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10 reviews, 81 user ratings

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Transporter, The
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by Mel Valentin

"Ladies and gents, Mr. Jason Statham. Mr. Jason Statham, ladies and gents."
4 stars

Among other, far more notable (and memorable), films, 2002 saw the theatrical release of Luc Besson's "The Transporter," a solid, if stylish, martial arts/action flick elevated by the presence of character actor turned leading man Jason Statham as Frank Martin, a former Special Forces soldier turned profit-minded mercenary. It also helped that "The Transporter's" fight scenes were choreographed by Corey Yuen ("Kiss of the Dragon", "The One," "]X-Men," "Lethal Weapon 4") and, more importantly, that Jason Statham did most of his own stunts (Statham helpfully goes shirtless in multiple scenes). Produced and co-written by Besson (but directed by Yuen), "The Transporter's" routine script provided a loose structure (read: threadbare excuse) for Frank's character arc, from rule-bound, amoral mercenary with a semi-compelling backstory to compassionate-minded action hero.

After a car stunt-filled prologue that introduces the audience to Frank and the inflexible, straightforward rules he lives by (e.g., stick to the terms of the deal, don't exchange names, and don't look inside whatever you're transporting from point A to point B), Frank takes a breather, cleans out his car (a black BMW, with interchangeable license plates), receives a friendly, if inquisitive, police detective, Tarconi (François Berléand), at the door of his cliffside villa on the French Riviera, and takes his next assignment. Before we move on, however, it's worth noting that Frank limits himself to transporting goods and people, but never participating in explicitly illegal actions (he could be, however, charged as an accessory before/after the fact, but the police are too slow to catch him in the act). Promising once again to abide by his self-imposed rules, he accepts delivery of an oversized black bag. A flat tire forces him to open his trunk, where, naturally enough, his curiosity gets the better of him (the contents of the bag move and sigh), discovering a young woman, Lai (Shu Qi), inside the black bag.

After a lapse of judgment leads to Lai's near escape, Frank delivers Lai to Wall Street (Matt Schulze), a glowering, well-dressed thug who, immediately upon delivery of the black bag containing Lai, asks Frank to deliver a briefcase to another location. The briefcase, of course, isn't what it seems, and Frank's decision to open the black bag comes back to haunt him with a vengeance, or rather, with missile launchers and submachine guns, which, in turn, lead to Frank's decision to exact some payback of his own, even as his withdrawn, loner persona melts in the presence of Lai's considerable charms and her story about an illegal smuggling operation and a second, even more powerful villain with a secret connection to Lai.

Of course, Frank gets the girl (in an awkward, underwritten scene meant to cover up Shu Qi's English-language deficiencies), saves the day (and a few lives), and emerges the crowd-pleasing action hero, but not before Frank cuts a wide, mostly bloodless (The Transporter is, after all, rated "PG-13") swath of bone-crunching mayhem across the French Rivera, sometimes by four-wheeled transportation (including an extended chase scene by truck and plane) and sometimes by hand (most notably, a fight scene where Frank, shirtless once again, takes on the villain's henchmen covered in oil grease, a neat trick that provides him with a distinct advantage over his less athletic foes).

At this point in his filmmaking career, Luc Besson has turned his back on more ambitious, expensive projects (i.e., The Fifth Element), content with producing escapist, easily digestible, easily forgettable, action flicks defined by underwritten, storylines, stock characters, predictable situations, and standard issue performances. In the case of The Transporter, the performances are undermined by Besson's eccentric decision to include three characters, all speaking accented English (e.g., British, French, and Chinese), in the same scenes, making them almost unintelligible (not that it matters much, overall). Besson's most recent efforts, however, have been also defined by his desire to create vehicles for his favorite stars/performers (mostly Jet Li in several, increasingly weak efforts but now Jason Statham as well).

