Movie Review
Transporter 2
Transporter 2 poster
By Scott Sycamore     Published September 10, 2005
US Release: September 2, 2005

Directed by: Corey Yuen Louis Leterrier
Starring: Jason Statham , Amber Valletta , Jeff Chase

Running Time: 88 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $43,094,698
The standard diet of chases, fights, {and} shootouts. They up the ante by being silly instead of innovative.
Sequels are a massive outgrowth spawned by current audience tastes. Just look at the 2004 box office: half of the top ten movies were sequels, including the top two (Spider-Man 2 and Shrek 2, respectively). People love seeing their favorite characters revisited, and also want to see how the next chapter will bring things up a notch in terms of action and story development. But the Transporter series is not about story arcs; it is not complex at all and is very simple. Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is a bald bad ass ex-Special Forces but-that?s-all-you-know-about-his-past dude, and he tanks on everybody. He kicks butt with hand/foot as well as makeshift weapons. And he drives real good, and charges people for it. And this is in both movies, by the way.

Martin has moves in the Audi sports model that would make Speed Racer jealous. And that's part of the problem: this movie is just too ridiculous for its own good. We never get a sense that anything real or dramatic is ever going on; this production is in full Cheese Mode (and those French are supposed to be classy!) An excellent action movie has to have that bite - a sense of tension built up throughout, and then released with a cathartic finale. The antagonist should be so despised and feared that the audience desperately wants them to receive comeuppance. And the hero should be given enough attention so that we see that they are vulnerable and therefore empathetic.

But Martin is a bland hero with a stone facial expression and forgettable dialogue. He does have some decent fighting moves, and there is some fast action choreographed by Hong Kong vet Corey Yuen. His signature is all over one of my favorite scenes in the film: the introduction of the villain (Alessandro Gassman) fighting a team of minions with wooden swords. Statham obviously trained in this kung-fu stuff for the role, and he handles the battles well, especially for a non-Asian lead. The fights are fast, even if they lack that certain crunch; they?re decent, but the lack of persona doesn't help matters.

Gassman's villain Gianni doesn't live up to himself either. He talks for way too long in a heavy accent in one particular segment, and just comes off as a standard action-movie bad guy. I just wanted him to be more menacing because he has the look and the physical skills. But a big problem is that I felt he didn't give the Transporter a tough enough fight at the end; the sequence is short and Gianni doesn't kick much arse at all. He gets messed up and it's just too easy for the T-man. And they're both paper-thin characters anyway.

This is the standard diet of chases, fights, shootouts, etc., ad nauseam. They try to up the ante by being silly instead of innovative. This flick is no better than the first, and why follow through like that if you're going to do a sequel? If they make Transporter 3, I probably won't be anticipating it because I'll already know it's going to be more of this lightweight fare. If you really liked the first one, then by all means watch this. I didn't hate this movie - I just found it mediocre.
Scott's Grade: C
Scott's Overall Grading: 417 graded movies
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  • Friday Box Office Analysis (9/2)
    September 3, 2005    The debut was just shy of The Italian Job (where Jason Statham was alongside an ensemble cast), which took in $6.0 million for a $2,261 average. -- Lee Tistaert