Directed by Corey Yuen and Louis Leterrier
Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is a driver for hire who lives by three simple rules:
- Once a deal is made, it is final
- No names
- Never open the package
He promptly violates those rules and causes his world to be upended. Now he must save 400 migrants being smuggled through Europe before it is too late.
Frank Martin is a man with a shadowy past. What exactly that is never gets beyond anything more than he was in the military. He has moved to a Mediterranean villa to live quietly and drive criminals around. Makes sense. We have all dreamed of doing that. He does the job as originally hired. No more. No less. It is implied during the film he has a code beyond the three rules but what that is left ambiguous.
Inspector Tarconi (François Berléand) is a friendly nemesis to Frank. A heist gone bad (at least for those that actually heisted) leads him to Frank’s front door at the beginning of the film. I like how it is implied that the inspector knows the truth about Frank in general but cannot prove it and simply lets him be. He seems more interested in the crime than in Frank’s involvement.
Some of the decisions of Lai Kwai (Shu Qi) confuse me. Turns out she is Frank’s cargo this time around. Why didn’t she just come out and say the truth rather than come up with half-assed story after story? The character is the damsel in distress that just makes dumb decisions. They irritate me.
Darren (Matt Schulze) was pretty creepy as a villain but the evil did not really kick into high gear until the father of Lai Kwai, Mr. Kwai (Ric Young) entered the picture. He was much more threatening in my opinion and overall just felt more evil.
The premise is simple enough. Frank decides to not live by his own rules and everything goes crazy. And it is ever escalating set of circumstances that begins with a bomb. You can never go wrong with a bomb to get things started.
In the end this movie is all about the action scenes and few people can fight on screen better than Jason Statham. His moves are rapid and precise. And he looks cool doing it. You need to look good or cool in these movies when dispatching the cannon fodder and Statham looks amazing.
On a side note, after seeing this movie I always thought Jason Statham would make a good James Bond. Something about this just feels like it is an audition by him to be James Bond. He has got the cool under pressure swagger. While he does not have James Bond level gadgets here, he does have a cool, tricked out car. He is a charming rogue. And he can really kick people’s butts. In the scene at the end where he parachutes onto a moving truck is straight out of a James Bond movie! How was Statham never cast as him?
The Transporter is an enjoyable film centered on a not so nice guy just trying to stay alive. It is a great entry into the action film genre, and I dare say one of the best. Give it a watch. You will not regret it.