| Transporter 2 (2005)
Starring: Jason Statham, Amber Valletta, Alessandro Gassman, Katie Nauta, Jason Flemyng, Matthew Modine
Director: Louis Leterrier
Luc Besson is probably one of the most talented, but hit-and-miss, filmmakers in the business. To his credit, he has created some of the coolest characters in action movie history, including Nikita (“La Femme Nikita”), Leon (“The Professional”) and even Frank Martin (“The Transporter"). His problem is that he’s too unreliable, and “Transporter 2” offers more than enough evidence why. The sequel to the sleeper hit works just as well as a popcorn flick, but it loses some of its simplicity along the way. And isn’t that what was so appealing about the original? Its candid B-movie roots paired with director Cory Yuen’s slick action choreography was what made “The Transporter” such a success, but the filmmakers take too much freedom the second time around with a story that may be a bit too campy for its own good.
The incredibly charismatic Jason Statham returns in his career-making role as Frank Martin, an ex-Special Forces operative who has made a living as a transporter, a driver-for-hire that will deliver any package to its destination, no questions asked. In this case, Frank’s package is Jack (Hunter Clary), the son of an FDA bigwig (Matthew Modine), but the job involves no more than carting the little brat to and from school as a favor to the family’s usual chauffeur. When Jack is kidnapped by a South American mercenary (Alessandro Gassman) and his psychotic hitwoman girlfriend Lola (Katie Nauta), the police believe that Frank is in on the deal. With a plot ripped straight from the horrible but fun Denzel Washington picture “Man on Fire,” the film goes so far as to add a neon green super-virus and a neon purple antidote into the mix. When Frank discovers that Jack is being used as the carrier for the virus, he stops at nothing to track down the kidnappers and spoil their master plan.
Besson and director Louis Leterrier previously worked together on the Jet Li action-drama “Unleashed,” so it would seem only natural that their second teaming would fare just as well. Unfortunately, “Transporter 2” gets caught up in a ridiculous story full of bad plot turns and cheesy dialogue, and Statham’s explosive energy only goes so far. Still, the reason you go see a “Transporter” film is strictly for Statham and the extraordinary action sequences, and there’s plenty of both to enjoy in this sequel, including prop-heavy fights (think Jackie Chan) and another stylish car chase. With so much eye-candy to embrace, you might even be able to forgive the writers for greenlighting such a horrible script without asking questions first. Then again, what more could you ask for from a sequel?
The “Transporter 2” DVD release features both the widescreen and full screen version on one disc, and because this is only a single-disc release, this means that Fox has crammed most of the special features on to the other side. Yes, you actually have to open up your DVD player and turn the disc around just to watch the bonus material. If that’s not 1998, then I don’t know what is. Anyways, because Fox only sent us a single-layer review copy to check out, we only got a chance to watch the 14 deleted/extended scenes that appear on the front side of the DVD. It’s nice that stuff like this is included on almost every DVD nowadays, but most of the time it just isn’t necessary, and this is definitely one of those times. Other special features that weren’t included for us to review include a blooper reel (on an action movie?), a making-of documentary, and a sound featurette on mixing the music for the film.