Having just finished working with a French girl at work, our conversations about movies (and in particular, Luc Besson) are also at an end. You see, Besson is my favourite French producer of movies - whether he's writing or directing. But my former colleague disagrees. She feels that Besson has neglected his Gallic origins and now spends his time coming up with ever-more commercial movies that appeal more to American audiences than French. Having recently raved about the Besson-scripted "Taxi" (and not the dumb-ass Yankie remake), I can see her point of view and further evidence is provided courtesy of "The Transporter" which is a no-nonsense action thriller with the East End's finest Jason Statham. And before that description sends you fleeing for your lives, let me explain why you should watch this movie.
Statham plays Frank Martin, an ex-military type living in the south of France. He has a very nice BMW and a shady past he wants to escape. He also has a courier's job of questionable legality. For a suitable fee, he will take any goods to anywhere and no questions asked. He's the best there is which is why local hoodlum Wall Street (Matt Schulze) hires Frank to pick up a bag and deliver it to him. But the bag contains a beautiful Chinese girl (Qi Shu) and soon, Frank finds his conscience again and decides to intervene. Which soon lands him in a whole heap of trouble...
Having only seen Statham in the fabulous "Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels" and the somewhat less-than-great "Italian Job" remake, this film provides a fierce contrast. Statham smacks, kicks and punches his way through the goons like a meatier Jackie Chan and it is impressive. The action is well-staged if slightly OTT and the same can be said for the driving scenes, as every action film these days needs a car chase in France. "Ronin", "Bourne Identity", "Taxi" and now this - where will it end? And although Statham's action man persona is alive and well, his acting ability here is compromised. He's saddled with a strange accent, trying to sound American through that thick London accent and it doesn't work. Qi Shu doesn't really have that much to do besides getting kidnapped and being the love interest and nobody else is as good as Statham. Also, I didn't like the CGI bullets flying everywhere - made the baddies look like they were shooting laser pistols. Still, the scenery looks nice.
But despite it's old-skool approach and dodgy acting, this is still an enjoyable romp through the sunnier parts of southern France. The pace is electric and rarely does the action let up throughout the course of the film. The people-smuggling story doesn't get in the way too much and Statham surprisingly holds the film together as the crook with a heart. It is typical Besson - lots of mindless action and violence and made very much with a young male audience in mind. It's disposable and basic but assuming you fit the audience profile, you'll love it. What it does, it does very well but anyone looking for an intelligent action film should look elsewhere. And I feel that they could have picked a better name than "The Transporter". Makes the film sound like it's set on a ferry...
Action / Crime
Action / Crime
Ex-Special Forces operator Frank Martin lives what seems to be a quiet life along the French Mediterranean, hiring himself out as a mercenary "transporter" who moves goods--human or otherwise--from one place to another. No questions asked. Carrying out mysterious and sometimes dangerous tasks in his tricked-out BMW, Frank adheres to a strict set of rules, which he never breaks. Rule One: Never change the deal. Rule Two: No names--Frank doesn't want to know whom he's working for, or what he's transporting. Rule Three: never look in the package. Frank's newest transport seems no different from the countless ones he's done in the past. He's been hired by an American known only as "Wall Street" to make a delivery; but when Frank stops along the route, he notices his package is moving. Violating Rule Three, Frank looks inside the bag, finding its contents to be a beautiful, gagged woman. Frank's steadfast adherence to his other two rules--which make up his basic code of survival--also quickly fails, hurtling him and his new companion on a road leading to shocking secrets, deadly complications, and the last thing that Frank ever expected to come to believe: that rules are made to be broken.
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August 6, 2012 at 6:40 am