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

Every Transporter Movie Ranked Worst To Best

The Transporter series isn't Jason Statham's only successful franchise, but when the History of the Statham is one day written, chances are that it ends up going down as the one that started it all. Before the stoic, high-kicking, fast-driving Frank Martin sat behind the wheel, the actor was mostly known from his small-time criminal roles in Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. The very second he pushed the pedal to the metal, however, an action star was born. As The Transporter artistic director and Transporter 2 director Louis Leterrier told IGN in 2005, Statham elevated what could have been a neat, but ultimately forgettable action role into a character that could carry an entire high-octane series. "Without Jason Statham, [The Transporter] would be straight-to-video, dumb, horrible film, you know?" Leterrier said. 

Without this performance and these films, we might never have seen Statham as Chev Chelios in Crank, or Lee Christmas in The Expendables movies — let alone Deckard Shaw in the Fast and Furious series. But how good is his first action franchise, really? More importantly, which one of its movies is the absolute best? Today, we'll take a look at every Transporter movie, ranked worst to best.

The Transporter Refueled fails to surpass the original trilogy

By 2013, Statham was riding high as a well-established star, with a couple of Expendables movies under his belt and the Fast franchise looming on the not-so-distant horizon. Meanwhile, Luc Besson's EuropaCorp and Fundamental Films decided that it was high time to give the Transporter movies another shot, and announced a new trilogy of Frank Martin movies (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

So far, the only one of these to materialize is The Transporter Refueled. It came out in 2015, with Besson once again serving as a writer and producer, but Ed Skrein (of Deadpool, Game of Thronesand Alita: Battle Angel fame) now donning the black suit of the perennially professional driver. Skrein's Frank Martin immediately gets drawn into a fight against a criminal empire, as a group of former trafficking victims frame him as a robber and kidnap his father (Ray Stevenson) as part of their plot to take down their abuser, crime lord Arkady Karasov (Radivoje Bukvić). 

Unfortunately, the reboot doesn't quite reach the action movie heights of the original trilogy, as evidenced by The Transporter Refueled's abysmal 16% critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you've heard the last of Frank Martin. After all, Box Office Mojo reveals that the movie's worldwide gross was a respectable $72 million  – not bad for a movie with a $22 million budget (via Variety).

Transporter 3 is lucrative but comparatively lackluster

The year was 2008, and if it wasn't clear before, Transporter 3 proved once and for all that Frank Martin is truly incapable of getting a break. The final movie in the Statham-led Transporter trilogy pulls Frank back in the game entirely against his will. An action-packed array of explosive bracelets, corrupt corporate executives, and a kidnapped lady ensues, with Frank once again driving and fighting his way through a truly impressive amount of evil henchmen. The Olivier Megaton-directed film has Besson in his usual co-writer-producer roles and features a notably larger emphasis on romance than the first two movies.

At this point, it appears that people already knew what to expect from a Statham movie, and that they really, really liked it. In fact, Transporter 3 raked in a very cool $108 million globally (per Box Office Mojo), making it easily the highest-grossing film in the franchise. Still, as a pure display of arse-kicking artistry, many feel that the movie leaves something to be desired. Though its 40% Rotten Tomatoes rating isn't unheard of for this type of action flick, it's still inferior to the previous films. As the site's critical consensus puts it: "This middling installment in the Transporter franchise is a few steps down from its predecessors, featuring generic stunts and a lack of energy."

Transporter 2 is a worthy follow-up to the original

Transporter 2 is a wild ride. The 2005 sequel moves the hub of the action from France to Florida, and shows Frank as a chauffeur working for a wealthy family with government connections. Of course, he barely has time to shift gears before he finds himself protecting the family's son against dangerous criminals and trying to stop the outbreak of an even more dangerous virus

The movie does a good job expanding on The Transporter's action, and its worldwide gross of $89 million (via Box Office Mojo) kept the franchise burning bright. What's more, while it didn't exactly bask in critically acclaimed glory — of course, movies like this rarely do — many critics recognized it for the pure, gleefully absurd entertainment that it was. Still, while Transporter 2 is a worthy sequel that's tons of fun to watch, it's not quite the best entry in the series.  

The first Transporter movie is still in the driver's seat

Oh, the naive days of 2002, when the world still thought of Statham as the hustler figure from the Guy Ritchie movies, and was largely unaware of his chiseled body and ability to perform complex jump-kicks. Co-producer and writer Besson knew otherwise, though, and The Transporter unleashed the Statham you now know unto the unwary world in one fell swoop of charisma and violence. 

Frank Martin's inaugural trip to protagonist territory runs on the concepts of cool, cars, and fight scenes, making a point of having at least two of the three in full display at virtually any given time. It also doesn't hurt that the movie's absolutely jam-packed with quality action scenes, from the opening car chase sequence to the brutal, creative, and hilarious oil fight. 

Though The Transporter wasn't the kind of money-maker its successors would be ($43 million worldwide against a $21 million budget, per Box Office Mojo), it spawned a franchise, gave us Action Hero Jason Statham, and even somewhat resonated with the critics. Though its critical consensus at Rotten Tomatoes is a middling 54%, even the professional critics have often been quick to nod at what it brings to the table, as action movies go. As for the audiences, they seem to simply love the movie for what it is, and its 73% audience score is easily the highest in the franchise. Sometimes, the original is truly the best.