a critiQal film review The Transporter (2002)

Plot: Frank (Statham) is a transporter. His job is to transport people and things from one place to another. He makes it a rule not to interfere, but this time he looks in one of the packages and sees Lai (Qi), and everything changes. Now he's got "Wall Street" (Schulze) - remember, no names - after him and a cop (Berleand) hot on his tail.

645 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 13s)
  • ...Statham and producer Luc Besson really let us down with this one.

This movie is a good example of good filmmakers failing miserably.

I first heard of The Transporter via the trailer, and it caught my eye. Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita (1991), The Professional (1994), The Fifth Element (1997)) has done a great job in the past directing, and if he was helping to produce this movie, I was expecting the same level of quality as his directing gigs.

Add to that Jason Statham, who was absolutely excellent in Snatch (and not bad in The One either) as the star, and this movie climbed the list on must see for me.

I was sadly disappointed. The characters were not developed well enough for any acting to show through. If the character is about as thick as a piece of paper, how much believability can the actor really bring to the role? Unfortunately, this may mark Statham in a negative way, since this his is first try to carry a film (that I know of). Hopefully he will be able to get a role despite this that he can really sink his teeth into again, and show the movie audience a real example of his skills.

Qi also is incredibly ill-used in this film, and doesn’t really have a chance to prove herself as an actress in front of an American audience.

The plot was mostly non-existent. The first few minutes pulled the viewers into the film with a very well done car chase, and the plot should have started picking up after that. Unfortunately, after the first car chase, and the exciting scene everyone remembers from the trailer (Ding, Dong…here’s my foot!) the movie falls apart. The plot takes on a few plot twists that don’t have any sort of lead-in, and degenerates into a very simple movie. (Try this – about halfway through, think of the cheesiest movie you’ve seen recently, and plug in the dialogue – you’ll be right as often as not.)

There is no real chemistry between the two lead actors, but have you ever thought of two paper dolls getting together? Same basic principal applies here.

The action sequences weren’t half bad. The car chase scene in the beginning is very well done, and incorporates a few different ideas that haven’t really been used before (a nice change). Some of the action sequences also try a few new things (one of the most memorable – our hero covers himself with a nearby barrel of oil, making him too slippery for the myriad of bad guys to hold onto, then breaks the pedals off a bike and attaches them to his feet, providing him with the only stable stance on a now slippery floor), but sadly, are ill-used since the rest of the movie doesn’t do it’s part.

All in all, I’m disappointed in Luc Besson and Jason Statham and their efforts with The Transporter. Luc, because he helped produce this utterly insignificant and quickly forgotten picture, and Jason, because he really should have read the script a little better and realized the movie needed a better plot.

I can’t really fault either, though. Luc looks to be supporting a fellow filmmaker, and he unfortunately just picked the wrong one. Jason was probably happy to be able to be the big star on a picture, and jumped at the chance, most likely without reading the script first.

As for you, movie goer, The Transporter would be much better to just possibly rent when it comes to DVD. That way, you could watch the first twenty minutes or so, then stop the film, and you’ll be much better off. I suppose you could go see it in the theater, then walk out after the first twenty minutes and get a refund.

But staying through the entire thing? Only if you’re another reviewer like myself, or you’ll be wanting to get transported too…away from the theater, ASAP.

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