“Transporter 2 is an action packed nitro shot of adrenaline.” “The transporter returns with a vengeance scoring a knockout blow over the summer competition!”
I don’t care what you’ve heard frankly. Let me lay it out for you succinctly – Transporter 2 is the greatest action movie ever made.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering how I can be that nuts, but let me explain first, Bruce Lee movies are martial arts films, Indiana Jones movies are action/adventure, and Lethal Weapon films are action/comedy. Transporter 2 is all action. So, what defines an action movie? In one word: ac-tion. In several words, I think an action movie needs to be devoid of any element of drama that reveals a hint that this is a “serious” picture. An action movie should be a rousing good time with one bloke laying into another bloke over and over again and then driving a car over a ramp and escaping a burning building just in time and getting the girl. In other words, an action movie should be as unlike real life as possible. If you want real life drama, go watch The Constant Gardener, if you want to see something that could never really happen then Transporter 2, with the most fight scenes, explosions, impossible escapes and beautiful girls per square inch of film space, just may be the movie for you.
Previously, the James Bond movies were the gold standard for this sort of thing and obviously working for some sort of government agency or having a secret mission is important in these types of films because it enables all sorts of badguys to come after the hero when you least expect it. It also leads to really over the top fights in exotic locales, something that this movie has in spades. Witness the last fight scene in an airplane after the pilots have both been shot. In a normal situation, cooler heads would prevail and at least one character would make an attempt to fly the plane so they didn’t all die – but not this time! Lead villain Gianni, played capably by Alessandro Gassman, and the Transporter are intent on pounding the other one into submission and completely ignore the plane flipping around in the air, looking at it as merely an obstacle to tearing the other guy apart.
Jason Statham stars in the title role of the movie as a mysterious figure named Frank Martin who will transport anything from one point to another for the right price. In the first sequel to the action film that literally blew the house down he’s working as a chauffeur for a politician, basically just picking up his son from school and ensuring his safety. When the boy is kidnapped, the Transporter does everything that he can do to bring him back home safely. This leads into a crazy plot involving viruses and antidotes, and power hungry villains on a G.I. Joe like scale.
A movie like this just wouldn’t work if the hero didn’t have a certain sense of charm and style and good old-fashioned personal magnetism that’s hard to be defined. Statham is the essence of cool, and civilized while being a total fighting machine at the same time. This is demonstrated right away in the movie when some thugs and a nervous girl with a gun try to carjack him. His car is so rigged with gadgets, that they can’t just get in and drive away without help from him, which he refuses to give them. They threaten to beat the help out of him and he tells them to wait a minute so he can take off his coat, as he explains that it was just pressed recently. Before they can lay a finger on him, they’re all sprawled out on the floor in a ferocious display of the new Jet Li style of action – fast, furious, and more furiouser. Then he knocks the gun out of the hand of the scared girl and tells her to go home as he drives away to his next assignment.
The Transporter is a character that lives by a fierce code of moral conduct and doesn’t have the slightest thought of wavering from that. He’s a real straightforward character. He says what he is going to do, and then he does it. He’s not one of those heroes that tries to talk his way out of trouble with the badguy when it looks like he’s in a tough situation.
Fast pacing, and interconnectedness of action truly make this taut thriller gel despite the numerous plot holes and moments of “how did they do that exactly?” In fact, those moments made me like the film more because I completely stopped questioning how they did things – I didn’t care because it delivered so much fun.