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The original Transporter was a pleasant surprise. I recall watching it and expecting yet another stupid action movie whose threadbare plot exists only to string together fight and chase sequences. And as I recall, that's exactly what I received. The pleasant surprise is that it is more enjoyable than most action movies that have come out in recent years. I don't remember much of the plot, but the action was fun and over-the-top, and the fight sequences were nicely choreographed (by Corey Yuen, who also co-directed). I also liked Jason Statham who plays the lead, who reminds me of a poor man's Bruce Willis except with no patented smirk - which is a good thing. When I popped this DVD into the player, I was hoping I would be watching a sequel that was as much fun as the original.
This time around, ex-Special Forces guy Frank Martin is tooling around Miami, and his job is transporting a cute, lovable tyke (Hunter Clary) to and from school. Turns out this kid is the son of some Washington drug enforcement bigshot (Mathew Modine) and his frustrated wife (Amber Valletta), and Martin is doing this transporting as a favor for someone. Some generic Eurotrash bad guys with vague accents hatch a plot that must have gone through Dr. Evil's patented Convoluted Scheme Generator whack everyone in a doctor's office so they can give the cute and lovable tyke some sort of injection.
Our hero Frank agrees to take the kid to his doctor's appointment for some reason, and of course figures out things aren't as they seem after tons and tons of miscues and clues dropped by the inept villains and the mayhem finally gets cranking. His big fight in this sequence is with one of the main villains who is a scantily dressed, heavily made-up badass skinny chick (Kate Nauta). I recall thinking, "Jeez, did the screenwriter watch too many Luc Besson movies?" Then I read the credits on the DVD case.
Of course Frank and the kid get away but the Eurotrash Villains hatch an even more Convoluted Scheme (also known as "plan B") and manage to kidnap the kid, Frank, and Frank's car. Hilarity, mayhem, and gross violations of the laws of physics ensue as Frank gets away and begins the process of getting the kid back.
No, this movie isn’t as good as the original. It is still quite entertaining but unfortunately like many of its forbearers much of the entertainment derives from laughing at the action. The first Transporter has outlandish stunts, too, but I don't recall losing my suspension of disbelief as quickly or as thoroughly. In movie terms, I’ll buy into almost anything, so if I yell “Oh, bull(bleep)” during a scene (as I did here – it won’t be hard to guess which one) you know the director went a wee bit too far.
Fortunately the rest of the entertainment comes from fairly decently filmed fight sequences. I don't recall any shaky-cam sequences which annoy the hell out of me. Corey Yuen choreographed again (and it shows) but didn’t return as co-director (and it shows). The movie also benefits again from the good looks and charisma of Jason Statham. It's a shame he sounds like he's choking down his accent because to Americans British accents are cool (and are like catnip to us female-type Americans). I didn't like that the script had Martin show his warm and fuzzy side by bonding with a child. Frank's supposed to be a badass, not a babysitter. Fortunately the kid doesn't dominate the scenes he is in and disappears nicely for the last half of the movie.
The DVD reflects the movie, it's nothing special. The transfer is fine and the sound is nice and loud. The extras are threadbare but that’s okay because this movie isn’t like The Lord of the Rings where you’ll want to spend hours just watching outtakes and making-of presentations in a desperate attempt to stay with the people who made the movies for just a little longer. Not that I did that.
The extras the DVD does have are standard: deleted scenes that were wisely removed – one of the reasons the movie is watchable is that it moves along at a breezy clip and comes in under 90 minutes – an amazing accomplishment considering all the three-hour plus bloated epics that have been released recently. I did like some of the extended sequences, especially the Audi chase at the beginning of the film. I give it a 6.5 on the Blues Brothers scale of mayhem against police vehicles.
I will mention one other special feature that I enjoyed: the making of the music. The soundtrack to Transporter 2 is decent, and avoids the mistake of lacing it with obnoxious rap or industrial junk. The making of the music feature is an interesting glimpse into the world of movie making and I'm all for these types of extras. Too bad there is no extra featuring the fight choreography.
I like action movies and this one I place just above the 'fair to middling' rank along a staggering long list of past action movies. I won't rag on it for its threadbare and hole-ridden plot, the silly villains (put some clothes on, you skinny broad!), or the gravity-defying stunts. I mean, if you expected something else you clearly grabbed the wrong DVD case at the store. Transporter 2 is a stupid action movie and should be treated as such: rent it if there's nothing else on the shelves, watch it, laugh, and then move on to something else.
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