The Transporter sees Jason Statham (pronounced Stay-tham) in his first big budget Hollywood style lead role. . He was seen previously in the Guy Ritchie films Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch which, character and story wise were a million miles from this affair.
The story itself concerns Jason as Frank Martin, an ex-military commando who now works as a 'Transporter'. A delivery man who asks no questions and works by three main rules: 1) Never change the terms 2) Never ask for names and 3) Never look inside the package. When Frank breaks rule number 3, he finds himself in all kinds of trouble as this package just happens to be a beautiful young woman kidnapped by slave traders. Things start off with great promise. The opening scene contains one of the best car chases seen since, well maybe not The French Connection, but certainly since Ronin and mixes superb pace with unbelievable manoeuvres. Set and filmed entirely in the South of France, The Transporter certainly looks the part. The cinematography is fantastic and you feel the production values are of a very high standard. With Luc Beeson (Leon: The Professional) contributing as both Writer and Producer, this opening piece gives you reason to settle down for a few hours of great entertainment....and then Jason talks........
Sporting one of the worst American accents I've ever heard on film, Jason instantly looses both his character and the film credibility. Your expectations are raised and very quickly quashed. This is only made worse by a plot with so many gaping holes that I gave up counting them after 30 minutes. But don't give up reading just yet. All this does for the viewer is adjust their expectations of the movie. You kind of lower the bar somewhat and realise that this is going to be a popcorn munching, leave your brain asleep, action-fest. Taken for what it is, The Transporter does become fairly enjoyable as it trots along at an ever increasing and ever unbelievable pace.
The fight scenes are excellent and do genuinely come close to those by Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Jason Stratham may not be accused of being a superb actor, but a superb action actor he most certainly is. His fight scenes flow at breakneck speeds and his talents are obvious. You kind of sit there watching, thinking to yourself...”Wow! I never knew he had it in him!” This mouthy Cockney from Lock Stock is suddenly a Van Damme-esque Action Hero. The supporting cast are all fairly forgettable and none deliver much of a performance, but this actually boosts the perceived performance of Jason Statham that much more which may well have been the desired effect. There are plenty of action scenes to keep you happy including a great one concerning a rocket launcher and Jack's lovely Villa but none really match that seen in the opening sequence.
The Transporter is a good fun, action packed, Saturday night, beer and popcorn kind of movie that will leave you hoping they can make a better sequel, but a sequel nonetheless! Funnily enough, that's exactly what they have done and I for one would actually like to see it so this one couldn't have been all that bad after all.
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