Ultimately, however, criticisms of Besson's lackluster scripts have to give way to, or contend with, Jason Statham's central performance. Statham's performance may not be Oscar-caliber (he has a limited range), but as far as the action hero mantle goes (with aging American stars bowing out to run for state office or justifiably fading into obscurity), Statham may be, to borrow a phrase, the real deal. It helps, of course, that Statham's background in martial arts (and scuba diving in one scene) help "sell" the action scenes. Statham performs most of fight scenes himself (and proves himself capable of complex moves), except the more obviously dangerous ones (where we see Frank in long shot).

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6173&reviewer=402
originally posted: 09/08/05 23:04:22
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell transports the thrills to the viewer 4 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Worth seeing, but only once 3 stars
10/22/09 Rachel Really enjoyed this fast paced movie from start to finish! 5 stars
8/18/08 Shaun Wallner Great Action!! 5 stars
2/17/08 cdmtx awesome! 5 stars
12/02/07 davidbobo20 screw xXx, this movie is awesome! 5 stars
9/19/07 R.W. Welch C+ actioner has little that's new but moves well. 3 stars
9/29/06 Stanley Thai It's a good action flick. 4 stars
9/25/06 Anthony Feor It can keep up with itself 3 stars
2/18/06 Ronin Yup - Statham great and bad script. Sill nice to watch 4 stars
2/02/06 tony Good in its own way 4 stars
1/11/06 tatum Fun, mindless actioner 4 stars
10/30/05 chris exellent film i loved it 5 stars
10/14/05 Mike Statham great, horrific script, an old B Karate movie done modern. 2 stars
10/11/05 Tom Burns great action. 4 stars
10/09/05 Agent Sands It's fun, but very simplistic and anti-climatic. 4 stars
9/26/05 Indrid Cold Dumb, over-the-top Hong Kong style action movie = good fun. 4 stars
9/20/05 Carolyn Rathburn Another blow everything up and fall for the girl movie, it was great 4 stars
9/14/05 John great concept but pedestrian execution 3 stars
8/22/05 ES This movie has a great start and then devolves into Seagal/Van Damme fight style movie 1 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins A comic masterpiece, too bad it's not a comedy. 3 stars
6/04/05 Charlene Javier What was that about? 1 stars
6/02/05 deadwiz To much lack of story, and really pointless action 3 stars
4/25/05 E-FUNK I imagine this is what gay porn is like... but with less story and acting skills. 1 stars
3/14/05 Ronin Statham is as good actor as any guy picked randomly from the streets.Good montage. BMW rock 4 stars
1/27/05 Charlie Exciting, fast paced action flick! 4 stars
10/13/04 Sandy Great! 4 stars
8/16/04 Dean-o Qi-Chu is lovely. The film is not about plot, it is a demonstration of Sun Zi's Art Of War. 4 stars
8/11/04 Dean Why did she screech so much, it still don't get the kidnap part 4 stars
5/07/04 Stefan Halka Slick, well-choreographed fight scenes could not make up for the weak script the film had. 3 stars
4/16/04 Michael Greenwaldt Awesome action flick! The heck with crap like xXx and Vin Diesel, Statham oozes sex appeal! 4 stars
4/14/04 The More You Know Statham just misses box office success on 1 hand, Bruce Campbell cult status on the other. 4 stars
3/15/04 "Meth Labs" for DUMMIES WOW...Uhhh, WOW?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/14/03 HorrorScribbler Fun but loses all credibility when Statham parachutes onto a moving truck from a cropduster 4 stars
11/09/03 Shane Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ONE OF MY FAV'S NEXT TO "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie" & "Freddy VS. Jason"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/04/03 Lia Aranga Great, I love long car chases 4 stars
8/08/03 Eric Not high art, but packed with tons of great action, Statham's awesome 5 stars
8/04/03 punjab utter pish! 1 stars
6/22/03 David Get sillier as the clock rolls by, Statham's wasted here.... 3 stars
6/15/03 Jason Cowan Good 4 stars
6/12/03 Robin Swados "The Transporter" is one of the best bad movies I've see in years. It's a junk masterpiece! 4 stars
