by "Transporter 2" director Louis Leterrier via IGN). After having ended things with Lai at some point, Frank moves to Miami and, as a favor to an unspecified acquaintance, becomes a driver for the family of Senator Jefferson Billings. Frank greatly bonds with Jack, Jefferson's son, while driving him to and from school.

As marital conflicts loom over Jefferson and his wife Audrey, Audrey seeks comfort in Frank, seeing how well Frank seems to understand what the family is going through. Frank, being the professional he is, kindly rejects Audrey's advances when she arrives at his home. Meanwhile, Tarconi arrives in Miami on a vacation and stays at Frank's house.

A not-so-happy birthday

A drug cartel hires contractor Gianni Chellini to discreetly eliminate Jefferson and his peers in Congress. Gianni plans to inject Jefferson's son with a contagious virus that then would infect his father and, by extension, those in his political circle. Gianni's team (including his girlfriend Lola) kills everyone at Jack's clinic and poses as the clinic staff themselves before Frank and Jack arrive. Just they're about to inject Jack with the virus, Frank realizes that everyone in the clinic is an imposter, and gets caught up in a gunfight that culminates with him narrowly saving Jack and escaping. Lola follows Frank in a stolen cop car.

Frank drives Jack to the Billings' house, where the family waits to spring a surprise birthday party on him. However, Frank gets a call from Gianni, telling him that he has a sniper aimed at Jack, and will shoot unless Frank allows Lola to get into his car. A distressed Audrey looks as Frank drives away with Jack. Frank is ordered by Gianni to outrun the police in a long chase that ends with him jumping his car from one building to another (ten years before "Furious 7" popularized the stunt).

Infectious Love

While the local police and investigative units hold Frank as the prime suspect, Audrey is willing to believe that Frank is innocent. Gianni calls Jefferson and demands a $5 million ransom in exchange for Jack's safety. After Jefferson makes the deposit, they all find Jack in a truck, unaware that he's infectious. Meanwhile, Tarconi gets arrested by the police during their raid at Frank's home, but manages to get along with the cops at the station through his French culinary prowess. 

Frank contacts Tarconi and asks him to use a computer at the station to find the address of a Russian scientist he saw at the clinic. Tarconi provides the address of Dimitri, becoming Frank's de facto "guy-in-the-chair." Frank tracks Dimitri down, chasing Dimitri as he goes to the laboratory where the virus is contained. Gianni's scientist there tells Frank that only two vials of the antidote exist, tossing both out the window. Frank can only save one.

Another plane to catch

Frank meets Audrey and informs her about the virus and the villains' plans of using it to kill Jefferson and other politicians. While Frank injects Jack with the antidote, Audrey tries calling Jefferson to stop him from going to a press conference, where he would involuntarily spread the virus, but she can't get through. At the conference, Jefferson faints, having spread the virus, and Audrey faints at her house as Jack recovers.

Frank gets Gianni's address from Tarconi, and goes there to find that Gianni has injected the remaining antidote into himself. He flies away in a helicopter, ordering Lola to eliminate Frank. Frank kills Lola, grabs a Lamborghini, and chases Gianni's helicopter. Gianni boards a private jet, which Frank manages to infiltrate just as it takes off. A fight in the jet ensues, leaving the pilots dead as Frank fights Gianni and the jet loses control and crashes into the ocean. Frank defeats Gianni, keeping him alive for the antidote inside him. Frank goes to visit the Billings family in a hospital and leaves flowers for Audrey, before dropping Tarconi off at the airport.

A deal you can't refuse

Eurocorp has a fleet of ships holding enough toxic waste to pollute an entire country for the next century. Environmental Agency Minister Leonid Tomilenkoan prevents the ships from entering the country through the port by refraining from signing off on the ships' entry. In response, Eurocorp contracts American businessman Jonas Johnson to kidnap Leonid's daughter Valentina, which would help Eurocorp gain blackmail leverage over Leonid.

Jonas attempts to hire Frank to transport Valentina, but Frank rejects the job offer, recommending Malcolm in his stead. Jonas has Malcolm drug and kidnap Leonid's daughter Valentina at a party in Ibiza, but Malcolm ends up getting shot and wounded. Eurocorp uses the abduction of Valentina to blackmail Leonid into doing their bidding.

Mortally wounded and losing consciousness, Malcolm crashes the car through Frank's living room, where Frank calls an ambulance. When the ambulance takes Malcolm away, Frank finds Valentina lying half-conscious on the passenger seat with a tracker on her wrist –- the same that Frank saw on Malcolm's wrist. Frank chases the ambulance, which explodes before he can stop it, after which Frank is attacked and captured by Jonas' men.

