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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.48%
Worth A Look36.88%
Average: 22.7%
Pretty Bad: 19.86%
Total Crap: 7.09%

10 reviews, 81 user ratings

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Transporter, The
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by Erik Childress

"Gloriously Ridiculous...But Let's Be Honest"
2 stars

No one in good conscience could recommend a film like The Transporter. Or maybe it’s no one with a conscience could tell you that The Transporter is good. Anyway you deliver or don’t deliver the message, The Transporter is not a good film. That being said, there’s such a joyous nonsensical frenzy to it that you may find yourself going with it even as every part of your brain is screaming out “this movie sucks.” It has a stiff hero, fossilized villains and a plot that seems to twist 360 degrees back to its original course. It’s also so gloriously ridiculous and fast moving that you keep trying to convince yourself that the filmmakers were making a parody. They had to be. Right?

Follow me here. Jason Statham (Snatch, Ghosts of Mars) plays Frank Martin, a professional transporter who, well, transports things even if it includes giving bank robbers a getaway ride. He has it down to a science; the kind found in second grade home chemistry sets. He needs to know the precise size and weight of his cargo, delivered in a souped up BMW. When four passengers show up instead of three, he refuses to move because it will screw up the travel plans. It changes the alotted gas, the weight of the car thus affecting speed. Sounds very professional, except how many force majueres could happen in a high-speed car chase especially after he’s given the cops a head start by taking the time to explain ALL of this to the thieves as they sit in front of the crime scene. But, hey, this guy has rules. That’s right – the rules. Three of them.

Rule #1 – The deal is the deal. (No changes.)
Rule #2No names.
Rule #3Never feed him after midnight. (Just kidding.) It’s actually “Never look in the package.”

“Transportation is a precise business,” or so we’re told. We all know though that rules are meant to be violated in movies, so on Frank’s second job he opens the squirming black bag to reveal a young Asian girl, Lai (Shu Qi). In a refreshing change of pace, he’s nice to her and offers her orange juice but then immediately stuffs her back into the trunk for delivery. No harm, no foul. That is until our villain, identified only in the credits as “Wall Street” (Matt Schulze) gives our hero some referral business, a case to deliver that happens to explode during the one rest stop he allows for himself. Very convenient. (This sequence contains one of the funniest moments of the film, when after the explosion, a gas station attendant is seen continuing to clean a car as if nothing had happened.)

So a plot is in motion here, but its too embarrassed to stop and ask for directions. Consider the reason Frank is given for Wall Street trying to blow him up. “You opened the package,” he says. But how does he know that? Frank delivers the girl and he’s immediately given the bomb. There was no time to even bother noticing the small slit in the duck tape he made for the orange juice.

How about the kidnapping itself? It’s revealed that Lai is the daughter of a high-ranking Chinese official. Except then we discover that her father is working with Wall Street. So who was she being kidnapped for and at what purpose? She’s aware that both of them are smuggling nearly 400 people into the country (to be slaves, I guess) so why not just kill her? Why use one group of thugs to snatch her up, then hire a third party to deliver her whom you then need to kill? One could only postulate based on one of her father’s speeches that he was trying to convert her to evil. Whatever, Mr. Palpatine.

Plot aside, the action in the film steps up to the preposterous storyline with several sequences that range from a mixture of creative anarchy to gimme a friggin’ break. The pursuit that opens the film, albeit with flashes of the absurd, could have been one of the great car chases of all time with about 725 less cuts. Our ex-military superhuman driver also manages to nearly outrun a plane (on foot), literally gets consumed in fire in one shot, pulls an Indiana Jones on a semi and just so we know he’s comfortable with his sexuality, kisses a man underwater so he can breathe. Or maybe he’s just a necrophiliac considering that the guy was dead and all.

Into dead bodies or not, Statham and the filmmakers are determined to give a little something back to the ladies by taking his shirt off more often than Shannon Tweed in a nudist camp’s shower. Testing the audience to violate rule three of never looking at the package, he does an entire sequence shirtless; complete with a sliding camera crotch shot and our hero dumping some oil/grease/molasses combo onto the playing field AND HIMSELF so he can play slip ‘n’ slide with his adversaries. This scene gets so maniacal that I could have sworn that employees of the bus station came out trying to attack with guns and pipes.

Bits within the action sequences are fun and one can always derive a good laugh out of characters showing up at the perfect time despite having no possibility to know (or how) to show up there. Even after Frank wastes an hour playing Enter the Dragon in the Chocolate Factory while everyone else gets away (at night), the baddies still get frightened (in the daytime) at the site of an anonymous cropduster as if the Al Qaeda were on board.

