The rules governing Frank Martin’s life are as follows:
1. Never change the deal.
2. No names.
3. Never open the package.
4. Never make a promise you can’t keep.
Just as Frank repeatedly breaks his own rules during the three Transporter films, Luc Besson and EuropaCorp broke the first two this weekend. Besson and EuropaCorp have changed the deal, promising a new trilogy of films about Frank’s high-octane travails as a transporter, an agent who unquestioningly ferries illegal materials for crime bosses. Besson also gave names: the apparently expendable Jason Statham will turn in his briefcase and handguns, as Ed Skrein (the first Daario Naharis on HBO’s Game Of Thrones) takes over the role of Frank Martin. Camille Delamarre (Brick Mansions) will direct the first of the new trilogy, working from a script penned by Bill Collage and Adam Cooper of Exodus fame. As with the first three films, Besson will produce, though this marks the first instance in which Besson will not claim a screenwriting credit.
The film will drag Frank through France’s seedy criminal underbelly (zut alors!) when he attracts the attention of gang boss Anna (Loan Chabanol). She kidnaps Frank’s pére, demanding that in lieu of a ransom, Frank must take down an organization of Russian human traffickers. Moralities will be muddled. Guns will be left smoking. After three films, you know the drill.
But this new trilogy doesn’t constitute the only attempt to cash in on the reputation of the original three films. 2012 saw the unusually gradual release of a television series with Chris Vance in the Frank Martin role. The episodes first ran out of order in Germany, with the final two never even making it to air. The series eventually made its way around the globe, airing next in France and moving on to Norway, the Middle East, Portugal, New Zealand, and even Canada. There was a time (July 2013, to be precise) when Cinemax was slated to run the show’s 12 episodes here in the States, but HBO announced at that year’s Television Critics Association press tour that, in defiance of Frank Martin’s fourth rule, it had made a promise it couldn’t keep, and would not air the series.
Though Besson isn’t in the director’s chair, he’s still basking in the glow of Lucy’s formidable box-office draws and polarized critical reception, and he’ll undoubtedly continue a consistent career of balls-to-the-wall action flicks with this newest Transporter, The Transporter Legacy.