Review: “The Transporter”

Deliciously good fun, “The Transporter” is a surprising adrenalin-fuelled highlight during the somewhat dull early Fall period. Most implausible action hero films with a European setting either take themselves all too seriously ala “Kiss of the Dragon,” or combine stunts with a sort of nod-wink style self-satire ala. “xXx” and in both aforementioned cases it resulted in very average films.

“The Transporter” is certainly a step above “xXx” because not only is the action far more heart-pumping and exciting, but it also never takes itself seriously yet doesn’t feel the need to resort to bad one-liners. Its a hilarious movie because it recognises its stupidity and plays to it without ever having the characters pointing it out.

Jason Statham (aka. Vin Diesel with more hair and better accent) looks to be having great fun as his character – a courier who moves things around in his flashy black BMW and has a rigorous rule system which he pedantically sticks to until of course one of his packages seems to be moving on its own.

The rest of the cast from the scenery chewing bad guy Matt Schulze to the feedback screaming Shu Qi are utterly flat characters and dumb performances but they suit the material well – indeed Ric Young as our heroinne’s father is SO over the top he’s a hoot.

All ‘Transporter’ has is a decent concept, superb action and lots of logic-defying laughs and surprisingly that’s enough to make it work. On a rare occasion it’ll try to dip into more serious territory and a forced attempt at romance is cheap, but the filmmakers realise this and keep these sequences to mere seconds in length to bide a little time before the next wild stunt. And these stunt sequences are quite spectacular.

Martial arts guru Corey Yuen brings his standard wirework-fuelled fighting made famous in “The Matrix” but this time is allowed to have fun with it, and also utilise it in much more cramped environments with all sorts of different elements.

From a superbly fast car chase to kick off the action, to an almost slapstick style group fight in a diesel oil puddle – the action gets stupider and wilder but it works everytime. Indeed it makes fights involving vehicles (one inside the bus, the other on top of a truck’s shipping container) stand out. Luc Besson may not be at his “Nikita” levels but he is having fun and god bless him for that. The way Summer movies should be.