Just when things stop exploding and heads maintain their original bone structure, the filmmakers keep the laughs coming. If it’s not the love theme that gets played the first time Frank realizes he has a tied-up Asian woman in his trunk it’s the carnage of a house assault that ends with a lovely little scuba trip as if they were cave diving through Waterworld. For dessert, there’s dialogue like “You’re always complaining, except when we make love you say nothing,” or after she kills the paterfamilius that’s had her kidnapped, smacked around and threatened with death, “He was a bastard but he was still my father.” That comes courtesy of Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen (who went from films like La Femme Nikita, The Professional and The Karate Kid to The Fifth Element, Kiss of the Dragon and The Messenger.)

Of course, someone DOES have to say the dialogue and I don’t know who the casting director or dialect coach was for this film, but a scene in a garage between the Englishman, Frenchman and Asian woman is impossible to understand even if you had a Klingon decoder ring that translated Pig Latin. Even Matt "Fast and the Furious” Schulze was likely hired not for his acting ability but his ability to hang off a moving truck.

There’s a fine line between rolling your eyes or applauding at such a delightful mess that you may even want to get down and bow at its reverence. It’s bad and you know it’s bad, but not in the same way that XXX was; a disaster that had the audacity to think it was breaking new ground and tackling it with the skill of a John Woo or James Cameron. I don’t know what The Transporter thinks of itself, but it keeps chugging along full steam ahead for 90 minutes, reminding me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer test drives a car and keeps driving despite the tank falling way below empty. When told he needs gas, he replies “No time!” I would never recommend The Transporter in good conscience to anyone, but I guarantee that it would sell out as the opening night attraction at the First Annual FilmKeg Festival.

