Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Intense Sequences of Violent Action, Sexual Content, partial Nudity, and brief Language
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Written by: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Kate Nauta, Francois Berleand, Keith David & Jason Flemyng
2002’s THE TRANSPORTER was fun, simple, and stupid popcorn entertainment. TRANSPORTER 2 is wildly over-the-top, ludicrous, and separates itself from the original in many ways. You can tell this second installment had more of a budget behind it and packs plenty of wackiness into its short running time. Though Corey Yuen did not return to direct this sequel, he did help out with the fight choreography and it shows. TRANSPORTER 2 is every bit as enjoyable as its predecessor for reasons that you might not expect.
After relocating to Miami, Florida, Frank Martin has taken on a different kind of transporting. He’s been hired to babysit Jack, the son of a rich government official. When a trip to the doctor’s office turns into a kidnapping, Frank finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Jack’s family believes that Frank took their son and the real criminal mastermind behind Jack’s kidnapping is attempting to kill the bad-ass transporter. However, we all know that Frank Martin doesn’t go down so easily. It’s time for Frank to violently rescue Jack and stop a bigger, more sinister plot before it’s too late.
As entertaining and well-made as the action in the first TRANSPORTER was, you could tell that movie was made with the most modest of expectations in mind. The plot was a threadbare excuse to pack in as many fights, car chases and explosions as possible and it functioned purely on that adrenaline-pumping level. TRANSPORTER 2 has slightly grander aspirations and more ridiculous notions in mind. This sequel’s plot starts off relatively simple and silly, but quickly morphs into something entirely more complicated (code for even sillier) than the viewer might expect. The visuals appear slick and glossy this around, which makes for an overall better film to look at.
Jason Statham slips right back into the role of Jason Statham…er, I mean Frank Martin with ease. You get a sense that there’s a soft side to this titular bad-ass. He doesn’t avoid impaling a goon with a table in plain view of a small child, but he genuinely cares about Jack and his family. Frank is the gruff Transporter with a heart of gold. He’s essentially a low-rent, rough around the edges 007 type without an MI-6 behind him. As far as side characters go, Hunter Clary is okay as the kid-in-distress and Amber Valletta is decent enough as his worried mother. The villains are slightly more developed this time around too. Alessandro Gassman is enjoyable evil as the foreign-accented Gianni, but the real scene-stealer is Kate Nauta’s Lola (his second-in-command). She’s a sexy villainess who enjoys being scantily clad in revealing lingerie and firing dual machine guns at anything that moves. Besides being great eye candy, Lola is also a genuine threat to Frank.
TRANSPORTER 2 is a full-fledged action-packed extravaganza from beginning to end. Galloping at a perfectly paced 87 minutes, the film only takes brief breaks between its stylized mayhem to offer up goofy exposition. Frank Martin continues to demolish the laws of physics by driving upside down through the air to rid his car of a bomb and using a fire hose to wipe out a gang of thugs. The film occasionally becomes eye-rollingly far-fetched in smaller details like bullets that somehow fail to penetrate through a wooden door. This utter desecration of believability becomes a hilarious benefit when a CGI plane hits the ocean at full force and manages to merely continue a fight sequence between an unscathed Frank and still alive Gianni. I actually had to pause the movie because I burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter when that sequence occurred.
If you liked the first TRANSPORTER, you’ll probably have a great time watching this preposterously plotted sequel. Co-writer Luc Besson fully embraces the ridiculously silly potential in the TRANSPORTER series with this second outing. The tone is wackier this time around and the non-Statham characters are slightly more developed. The action is far more overblown (in a good way) and the script goes into insanely dumb places (also a positive quality in a movie like this). There is no logic to be found here and its absence makes for an unabashedly silly good time! This is my favorite TRANSPORTER film!