6/01/03 Daniella Great! Awesome! My Favorite! Incredible! 5 stars
6/01/03 Shane Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fucking great to watch, Jason Statham is the next Bruce Willis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/28/03 brentley Parity errors galore, illogical plot events... The fight scenes were ok, tho. 3 stars
5/21/03 Desert Rat Painfully lame!!! 1 stars
5/18/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng It's like watching MTV while riding a rollercoaster! 4 stars
4/15/03 YES Car chases, martial arts fights, death-defying stunts, The Transporter's tons of fun. 5 stars
4/03/03 Ric Fun action romp, Jason Statham is the next great action star. 5 stars
3/28/03 Jon Killer action romp, but why does the plot for these kinda movies always have to be shit 4 stars
3/16/03 Peter Nice look on Paris. Lots of action, and great picture. A great movie for action fans. 5 stars
12/12/02 Natalie Stonecipher 2nd gratuitously violent film set in France I've seen this week. What kinda trend is this? 1 stars
12/08/02 ADP Action at the ebd was good but a lot of bad acting. Strathma has seen too many kung-fu movi 2 stars
12/04/02 Robin Fletcher ABSOfuckingLUTELY awesome! Statham is our new action star! 5 stars
11/26/02 malcolm great Hong Kong style action featuring white people 4 stars
11/25/02 Jeremy Witteveen Great action flick, if you don't expect too much characterization 4 stars
11/24/02 Ravenous Jason Statham is eye candy and fight choreography was fierce. Plot was non-existent 4 stars
11/10/02 jason wonderful 5 stars
11/08/02 Michael Bolton What a pile of crap, no plot just gay 'karate scenes' what a piece of shit. 1 stars
11/04/02 Tyler Rowe Wicked movie, thought it was great. Great stunts and karate scenes. 5 stars
11/04/02 Michael Buehler Wretched-An excuse to cram as much low rent choreographed violence into a movie as possible 1 stars
11/03/02 Anarchy Azmi barely average movie....at least its better xXx....which was completely gay 3 stars
10/31/02 F.E. The most fun I've had in a movie for a while! 5 stars
10/31/02 SGR Fights at about half the speed of Jet Li and has none of Jackie Chan's finesse 2 stars
10/28/02 Jason Statham Best Film ever 1 stars
10/26/02 Mr. Hat Jason Statham is cool, but not quite as much in this unrealistic action flick 3 stars
10/20/02 Jamer 1/3 Jackie Chan, 1/3 James Bond, 1/3 Hitman (videogame series). Good flick. 4 stars
10/19/02 The Bomb 69 white knuckle action with a decent script 5 stars
10/19/02 nick2k first half was fucking good...but what the hell happened to the script afterwards?!? 3 stars
10/15/02 wintermute The fighting was top notch and the bicycle pedals were truly original 4 stars
10/14/02 Interrog8 Loses touch with it's story, but the action keeps it going. Delivers where xXx couldn't. 4 stars
10/13/02 Uncle Salty We're not talking shakespear here, but it sure kicks XXX's ass. 4 stars
10/13/02 Matt Senne The best, worst, funniest movie ever. 5 stars
10/13/02 Chancey Sugarpants Not as dumb as I expected. It's fun, but didn't make me feel like a moron for watching it. 4 stars
10/13/02 Jiz Started as an original/cool action flick, half-way through turned into boring generic shit 3 stars
10/13/02 King Richard As long as you sit back and enjoy the show, and don't think at all, this flick is alright 4 stars
10/13/02 "Yes the shit." Good entertainment to sneak into. Or the 3 AM is a good idea. 3 stars
10/12/02 crashdavis This movie sucks all ass. Wait for it at 3am on HBO 9. 1 stars
10/11/02 syrius yeah, the script was bad, but the action more than makes up for it 4 stars
10/04/02 Buddha The dialogue was pretty damn hokey, but it's a fun ride. 4 stars
10/04/02 Zaw Good chaseing around europe small towns. I wish there were more chasing scences. 4 stars
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  11-Oct-2002 (PG-13)
  DVD: 23-Aug-2005


  31-Oct-2002 (M)

Directed by
  Corey Yuen

Written by
  Luc Besson

  Jason Statham
  Qi Shu
  Matt Schulze
  François Berléand
  Ric Young
  Doug Rand

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