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originally posted: 10/11/02 16:58:07
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell transports the thrills to the viewer 4 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Worth seeing, but only once 3 stars
10/23/09 Rachel Really enjoyed this fast paced movie from start to finish! 5 stars
8/19/08 Shaun Wallner Great Action!! 5 stars
2/18/08 cdmtx awesome! 5 stars
12/02/07 davidbobo20 screw xXx, this movie is awesome! 5 stars
9/20/07 R.W. Welch C+ actioner has little that's new but moves well. 3 stars
9/30/06 Stanley Thai It's a good action flick. 4 stars
9/26/06 Anthony Feor It can keep up with itself 3 stars
2/18/06 Ronin Yup - Statham great and bad script. Sill nice to watch 4 stars
2/03/06 tony Good in its own way 4 stars
1/12/06 tatum Fun, mindless actioner 4 stars
10/31/05 chris exellent film i loved it 5 stars
10/14/05 Mike Statham great, horrific script, an old B Karate movie done modern. 2 stars
10/12/05 Tom Burns great action. 4 stars
10/10/05 Agent Sands It's fun, but very simplistic and anti-climatic. 4 stars
9/27/05 Indrid Cold Dumb, over-the-top Hong Kong style action movie = good fun. 4 stars
9/20/05 Carolyn Rathburn Another blow everything up and fall for the girl movie, it was great 4 stars
9/15/05 John great concept but pedestrian execution 3 stars
8/23/05 ES This movie has a great start and then devolves into Seagal/Van Damme fight style movie 1 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins A comic masterpiece, too bad it's not a comedy. 3 stars
6/05/05 Charlene Javier What was that about? 1 stars
6/03/05 deadwiz To much lack of story, and really pointless action 3 stars
4/26/05 E-FUNK I imagine this is what gay porn is like... but with less story and acting skills. 1 stars
3/14/05 Ronin Statham is as good actor as any guy picked randomly from the streets.Good montage. BMW rock 4 stars
1/28/05 Charlie Exciting, fast paced action flick! 4 stars
10/14/04 Sandy Great! 4 stars
8/17/04 Dean-o Qi-Chu is lovely. The film is not about plot, it is a demonstration of Sun Zi's Art Of War. 4 stars
8/11/04 Dean Why did she screech so much, it still don't get the kidnap part 4 stars
5/08/04 Stefan Halka Slick, well-choreographed fight scenes could not make up for the weak script the film had. 3 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt Awesome action flick! The heck with crap like xXx and Vin Diesel, Statham oozes sex appeal! 4 stars
4/15/04 The More You Know Statham just misses box office success on 1 hand, Bruce Campbell cult status on the other. 4 stars
3/15/04 "Meth Labs" for DUMMIES WOW...Uhhh, WOW?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/15/03 HorrorScribbler Fun but loses all credibility when Statham parachutes onto a moving truck from a cropduster 4 stars
11/09/03 Shane Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ONE OF MY FAV'S NEXT TO "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie" & "Freddy VS. Jason"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/05/03 Lia Aranga Great, I love long car chases 4 stars
8/09/03 Eric Not high art, but packed with tons of great action, Statham's awesome 5 stars
8/04/03 punjab utter pish! 1 stars
6/23/03 David Get sillier as the clock rolls by, Statham's wasted here.... 3 stars
6/16/03 Jason Cowan Good 4 stars
6/13/03 Robin Swados "The Transporter" is one of the best bad movies I've see in years. It's a junk masterpiece! 4 stars
6/02/03 Daniella Great! Awesome! My Favorite! Incredible! 5 stars
6/01/03 Shane Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fucking great to watch, Jason Statham is the next Bruce Willis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/28/03 brentley Parity errors galore, illogical plot events... The fight scenes were ok, tho. 3 stars
5/22/03 Desert Rat Painfully lame!!! 1 stars
5/18/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng It's like watching MTV while riding a rollercoaster! 4 stars
4/16/03 YES Car chases, martial arts fights, death-defying stunts, The Transporter's tons of fun. 5 stars
4/04/03 Ric Fun action romp, Jason Statham is the next great action star. 5 stars
3/28/03 Jon Killer action romp, but why does the plot for these kinda movies always have to be shit 4 stars
3/17/03 Peter Nice look on Paris. Lots of action, and great picture. A great movie for action fans. 5 stars
12/12/02 Natalie Stonecipher 2nd gratuitously violent film set in France I've seen this week. What kinda trend is this? 1 stars
12/08/02 ADP Action at the ebd was good but a lot of bad acting. Strathma has seen too many kung-fu movi 2 stars
12/04/02 Robin Fletcher ABSOfuckingLUTELY awesome! Statham is our new action star! 5 stars
11/26/02 malcolm great Hong Kong style action featuring white people 4 stars
11/26/02 Jeremy Witteveen Great action flick, if you don't expect too much characterization 4 stars
11/25/02 Ravenous Jason Statham is eye candy and fight choreography was fierce. Plot was non-existent 4 stars
11/10/02 jason wonderful 5 stars
11/09/02 Michael Bolton What a pile of crap, no plot just gay 'karate scenes' what a piece of shit. 1 stars
11/05/02 Tyler Rowe Wicked movie, thought it was great. Great stunts and karate scenes. 5 stars
11/05/02 Michael Buehler Wretched-An excuse to cram as much low rent choreographed violence into a movie as possible 1 stars
11/04/02 Anarchy Azmi barely average least its better xXx....which was completely gay 3 stars
11/01/02 F.E. The most fun I've had in a movie for a while! 5 stars
10/31/02 SGR Fights at about half the speed of Jet Li and has none of Jackie Chan's finesse 2 stars
10/29/02 Jason Statham Best Film ever 1 stars
10/27/02 Mr. Hat Jason Statham is cool, but not quite as much in this unrealistic action flick 3 stars
10/20/02 Jamer 1/3 Jackie Chan, 1/3 James Bond, 1/3 Hitman (videogame series). Good flick. 4 stars
10/20/02 The Bomb 69 white knuckle action with a decent script 5 stars
10/19/02 nick2k first half was fucking good...but what the hell happened to the script afterwards?!? 3 stars
10/16/02 wintermute The fighting was top notch and the bicycle pedals were truly original 4 stars
10/15/02 Interrog8 Loses touch with it's story, but the action keeps it going. Delivers where xXx couldn't. 4 stars
10/14/02 Uncle Salty We're not talking shakespear here, but it sure kicks XXX's ass. 4 stars
10/14/02 Matt Senne The best, worst, funniest movie ever. 5 stars
10/14/02 Chancey Sugarpants Not as dumb as I expected. It's fun, but didn't make me feel like a moron for watching it. 4 stars
10/14/02 Jiz Started as an original/cool action flick, half-way through turned into boring generic shit 3 stars
10/13/02 King Richard As long as you sit back and enjoy the show, and don't think at all, this flick is alright 4 stars
10/13/02 "Yes the shit." Good entertainment to sneak into. Or the 3 AM is a good idea. 3 stars
10/12/02 crashdavis This movie sucks all ass. Wait for it at 3am on HBO 9. 1 stars
10/12/02 syrius yeah, the script was bad, but the action more than makes up for it 4 stars
10/05/02 Buddha The dialogue was pretty damn hokey, but it's a fun ride. 4 stars
10/04/02 Zaw Good chaseing around europe small towns. I wish there were more chasing scences. 4 stars
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  11-Oct-2002 (PG-13)
  DVD: 23-Aug-2005


  31-Oct-2002 (M)

Directed by
  Corey Yuen

Written by
  Luc Besson

  Jason Statham
  Qi Shu
  Matt Schulze
  François Berléand
  Ric Young
  Doug Rand

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