In 2002, we as a cinema audience were blessed with, for the most part, a thoroughly entertaining guilty pleasure entitled, “The Transporter.” The film was pretty much a success both theatrically and with DVD sales that no one should really be that surprised that a sequel would come at us later down the road. Thankfully it arrived during a season that hasn’t been too kind to the action genre – because of crap like The Island and “Stealth” – and finally gives us that adrenaline rush we’ve been waiting for all summer.
There are so many terrifically ridiculous action scenes in this film; it’s impossible for you to not suspend your disbelief. “Transporter 2” is the kind of guilty pleasure Michael Bay dreams of making. It’s fun, plot-less, explosive, short, and above all things, the camera doesn’t spin around like an out of control helicopter blade.
Jason Statham returns as Frank Martin, driver extraordinaire, and since his last adventure, he’s relocated to sunny Miami. He still drives though, only now, he has a legal assignment – escorting a rich couple’s little boy to and from school – but things go awry for him when the boy is kidnapped. Authorities immediately point the blame toward him, due to his shady past, so he makes it his mission to find the boy and return him unharmed.
That’s all you really need to know about the plot of this picture because this film isn’t about plot, it’s about making every fight scene and chase scene even more outrageous than the one prior. Every time Statham needs a ramp, one miraculously comes out of nowhere. Every time he launches in the air, he lands it perfectly as if he was planning it out for months like he was Evel Knievel. He can also take a beating. For instance, one scene has him falling on top of a moving vehicle (his body crushes it as if he was an anvil) and he just walks away like nothing happened.
Examples like that are why this movie works so well – it never pretends to take itself seriously. Not only that but also most of the team that worked on the first “Transporter” returned here. It was co-written by the same two writers as the first – Luc Besson (“Leon”) and Robert Mark Kamen (“The Karate Kid”) – and they did a perfect job of focusing more on action and less on silly things like plot and dialogue. The only main difference with this film is that it’s under new direction (the director of the first film, Corey Yuen, stayed on here as a “Martial Arts Choreographer”).
“Transporter 2” was directed by Louis Leterrier and he exemplifies a perfect style for this type of film by showing us the action without editing it to bits or shaking the camera like a paint can in order to capture realism. Now, if you can handle the lack of realism during the chases and minimalist plot focus, the one thing that may destroy it for you is some totally horrific CG. This type of effect isn’t used all throughout but when used, the scene sticks out like a nail in your eye; it’s that painful. It’s a shame really because Leterrier also directed the Jet Li film Unleashed earlier this year, and he barely used any computer-generated effects in that film. It was like he was one of the few directors on the planet that refused to kill his film that way. Alas, we were fooled.
And the way Statham plays Frank Martin – like a Terminator with the wardrobe and driving skill of James Bond – couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s easy to overlook the atrocious effects and the anti-climatic resolution in a film this energetic and entertaining. If those elements were focused on a bit more however, the end result would have been much more satisfying.
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