The Transporter 2 Review
By Shawn McKenzie 09/03/2005
You’ve seen all of the other good movies in the theater, but you are still a big movie buff who likes to see a new movie at least once a week. During this Labor Day weekend, I recommend The Transporter 2.
The sequel to the original 2002 movie takes place a few years later and is set in Miami. Ex-Special Forces operative Frank Martin (Jason Statham) has moved from his former locale in the French Mediterranean, but he still transports anything his clients ask for without asking too many questions. His latest job though involves transporting a specific person. After defending himself from a female carjacker (AnnaLynne) and her four male carjacker thugs (Reggie Pierre, Elie Thompson, Adam Faldetta, and Michael House) in the opening scene, he heads over to the house of wealthy drug czar Jefferson “Jeff” Billings (Matthew Modine.) The job, which was a favor to his friend Tony, consists of chauffeuring Jeff’s young son Jack (Hunter Clary) to and from school. Frank has only been doing it for a month, but he soon forms a bond with Jack. He tries to protect Jack from bad guys, but he also shields him from the constant bickering between Jeff and his estranged wife and Jack’s mother, Audrey (Amber Valletta.) There are bad guys though, and one of them is international criminal Gianni (Alessandro Gassman.) His plan is to kidnap little Jack, inject him with a bio-engineered virus, and ransom his release and the antidote for $5 million. On the way to take Jack to his doctor’s appointment before his surprise birthday party, Dimitri (Jason Flemyng) and the lingerie-wearing Lola (Katie Nauta), two henchpeople of Gianni, arrive there first. They kill Frank’s pediatrician Dr. Koblin (Andy Horne) and his receptionist (Damaris Justamante), and take over their positions in the office. Frank gets a weird feeling while being in the office, and soon that feeling turns out to be the right one. After a shootout and an escape from the office, Dimitri and Lola succeed in kidnapping Jack in front of the Billings estate. Jeff and U.S. Marshal Stappleton (Keith David) implicate Frank in the kidnapping, but Audrey insists that he is innocent. Frank calls upon French police inspector Tarconi (François Berléand), a friend of his who is conveniently in Miami for a vacation, for some help in finding Gianni. Unfortunately, Tarconi ends up in police custody himself, though he spends most of the movie in the station house and not in a cell, where, for some reason, no one seems to care that he freely uses the station’s computers. Frank must find Jack and clear his own name before Gianni succeeds in implementing his even bigger scheme.
I really liked the first Transporter. It had extremely bad acting (except for Statham), but the fight choreography was top notch. The choreographer was Corey Yuen, who had done the choreography for the first movie (which he also directed) and 2001’s The One (which also had Statham in it.) The acting was slightly better this time around, and the action was still cool, but some of the scenes were slightly over the top. One scene really made me roll my eyes. Frank notices a bomb underneath his car, but the bad guys force him to drive away before he can remove it. Knowing that they were going to detonate it soon, he has his car jump in the air, twirl around, hit the bottom of it on a crane’s hook (which knocked off the bomb), and land safely on the ground while the bomb exploded.
French director Louis Leterrier helmed the movie, and despite it being very cartoonish, it is a lot of fun. He also directed this year’s Jet Li vehicle Unleashed, which was just okay. Gravelly-voiced Statham is becoming a more appealing action star than Vin Diesel, and I’d like to see him lead the cast of another action movie (aside from the obvious third chapter of this series, hinted at in the end.) Fans of Statham know that he first came to prominence in Guy Ritchie’s first two movies, 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and 2000’s Snatch. Aside from the two Transporter movies, he was a highlight of 2003’s The Italian Job.
I would say that The Transporter 2 was just as good as the first movie. You really don’t even have to have seen the first one to enjoy its follow-up (though I recommend renting or buying it anyway.) The only connection to the first movie is Tarconi, but if you didn’t see the first one, you won’t get too lost. I still say that it’s okay to “check your brain at the door” and have fun with this movie. What’s better than some burgers and brauts on the grill, followed by a cheesy thrill ride?
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