Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: "Transporter 2" Offers Good Fight Scenes, Little Else

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 141 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Transporter 2 (2005)
Running time:  88 minutes (1 hour, 28 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, sexual content, partial nudity, and brief language
DIRECTOR:  Louis Leterrier
WRITERS:  Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen (based upon characters created by Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen )
PRODUCERS:  Steve Chasman and Luc Besson
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Mitchell Amundsen
EDITOR:  Walter Mauriot, Christine Lucas Navarro, and Vincent Tabaillon
COMPOSER: Alexandre Azaria


Starring:  Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Katie Nauta, Matthew Modine, Jason Flemyng, Keith David, Hunter Clary, Shannon Briggs, François Berléand, and Raymond Tong

Transporter 2 is a 2005 French action thriller from director Louis Leterrier and maestro Luc Besson and stars Jason Statham in the title role.  It is a sequel to the 2002 film, The Transporter.  In Transporter 2, mercenary Frank Martin is in Miami, Florida where he is implicated in the kidnapping of  the young son of a powerful U.S. government official

Transporter 2 is set in Miami, Florida.  There, ex-Special Forces operative, Frank Martin (Jason Statham), lives in retirement, but is still providing services as a transporter.  Martin is a professional driver with almost-supernatural driving skills in a supa dupa car who can transport anyone or anything – no questions asked.  For the past month, Frank has been the driver for the wealthy Billings family, driving young Jack Billings (Hunter Clary) back and forth to school.

When Gianni (Alessandro Gassman), a powerful gun-for-hire and criminal operative, has Jack kidnapped, Frank rushes to the rescue.  However, Jack has been injected with a deadly virus as a ploy to poison his father, Jefferson Billings (Matthew Modine), and in turn spread the deadly virus, killing Mr. Billings’ government and business associates.  Frank defies and eludes the FBI, who believes that he is behind the plot, while he tries to uncover Gianni’s master plan and stop a disastrous epidemic.

There was no reason for a sequel to 2002’s The Transporter, other than that it was an international box office hit.  Transporter 2 is not as good as the first, mainly because the original had Frank Martin in a romantic entanglement that was the humanizing element of the film against its manic martial arts-inspired fight sequences and unrelenting gun violence.  Corey Yuen, the director of the first film, is back for Transporter 2 only as the fight choreographer, and while his successor, Louis Leterrier, benefits from Yuen’s work on the fight scenes, Leterrier didn’t inherit anything else from the original.  Thus, Transporter 2’s fight sequences are excellent in keeping with the spirit of The Transporter, but there just ain’t no soul.  I was only mildly entertained with this as a movie, but I bet electronic games fans would get a kick out of this as a video game.  We shouldn’t buy tickets to the cinema to see a flick and get instead a video game.  The child character, Jack Billings, could have been the soul of this film, they way the love interest was in the original, but Jack is just the object that starts the ball rolling towards a series of violent, supernatural, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/Hero martial arts fight scenes.

Jason Statham has a nice film personality, but this time he wears Frank Martin as if he’s just a video game character and Transporter 2 is just the latest installment in a video game franchise.  If you waited to see the first film on home video, it would only be right to wait for Transporter 2 on DVD and home video, as it is inferior and should not be honored with the movie ticket purchase you didn’t give the first film.  This might sound nerdy and pretentious, but Transporter 2 is a pedestrian fight movie with great fights, but the kind of story that shows up in made-for-cable action movies.

5 of 10

Revised: Thursday, September 3, 2015

The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint syndication rights and fees.

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