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Transporter 2

By Shamus
on Saturday Nov 25, 2006
Filed under:


Some thoughts on The Transporter 2:

The term “former special forces” has become movie shorthand for “is invincible and has magical powers, but only cool ones and not gay like that Sailor Moon crap.”

Dear writers: Poisons have antidotes, diseases have cures, and viruses have vaccines. (The latter must be administered before exposure.) Please try to get this straight in your head before you build a movie around one of these things.

I know action movies are not murder mysteries. We’re not supposed to think too hard about the plot, which is usually nonsense. But is it too much to ask that the movie at least make sense from moment to moment? We’ve embraced the conceit that Jason Statham Can Do Anything, now all you need is some excuse to chain a bunch of stunts and fights together.

In one scene the hero runs up to a moving truck, leaps up onto the hood, climbs to the top, and onto the bridge overhead. A cool enough idea. Takes about four seconds of screen time. Jackie Chan would do this move for real, while delivering dialog, on fire, holding a baby, and they would show this to us in one unbroken take. In this movie they do about four or five flashing, slamming cuts that change angles in dizzying ways while doing this little stunt. Fine, I understand we can’t expect Jason Statham to do this, but could they at least try to convince me that someone did the stunt?

This movie wants to be a Hong Kong chop-sockey flick in the worst way. They have a fight where the hero is swinging around on a “rope”, fighting. (like Jet Li in Romeo Must Die) They have a fight where he uses a firehose. (also used in Romeo Must Die.) At another point he puts two solid but ridiculous objects on his hands and uses them to fight. (Jackie Chan, in lots of his movies.) There are winks and nods to other Hong Kong films throughout this thing, but this only serves to remind us how Chinese stars tend to do their own stunts and do them better, without the aid of editing.

The filmmakers have gotten it into their heads that when filming an action sequence it is important to keep the camera moving around at all times, preferably vertically. The best way to do this is to 1) Hire the cameraman from The Blair Witch Project, 2) Get him very drunk, and then 3) Hire someone else to punch him in the crotch repeatedly while he’s trying to film.

And yes, if they make a Transporter 3: The Most Transportingest I’ll probably end up watching it. Shut up.

Comments (8)

  1. Jeneralist says:

    Technical quibble: the vaccine for rabies, a virus, can be administered after exposure.

    Jackie Chan rocks.

  2. GreyDuck says:

    A lot of what made the first Transporter movie really work took place in the quieter moments, the human interactions. The kick-ass fight scenes were the meat of the movie, sure, but the rest of the meal wasn’t too shabby, if you’ll roll with my metaphor for a brief moment. (Frank’s interaction with the cop throughout the movie is surprisingly well-played, for instance.)

    The second movie threw that completely aside, reducing the French cop to little more than (lame) comic relief and exposition. The villains were campy and annoying. The stunts were either rehashes of material from the previous movie (guys, can we at least borrow from the massive body of chop-sockey still out there?) or just plain forehead-smashingly bad (the car, the bomb, the crane hook).

    Way to screw a “franchise,” filmmakers. *grumble*

  3. LafinJack says:

    Technical quibble: the vaccine for rabies, a virus, can be administered after exposure.

    Not in the movies, which was the spirit of the line in the article. :)

    GreyDuck already said everything I was going to say about the two movies. I liked the Transporter 1, it was fun and believable, and a bit of a spiritual remake of the Hitman videogames. The Transporter 2 was Transporter 1 at LUDICROUS SPEED, everything turned up to the max, and everything good about the original lost in the process.

  4. Luke says:

    The car bomb scene totally killed me. That must have been one of the least probable stunts ever shown in an action move. :P

    Another great scene is when he goes back to the hospital, hooks up a random iPod directly into the security cam system, downloads some footage, and then sends it from his car to the French cop sitting at a totally random terminal in US marshals office.

    The cop then manages to log into their database, download the picture, and run find a match within seconds using some super-advanced facial recognition software that he never used in his life.

    So apparently, all security systems seamlessly integrate with iPods,
    Frank has a roaming wireless internet connection (EVDO?) in his car,
    US Marshal terminals are completely unprotected, and even a clueless cop from a small French province can use their advanced software without any prior training. Gah…

    Oh, and of course there is that scene in which bunch of guards shoot few salvos into that taxi cab, and then they realize they all run out of ammo forcing them to fight Frank in hand to hand combat. Contrast this to the hospital scene where the chick keeps on shooting her machine gins for a good 15 minutes without ever changing magazines.

    It’s funny how in these types of movies no one ever runs out of ammo unless it is dramatic, or somehow convenient with respect to the plot.

    But I think what sucked the most in this movie was the whole premise. I really liked how the in original Transporter Frank was essentially trying to be the professional bad guy, and then failing because he got emotionally involved in the job and let his conscience and humanity get the better of him.

    In the sequel he is essentially the hero, and there is nothing left from that bad-ass professional attitude of his. He is bonding with a kid, fixing family problems, and etc… Bleh…

    The original was much better.

  5. MegaZone says:

    The Transporter 3: Transporting Miss Daisy

  6. Luke says:

    MegaZone – LOL! I think this is exactly where this franchise is heading. :P

  7. Ben Finkel says:

    I watched both with some friends recently, and we loved it as much as The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, or, too a lesser extent and entirely different perspective, The Gamers. Both were just ridiculous and absurd.

    Did any of you catch the BLATANTLY OBVIOUS homosexuality between Frank and the French police officer? That was a fun set of laughs for us. The biggest problem with number one, though was the terrible, terrible acting by the Damsel in Distress.


  8. william says:

    hey Shamus, check out Crank. i very much enjoyed it, and it stars Jason Statham also. it had a very interesting premise to explain all the typical action film events.