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Overall Rating

Awesome: 1.01%
Worth A Look41.41%
Average: 33.33%
Pretty Bad: 10.1%
Total Crap: 14.14%

9 reviews, 45 user ratings

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Transporter 2
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by Jay Seaver

"Yeah, he's just that good."
4 stars

"The Transporter" is the kind of concept that is really ideal for a movie franchise: Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is a mercenary driver who is in a new city each film, where his job of taking things from point A to point B no questions asked is interrupted by pesky moral qualms, requiring him to chase people in cars and beat them up hand to hand to keep his conscience clear. A few years ago, he was in the South of France rescuing a pretty Chinese girl; now, he's in Miami protecting a ten-year-old boy. The important thing is that there is plentiful high-quality vehicular mayhem and martial arts, with Statham serving as an appealing center for the action.

This would, perhaps, get old as a weekly TV show; it's one thing to trot out the same formula for an hour and a half every couple years, but today, the audience expects some sort of supporting cast and continuing storylines and complexity from their action/adventure TV shows, and the budget probably wouldn't be there for the big action set pieces. Animation might work, but mainstream America doesn't yet go for teen/adult-oriented action in that medium; besides, the "how'd they do that?" on a car chase is the same as the "how'd they do that?" on two people talking when you're dealing with ink and paint or RenderMan files.

This installment has Frank filling in for a rich family's normal driver (an unelaborated-upon "favor for a friend"). This mainly seems to consist of shuttling eight-year-old Jack Billings (Hunter Clary) to and from school and being an utmost gentleman no matter how many signals his attractive mother Audrey (Amber Valletta) sends him. The routine is interrupted when a group of thugs try to give Jack some sort of injection and eventually kidnap the boy. It's got something to do with Jack's father (Matthew Modine), the White House drug czar who. Of course, the Special Agent in Charge (Keith David) thinks Frank is in on it, given his record of not particularly caring who his employers are so long as they pay the bill.

The specifics of the plot and its execution are thoroughly silly. I am pretty sure, for instance, that the virus (which of course glows bright green) that figures into the plot is well beyond the capabilities of a couple Russian expatriates (George Kapetan and Jason Flemyng) to create and produce in a basement laboratory; it also exhibits the sort of precisely timed behavior that real-world outbreaks don't. And if anyone can tell me what the kidnapper (Alessandro Gassman) gains by handling the antidote (which of course is dark purple for easy color-coding) the way he does, please do.

Similarly, a lot of the action is over the top and quite frankly cartoony. Set aside, for instance, the character of Lola, a psychotic killer who spends most of the movie wearing little more than lingerée, stiletto heels, and automatic weapons, and consider the stunt driving. Fans of the first movie may remember how Frank complained about an extra man being part of a getaway because he had precisely calculated fuel requirements and maneuvering possibilities based upon a certain weight; here he's doing much more unlikely things on the fly. Consider how he removes a bomb attached to the underside of his car, which makes the audience laugh in sheer disbelief. Or how he leaps through a window with little to catch him after one of the villains sneeringly tells him he shouldn't play at being a superhero.

We mostly buy into it, though, because we buy into Statham. He's not a conventionally handsome type, but he projects authority and charisma. He can get away with doing impossible things because every move he makes leading up to it is aimed at convincing us that, yes, Frank is just that good. We're convinced in part because of Statham himself - he's a pretty decent actor, true, but he's also an athlete with some actual martial arts skills, so when fight time comes, director Louis Leterrier and fight choreographer/second-unit director Corey Yuen can pull the camera back and give the audience a good look at the man at work.

The rest of the cast isn't quite at his level. Every member of the Billings family is kind of one-note - Hunter Clary is the frightened moppet, Amber Valletta is pretty but unappreciated, Matthew Modine is kind of a jerk. François Berléand returns from the first movie as comic relief, the relaxed French detective vacationing amid a bunch of uptight Americans, while Keith David uses his authoritative voice to be very authoritative. Alessandro Gassman has a certain oily charm as a terrorist-for-hire. Kate Nauta makes up for a number of lackluster line readings with her willingness to play to the rafters, an unleashed id of a woman who enthusiastically provides the film's quota of sex and violence in one garish package.

This is the sort of movie that could easily fall apart; there's a thin line between colorful and tacky; the absurdity one person finds whimsical can strike another as simply foolish. Today, I think Transporter 2 falls solidly on the colorful and whimsical side. Director Louis Leterrier is a good surrogate for co-writer/producer Luc Besson; as with Unleashed, they make the characters just rich enough to be interesting but simple enough to keep the action pure, straightforward excitement, as opposed to operatic representations of something else. The action's the point, and this crew finds no shame in that. They spend the film's budget well, too, getting good fights out of Cory Yuen, great work from the stunt driving team, and the occasional CGI assist isn't obtrusive.

