The Transporter Review
By Shawn McKenzie 09/13/2002
There are times when you really need to forgive bad acting for great action. If you go to see The Transporter, it will be one of those times.
The Transporter is the story of Frank Martin (Jason Statham), a man who has his own business of transporting people and/or items. He has made three rules for himself: 1. Don’t change the deal. 2. There are no names. 3. Don’t look into the package. Unfortunately, he breaks rule three. The item in the package is a woman named Lai (Qi Shu.) The bad guys who hired Frank to transport the package, led by a guy named Wall Street (Matt Schulze), somehow find out that he had opened the package and set out to bump him off. Frank spends the rest of the movie avoiding being blown up or getting shot, all while rescuing Lai and helping her with her problem (which I won’t reveal here, because it would unnecessarily spoil the movie, but it doesn’t take much to figure it out while you are watching it.)
As I stated above, the acting in this movie is atrocious. Shu is very wooden in her acting (that might be because she obviously just recently learned English.) Schulze overacts so cartoonishly that I thought maybe he was kidding or these were outtakes or something. I swear I was watching a live action cartoon with his character.
Statham is the only halfway decent actor in this flick. It is his first starring role in a Hollywood film. He was previously known for prominent roles in Guy Ritchie’s first two films, 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. In The Transporter, he is very cool and smooth. In addition, as a bonus for the ladies, he is very built and gratuitously takes his shirt off many times in the movie.
The bad acting isn’t the only problem though. The story is flimsy and makes no sense at times. There are many continuity problems. One thing I found funny was something my friend who went with me to the screening pointed out. They kept using the same stretch of highway for the car chase scenes! (That kind of goes along with the whole cartoonish feeling of the movie, wouldn’t you think?)
Now, why am I going to give The Transporter a good rating? It’s because the action scenes in the movie are so good that it makes up for a lot of the flaws. It has some of the best fight choreography I have seen this year (almost as good as The Bourne Identity’s fight scenes.)
If you are a regular reader of my columns, you might be asking yourself (or me), “Didn’t you give the Vin Diesel movie XXX an ‘okay’ rating for essentially the same thing?” (see my review of XXX.) Yes I did, and the reason why is, though unbelievable as well, the stunts and fight scenes in The Transporter are done with such a cool style that you don’t roll your eyes at them, like you would watching XXX. I had to give The Transporter a higher rating than XXX on that fact alone. I wouldn’t mind seeing an action movie with Diesel and Statham together (maybe Statham can remind Diesel that he used to be a good actor before he became an “action star.”)
I wouldn’t recommend buying the DVD when it comes out, but The Transporter is a movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen. The fight scenes, the car chases, the stuff blowing up…all choreographed perfectly and scored with some cool background music to make this a fun movie to go see with a group of friends. This is the true movie that you have to “check your brain at the door and enjoy the ride!”
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