Thursday, May 29, 2014

#1,382. The Transporter (2002)

Directed By: Cory Yuen

Starring: Jason Statham, Qi Shu, Matt Schulze

Tag line: "Rules are made to be broken"

Trivia:  Sound editor Vincent Tulli makes a cameo appearance in the film as a trash man

The Transporter, a 2002 action film directed by Cory Yuen, gets off to a great start. In the opening scene, we meet Frank Martin (Jason Statham), a professional driver who, for a fee, will deliver any package, no questions asked, to the destination of your choice. And when he says any package, he means it; his first job has him picking up a quartet of bank robbers, moments after they’ve committed the crime. This doesn’t sit well with Frank, though, because, according to their original agreement, he was to pick up three men, not four, and Frank’s first rule of business is that you never change the deal. Once this little crisis is resolved (one thief shoots another through the head and has his body thrown out of the car), we’re treated to a thrilling high-speed chase, with Frank using every trick up his sleeve to avoid the police, who are quickly closing in on them. After some “creative” driving, Frank delivers his cargo, on time, and heads for home.

During his next assignment, however, Frank makes the mistake of breaking another of his golden rules: never look inside the package. Hired by a man named Bettencourt (Matt Schulze) to deliver this particular parcel to his estate, Frank’s curiosity is piqued when he notices the “package” (a huge duffel bag) is moving! Opening it up, he finds Lai (Shu Qi), a pretty Asian girl. Frank does eventually make his delivery, but when Bettencourt tries to double-cross him, Frank takes matters into his own hands, and, in the process, ends up rescuing Lai.

It’s at this point that The Transporter gets downright insane. And I loved every crazy minute of it!

After making his screen debut in Guy Ritchie’s crime / comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Jason Statham went on to appear in a number of action films, with The Transporter giving him a chance to finally play the lead. An ex-military operative, Statham’s Frank is an expert at hand-to-hand combat, something he puts to the test time and again throughout the movie (his most exciting fight occurs in a bus depot, where Frank takes on a couple dozen of Bettencourt’s thugs), and when things really get tough, he has a small arsenal to fall back on! In what proved to be a physically demanding role, Statham (who did most of his own stunts) showed the world he had what it takes to be an action star.

And he hasn’t looked back since.


Unknown said...

Hi Doc! I finally decided to leave a comment on your site. I've visited it before, but it's just so massive that it's a little intimidating.

Anyway, this is a great action movie. I consider it one of the modern classics. The choreography is some of the best I've seen in a non-asian film, and even when compared to asian action films, I think it holds up pretty well. What made this such a different movie when it came out was the driving. It was handled with such tastefulness that it made The Fast and the Furious (which came out a year before) look like a cartoon. Jason Statham's physicality and intensity are things that few actors can match. And this movie is a perfect example of why he's (in my opinion) the best modern action star.

softlad said...

Thought this film was great when I first saw it. I was prepared to ignore the storyline the first time around and take in the action which is really well staged. A few years later and I was less enamoured with the threadbare plot. The soundtrack is a good'un though, particularly the Stanley Clarke score.