[i]Transporter 2[/i] is basic action-movie entertainment. Besson, Statham, Yeun and company can probably make a new one every two or three years for quite some time, and they'll keep being a bunch of fun.

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originally posted: 09/10/05 13:46:41
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell more of the same good action though 4 stars
9/25/13 David Hollingsworth Nothing new, but great stunts though 3 stars
10/24/09 Arnold100 Many thanks to the lovely Cara-Lee Ruditzky for writing the piece. , 3 stars
10/23/09 Barbara47 Yeah, it had some really good lines. , 3 stars
9/16/09 eFSumDgmdnvOgpheA doors.txt;10;15 5 stars
1/08/09 Shaun Wallner Intense Action! 4 stars
6/19/08 Ashwin good movie, worth the time and ation 4 stars
7/30/07 mr.mike great for non-stop action fans 4 stars
5/16/07 Stanley Thai Fell below my expectations because of too many action scenes. 3 stars
4/10/07 John The Speed Channel's ultimate Soggy Biscuit 2 stars
3/29/07 David I'd explain it to you, but your brain would explode 1 stars
12/13/06 Sugarfoot Dumb, Dumb, Dumb, Dumb,Dumb, Dumb (Played to Scrub's Wrong christmas jingle) 1 stars
9/26/06 Anthony Feor Lack of storyline helps the movie lose points 3 stars
8/27/06 Russell Whats wrong with you people that like the sequel over the original? 1 stars
4/13/06 MV PR Ludicrous juvenile crap w/ no plot or characters to care about 1 stars
3/16/06 Indrid Cold Not as good as the first, but still a decent actioner. 3 stars
2/03/06 tony A good sequel 4 stars
1/13/06 Bad Critic Not even close to the first one, and the plot and characters suck. Good fights, though. 2 stars
1/12/06 tatum Fun, mindless actioner- Part Deux 4 stars
1/11/06 Tamara D.Leonard Loved it...great movie. "I'm the cook" LOL 4 stars
1/09/06 lumpy SSH thinks pooping is "fun." 1 stars
12/14/05 Jon T,Smith Transporter is a great Movie ,What can he do in this one .That would get me to Buy it. 4 stars
12/06/05 Silph action lovers might enjoy it; it'll likely bore everyone else 2 stars
10/25/05 SSH This reviewer obvious hates the very concept of "fun". 4 stars
10/18/05 malcolm not nearly enough car action for a movie about a hired driver, pretty good fights though 2 stars
10/10/05 Agent Sands WHAT THE FUCK?! The 1st one had a half-assed ending, this is a no-assed movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
10/04/05 Elizabeth S Preposterous, but fun! Statham is great! 3 stars
9/29/05 Nhi needs alot of improvement. stunts better though. 3 stars
9/29/05 JOrdan ummm... i love poo on toast wat about u? 1 stars
9/26/05 Mido Statham is so good but the action is not realistic 4 stars
9/25/05 Aaron Smith Statham is excellent, but action is unrealistic, and Kate Nauta is just skanky. 3 stars
9/22/05 Fritz A little better by the first one just for the laughable action. 3 stars
9/17/05 Jonathon Holmes Jason Statham gives Clive Owen a run for his money to replace Brosman for the next Bond 4 stars
9/15/05 John betyter than No 1/ John Statham is very good 4 stars
9/07/05 bentable somewhat enjoyable to watch 4 stars
9/07/05 Jiz Kicked ass, real fun action movie, but the final fights were just WAY, WAY too ridiculous. 4 stars
9/06/05 jcjs i had fun, no brainer excitement, funny etc. 4 stars
9/06/05 brian short and sh*t 1 stars
9/05/05 Justin Enjoyable, yet a cheesefest 4 stars
9/05/05 KingNeutron Nauta is just a Milla Jovovich wannabe, but the movie was worth matinee. 3 stars
9/04/05 Jewel i enjoyed it! 4 stars
9/02/05 Ray Nothig new 3 stars
9/02/05 Blutarsky Cheapo EFX bring it down, way down. 3 stars
9/02/05 Debbie Watch it and forget it! 3 stars
8/29/05 Eddie OK 3 stars
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  02-Sep-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-Jan-2006



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