An explosive affair

At Jonas' lair, Jonas forces Frank to complete the job that Malcolm couldn't. Jonas attaches the explosive bracelet to Frank's wrist, rigged to explode if Frank gets too far from his car. Jonas also forces Frank to take Valentina along with him (given that she's the package) and the two share a contentious relationship as they drive to Budapest. Meanwhile, Leonid assigns two men of his own to find Valentina, both of whom steal the tracker from the Audi that Malcolm had driven earlier, killing an officer in the process. Tarconi, investigating the officer's murder, finds the license plate of the car the two men were spotted in, and receives Interpol's help in identifying the culprits.

On their journey, Frank and Valentina start bonding, and Frank decides to take a detour to meet his mechanic friend Otto, who Frank thinks can dismantle the bracelets. Jonas sends his men to get Frank back on his designated route, but Frank dispatches them as Otto checks the car for the transmitter connected to the bracelets. Otto finds the transmitter but is unable to remove it at the risk of the vehicle exploding.

You're fired

Upon reaching Budapest, Jonas fires Frank and has a henchman steal the car. With the risk of an explosion looming, Frank runs, cycles, and parkours through the streets to stay close to the car, in which Valentina attacks the henchman and slows the car until Frank finally catches up and regains control. Frank reluctantly patches things up with Jonas considering that Jonas still needs his job done and Frank needs the bracelets taken off his wrist.

Leonid's men spot Frank and chase him, while he's under the impression that it's Jonas' men who are after him. Through a call, Jonas clarifies that those are not his men, and Frank shakes his tail by throwing the henchmen's car off a cliff. Valentina comforts a shaken Frank with a hug, eventually culminating in the two having sex. Valentina reveals that Leonid is her father, and recounts the events leading up to Frank finding her in the car that crashed into his living room. Meanwhile, Leonid redirects Frank's coordinates from Bucharest to Odessa.

Now to catch a train

Tarconi, realizing the two men who shot the officer were hired by Leonid, meets Leonid with the offer to help him rescue his daughter. Frank and Valentina arrive at the coordinates, a bridge where Jonas collects Valentina and orders his men to kill Frank. Frank drives into the lake to dodge the bullets. Jonas, knowing that Frank can't ditch his car, leaves with his men. They all hitch a ride on a train, where they hold Valentina hostage.

Underwater, Frank uses large life jackets to propel the car into floating upwards, after which he heads for the train where Jonas was last located by Tarconi. Frank lands the car atop the train, defeats Jonas' henchmen, and manages to kill Jonas by attaching his exploding bracelet to him just before it detonates. Tarconi and his team arrive to see that Frank and Valentina are safe. With the confirmation of his daughter's safety, Leonid tears the papers he signed for Eurocrop and heads for the conference, where he deals a heavy political blow on the corporation. Frank and Tarconi peacefully fish along the coast of France, with Valentina now by Frank's side.

The Transporter TV show that's (kinda) canon

Airing on TNT for two seasons from 2012 to 2014, "Transporter: The Series" continued the globe-trotting adventures of Frank Martin, now played by Chris Vance and accompanied by a host of new cast members and François Berléand, who returned as Inspector Tarconi (being the only recurring cast member from the movies).

Much like the movies, the series consisted of separate episodic adventures that didn't insist on maintaining continuity through an overarching storyline. On how the series differs from the movies, writer Frank Spotnitz told DigitalSpy, "To make it into a TV series, we had to change a number of things about the central character, because it was sort of his anonymity and his solo nature that drove the movie series ... and in the TV series, because people watch TV for characters, we had to create relationships and dimensionalize him in a way that I don't think they did in the movies." However, unlike the popularity of the movies, the series failed to perform well in its first season, and only saw declining numbers in its second season before being canceled.

The planned prequel/reboot trilogy that died with one movie

After negotiations fell through with Statham, a reboot trilogy was announced in 2013, with Ed Skrein eventually cast as the new Frank Martin. Titled "The Transporter Refueled," the film centers on Frank as he gets caught up in a heist plot while trying to rescue his kidnapped father. While "Refueled" made a decent $72 million on its $20 million budget, the film scored a dismal 15% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with audiences and critics missing Statham's charm and the martial arts prowess that made the previous "Transporter" movies entertaining to watch.

When asked by Vulture about the "Transporter" series being rebooted without him, Statham commented, "It was obviously a great experience doing those films, and I would have loved to keep doing it. But they wanted me to sign on and do three more films without even seeing a script, and they offered me less money to do three than I'd get paid for one! So it was a business decision." It makes sense, as Statham has since then been part of several high-grossing franchises and keeping busy with blockbuster sequels like "Fast X," "Meg 2: The Trench," and "The Expendables 4."