Why is Jason Statham in Collateral? Is Collateral Connected to Transporter?

‘Collateral’ (2004) stars Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx in the roles of a hitman and a cab driver, respectively. Max was working his night shift picking up and dropping off strangers. When Max meets Vincent, he discovers that Vincent is on a strict schedule and will be killing at least five people in one night. Max is forced to go on with Vincent’s plan while the cops pick up the trail of dead bodies left behind by them. While there are a lot of interesting things about ‘Collateral’, one of the scenes that stands out is the one that takes place at the beginning, when Vincent is introduced to us. We meet him and Jason Statham play another man. The nature of their interaction raises several questions.

Statham’s ‘The Transporter’ came out in 2002, two years before the release of ‘Collateral’. The comparatively close proximity of the two films and the overlapping themes of men in good suits in the profession of committing crimes, no questions asked, is what makes one wonder if Statham’s brief appearance in ‘Collateral’ means that the two films belong in the same universe. Is Jason Statham’s character in ‘Collateral’ Frank Martin from ‘The Transporter’? Let’s find out.

Jason Statham’s The Transporter’s Connection to Collateral, Explained

While actors are known for having a brief, and often blink-and-you’ll-miss, cameos in random films, Jason Statham’s appearance in ‘Collateral’ makes one stop and think whether it actually means something. In general, when a star of Statham’s stature appears in a film, it is either because the role itself is very powerful, even if brief. There may be a connection between the directors and actors, such as having worked together in the past or being close friends in real life. The role that Statham plays in ‘Collateral’ is only for a few seconds and would have probably been forgotten if not for the actor himself. A strong connection is not evident, at most publicly, between Statham and Cruise, Michael Mann, or any other person involved in the two films. Why did Statham accept this role?

Speaking of the role itself, it is credited as Airport Man on the film’s IMDb page. In the brief interaction that happens between the Airport Man and Vincent, this mysterious man exchanges a briefcase with Cruise’s character. Vincent is the only person he has to send the package. Frank Martin plays Airport Man, a character Statham also played. In ‘The Transporter’, Martin is a freelance driver who is hired by criminals to make all sorts of deliveries. His job is to keep to the agreement, not to swap names or open packages. Airport Man is the same. Vincent can barely speak to him, but they do exchange important stuff.

It looks like Airport Man was hired to deliver the briefcase to Vincent, and once that’s done, he moves on without looking back. Is this a sign that Airport Man is Frank Martin? A positive answer to this question does well to quell that nagging feeling in one’s mind about why Statham chose to do this role when any other forgettable actor could have done it. Did he want to be on the same screen as Tom Cruise? Or was he just wanting to be directed by Michael Mann for a few moments? The only logical explanation is that he was reprising his role from ‘The Transporter’ which means that ‘Collateral’ takes place in the same cinematic universe.

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With the advent of Marvel, the idea of cameos has taken a more significant meaning regarding shared universes, but back in 2004, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Moreover, there was no point in setting up this shared universe thing because, after this, we never got to see ‘The Transporter’, which had two more films in the series, show any connection to Cruise’s character or the people that he works for or even LA for that matter. The filmmakers seem to have lost their way by creating such a connection without ever doing anything about it. On top of that, no one from ‘Collateral’ or ‘The Transporter’ series has ever confirmed or, for that matter, even denied this connection. Then, what’s the point? Why is Jason Statham in ‘Collateral’?

The most important thing about Vincent’s introduction is that the audience must immediately recognize that Vincent is not your typical person. It is common for mercenaries to show them doing a job that involves killing someone and displaying their abilities. It is important to be aware that this character can be dangerous and should not be taken lightly. ‘Collateral’ takes place over the course of a day, and the restriction of the timeline doesn’t allow it to give the audience a well-orchestrated action scene. Vincent is expected to be so proficient at his job that he does it effortlessly without anyone even noticing. He wears forgettable clothes and has a common appearance, which doesn’t make anyone look twice at him. His introduction is supposed to lay down this facet of his character, but it’s also supposed to tell us that there’s something shady about him, and that’s where the Airport Man comes in.

Had any unknown actor or a first-timer been cast for it, the audience wouldn’t have paid any attention to him, especially when Tom Cruise is next to him. We need to pay attention to the Airport Man in order for us know that he is also shady and that there is a shady exchange between Vincent and him. Filmmakers needed to create a story that would shock the audience and make them think. Statham, who is a well-known actor in action, was ideal.

As intended, his presence in the scene still makes viewers wonder why he is there and what his cameo means, which is precisely why you are reading this article even after all these years of the film’s release. Considering this, one can say that the filmmakers succeeded in their task; the audience drawing a connection between ‘Collateral’ and ‘The Transporter’ is simply an unintended, but rather interesting, byproduct of their decision to cast Statham.

Continue reading: The Best Jason Statham Movies

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