There are two types of action films, deep intellectual ones such as Under Siege 2 and loud brain-dead action films that have holes in their plots so big that logic takes a backseat and the film world becomes Hollywood world. Okay, make that one type of action film. The Transporter definitely lies within the realm of these cheesy throw away action film that Hollywood produces, but strangely enough this one is penned by Luc Besson, the French genius behind such films as Leon, Nikita and The Fifth Element, who is fast becoming a European Hollywood merchant.
The film stars Jason Statham (who bares more than a passing resemblance to Agent 47 from the hit PC game The Hitman) as Frank Martin, a freelance transporter. A guy who will transport anything and keeps his disciplined life and business uncomplicated by adhering to three simple rules; Never change the terms of the deal once agreed, anonymity and discretion for all parties involved and finally, never ever will the contents of the package be discussed or opened.
Unfortunately, one day when asked to transport a large duffle bag that squirms, Martin breaks the third rule and opens the package, against his better judgement. He discovers that the package is actually a Chinese woman called Lai (the gorgeous Shu Qi) and upon the discovery he decides to stuff her back into the duffle bag and continue with the delivery as scheduled.
After completing the delivery, Martin drives off only to be double crossed and after the blotched attempt on his life he decides that the best course of action is to retrieve the package. This then leads to the client, known only as Wall Street, an American yuppie type (played Matt Schulze) suitably annoyed enough to send an army of goons after Martin to try and retrieve Lai. Meanwhile the inevitable romance between Lai and Martin kicks off, which leads to further complications as Lai tries to recruit Martin to go against her father, who's involved in some sort of Asian slave trade.
With the lamest excuse for a plot and a lot of wasted potential, The Transporter starts well but by halfway no one really cares any more. Jason Statham is okay, but spends the film just growling his way from one scrap to the next. Had some one like Jackie Chan been in his place, the film would have been a lot better as Chan would have brought something more to the role (like humour) than just the one dimensional character that Statham plays. Shu Qi, originally from Taiwan, is just awful; she spends the whole film screaming and over-acting. It didn't help that she learnt English during the filming and is often intelligible - but she sure does look pretty!
The initial introduction to Frank Martin was excellent, a high speed chase through the narrow streets, avoiding police cars and setting up for an interesting premise. However, soon the ludicrous stunts and over the top direction takes hold as reams of bad guys dutifully line up to get punched, kicked and beaten in turn. Even with some of the more ridiculous fights ever scripted, director Coery Yuan, is let even further down by the awful script with atrocious dialogue such as "He was a bastard, but he was still my father" said by a tearful Lai as she dispatches her father.
Anyone who has seen the trailer might have noticed a scene where Martin deflects a guided missile with a saucepan lid (yes, you read that right!) which was thankfully removed from the final film, but others could have joined it on the cutting room floor.
As mentioned before, at the beginning of the film we were given an intriguing character and a lot of potential, but after a while we end up with trying to save the girls, beat the bad guys action film. Boring, in other words and no matter how much fast cut action scenes are added, or how many explosions are...er...exploded, they cannot save the kiss of death for the proceedings. Luc Besson needs to stop writing scripts for other people and start directing himself again.
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