Transporter 2

2006-07-12 09:06

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After overstaying his welcome on France's Cote D'azur by demolishing several buildings and half the police cars in Marseilles, mercenary "transporter" Frank Martin (Jason Statham) has decided to move to Miami, Florida. He may have a new car (the awesome Audi A8L W12) and new clients, but this ex-Special-Forces operative is still willing to move anything, for a price. Ever the professional, Frank likes to keep his distance, never getting involved with his clients. But this is proving difficult with his latest package - an adorable 6-year-old named Jack who Frank ferries to and from school. When Jack is kidnapped as part of a plot to assassinate his powerful father, Frank decides to break his own rules, not to mention the limbs of anyone who gets in his way, and rescue Jack.


It's rare for a sequel to live up to the original film, and even rarer for one to improve on its predecessor, but Transporter 2 does just that. Where most sequels would take the original premise and dress it up (or water it down) in a vain attempt to squeeze another film out of the same material, Transporter 2 has learned from its mistakes and focussed its vision.

One reason this kind of improvement is possible is the openness of the original plot. The Transporter was little more than a series of cool action sequences that snapped together into an elegant but empty whole. Part of what made it so successful is that it never tried to be anything more than it was. The uncompromising nature of French master Luc Besson's slick script was clear - this is a kick-ass cool action flick, we don't need any chest beating morals or ironic posing getting in the way of the fun. Frank Martin is who he is, and does what he does. The movie doesn't try to redeem him - to do so would be an insult.

It's this openness, this freedom from the urge to "fix" characters that helps make Transporter 2 so effective. Besson and his directors don't have to think of reasons to motivate Frank, or ways to grow his character. Instead they can spend their time perfecting their action sequences until they become the movie equivalent of a triple choc-mint-fudge sundae with sugar sprinkles. You know they're silly and gratuitous and will probably rot your brain, but they're so tasty you can't bring yourself to care.

Another factor that helps the sequel shine is the fact that both directors worked on the previous film. Louis Leterrier (of Unleashed fame) was Assistant Director on the first film, working under Hong Kong action luminary Corey Yuen. This time around it's Yuen who assists Leterrier and also choreographs the playful but breathtaking martial arts sequences. While they may have swapped roles, it's clear that both men share Besson's vision for the sequel.

The film is understandably light on dialogue and dramatic performances, but Jason Statham still deserves praise for the focus and finesse he brings to the lead character. He may be playing a human cartoon character, but at least he manages it with style. Equally impressive is his physical performance - Statham performed all his own stunts, some of which defy both physics and belief.

His Eurotrash opponents, on the other hand, are utterly, nauseatingly awful. Luckily for director Louis Leterrier this actually works to the story's advantage. You become so irritated with their hammy performances that you begin to hate them just for appearing on screen, and the line between character and actor blurs. You pray for Statham to hit them or run them over - anything to shut them up.

A word of caution, don't go into this movie expecting realism. Transporter 2 may appear to be set in the real world, but it's best viewed as fantasy. Many of the feats that Frank pulls off are not simply unlikely, they are impossible. If you're a stickler for the laws of physics you'll be irritated beyond belief. But if you view them in the same light as Fantastic Four or The Matrix you'll have a blast.

- Alistair Fairweather

The world's deadliest chauffeur is back for another high-octane action feast. The script may be as dumb as a bag of hammers, but who needs dialogue with car chases like these?

Quinton 2005/09/15 5:08 PM
Transporter 2 My type of movie.Great action.Keeps you in suspence the whole time. cronicles of the Riddick
John Schoeman 2005/09/16 8:10 AM
Transporter 2 Frank Martin brings to reality the action film and hero we have all been waiting for. Transporter 1
Mthokozisi Dlamini 2005/09/26 9:32 AM
Transporter 2 No bad Not bad at all. One of the best movies i have watched. Mind Hunters
Herbie Ellison 2005/10/14 9:40 AM
Transporter 2 I've seen science fiction movies which are more infinitely more credible ! The fight scenes which were stunningly well choreographed were nevertheless totally incredulous not to mention the car stunt scenes where a cars 'fly' from one building to the next and an explosive device is surgically removed in mid-air through an impossible manoeuvre which would leave James Bond shaking his head in dismay ! - all this each time with not so much as a scratch to the Audi. The blond female assasin left a lot to be desired with an unconvincing performance of brutality and firepower which would rival a 'Blackhawk' attack helicopter. It had all the elements of being a really great action movie if only the melodrama mentioned had been played down The Island
kRemlin 2007/05/24 2:08 PM
Preferred the first entertaining, but preferred the first
Tello Kekana 2007/11/14 2:30 PM
Transporter 2 This is awsome and exciting action movie!
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