Sunday, 30 November 2008
TRANSPORTER 2 (2005)
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Screenplay: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valetta & Jason Flemying
Bubblegum action hits full force in a fast, fun and frivolous sequel to the hit, cult classic The Transporter. This time around Frank Martin (Statham) has a legitimate job, transporting the kid of a rich couple back and forth from school and various other activities. Being a rich couple, their kid is the target of some local (and also very rich) psychotics who kidnap the boy and use him to unleash a deadly virus. Frank being the ever professional he is, swears to get the kid back and does so in ever increasingly outlandish, violent and gravity defying ways.
Transporter 2 is slick action fun, cramming in more set pieces than most action films put together and affirming that Statham really is the new action kid on the block. He oozes star charisma, bulldozes his way through the bad guys and shows he is the closest thing we have to a bona fide action star since the glory days of the 1980s. Now this sequel has been criticized for jettisoning the grit of the original and pushing everything to comic book extremes, therefore making it inferior. In general, I would agree (though I would never call the original gritty) but Transporter 2 is still great fun and possibly even as good as its predecessor. It takes everything that was cool from the original (Statham, loads of whacked out action, that funny French guy) and just mixes it up a little with a bit more comedy, loads more ludicrous stunts and much more sun and sand. Shifting the action to Miami gives the flick a very glossy look and while Part 2 is essentially the same as Part 1, it forms its own identity with a slightly different style. While the French guy (Francois Berleand) is somewhat underused and badly shoehorned in this time (but still funny), director Leterrier still whips everything up into a fast moving, adrenaline surging froth all the while keeping the fun nature of the original.
The action is what this series is all about and this entry doesn’t disappoint. It varies from the brilliant and brutal to the downright ludicrous. On one end of the spectrum there are the tightly crafted fight scenes (the boat fight, the garage fight, the awesome hose fight), the glossy gunplay (the gunfight at the doctors), and loads of vehicular mayhem (the Audi chase, the Jet Ski bit). At the other end of the spectrum there is the complete barmy, from the mad finale set on a spiralling out of control jet, to a helicopter being blown up with handguns to that infamous bit with the bomb underneath the car. Now the film never attempts to be realistic (and the original certainly wasn’t either in terms of credible action physics) but this is all part of the fun. Many will hate the over-the-top nature but just as many will watch the Transporter flicks for this nature. Personally, I enjoy the hell out of the Transporter flicks and like all different kinds of action. If I want hard hitting, realistic action, I’ll watch a Bourne film and if I want stunt heavy craziness with a dash of creative martial arts, I’ll watch a Transporter flick. Though, yeah, the bit with the bomb under the car is maybe a little much even for me.
Still, great, action packed madness and any flick that manages to feature a sexy, lingerie wearing female assassin brandishing two high powered handguns is alright by me. Roll on Transporter 3.