Transporter 2 may be the most gleefully
unrealistic action film in the past decade. It also may be one of the most fun,
something that tells me that audiences might have room in their hearts for both
the new wave of postmodern gritty scaled down crowd pleasers as well as the
carefree 1980’s style where bullets could be dodged and people could walk away
from massive explosions. The knowing coolness and proficiency of today’s Bourne-again love for action married to
the winking playfulness of Remo Williams, now THAT is an idea I can get behind and this film straddles the line between styles like a champion.
the first film wasn’t a major hit theatrically, it did well [spurred on by
CHUD.com’s glowing pullquote?] and was a big success on video and though films
of that ilk rarely get theatrical sequels, this one arrives with swagger and
the assumption that everyone is not only aware of who Jason Statham’s Frank
Martin is but that they’ve been waiting for his return like some latter day
action Jesus Christ.
course, I have been anxiously awaiting his return with such zeal so the trip
wasn’t too much a stretch.
premise for this film is so thin that Lane Bryant patrons are picketing against
it. Frank Martin is a driver. Employing Swiss precision to his work and
treating his car like the true love of his life, he is the picture of
efficiency and doesn’t like when other people get in his way. He also has a
little of the Jackie Chan bloodline in him as he hates fighting with just his
hands when he can showcase his skills as a black belt in oil-fu, hose-fu, and
whatever other household items he can add the “fu” suffix to. In fact, Martin’s
car is his katana. Using it as an extension of himself, the action hero does
stuff with his ride that harkens back to when boys are young and treating their
Matchbox cars like little wheeled spaceships defying physics and reality as it
suited their needs.
heard the term “Car Porn”? This is the maturing of that fetish into a mutual loving
relationship. I wouldn’t be surprised if Transporter 3 is pitched as “The Love Bug meets The Last Tango in
moment, one I won’t spoil, where Mr. Statham has to deal with a bomb attached
to his car, the results of which had the audience I saw the film applauding.
After a moment like that a viewer’s brain either kickstarts and they can’t
enjoy the film or they realize that brains are a useless commodity in the
theater and have a blast.
I had a
of Martin’s plight this time centers around is a small boy. No, there’s isn’t a
Powder lawsuit in Statham’s future
but rather a dilemma where he gave his word and then has to destroy many things
to keep it. The son of a politician [Matthew Modine, the wrong actor for a film
like this] is kidnapped on Martin’s watch and there’s some pointless
gobbedlygook about a virus and jibberjabber about some drug kingpins protecting
their interest resulting in Martin doing what he does best. And what he does is
quite pretty. One of the joys of The Transporter was the closed
quarters combat where the combination of Stathams’s athleticism and Cory Yuen’s
choreography was allowed to flourish. It was rough around the edges as a film,
had weird music, and was uneven but it created a lovely Euro playground. With this film,
Yuen is simply the choreographer and the more polished Louis [Danny the Dog/Unleashed] Leterrier is behind the lens and the result is a seriously glossy and polished movie. Aside from some CGI moments where the film shows its smaller origins [it’s another of Luc Besson’s productions, and honestly I love the guy more as a producer than a director], it is a big league action film and as fun and aggressive as Bad Boys 2 but nowhere near as bloated.
If you like cool, stoic indestructible heroes and crave ludicrously over the top action, this is the film for you. If you love villains who love being villains so much it hurts, this is the film for you. If you love the direct to video action flicks and wish they had some quality people working on them and theatrical dollars, this is the film for you. If you like shiny, fast cars and the thrill of the chase, this is the film for you.
Transporter 2 is dumber than a bucket of lotion and proud of it. Pay the cashier this weekend whatever they’re asking for, grab a huge bucket of popcorn and tell the diet soda to piss off and drink the regular stuff. You deserve it, because this movie is just plain fun and the perfect way to cap a scattershot summer and to help forget that it’s going to cost you $55 to fill your gas tank up afterwards for your own Staham-inspired drive home.
7.7 out of 10