Directed by Louis Leterrier
Frank takes what he thinks will be an easy assignment in Miami. Fortunately for the audience it is not, or we would not have much of a movie.
Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is once again transporting but he has taken a fill-in cake job in Miami since a friend of his is out. What happened is never really discussed. His job is to drive around the young son of important bureaucrat Mr. Billings (Matthew Modine). He’s grown close to the boy Jack (Hunter Clary) and apparently the mother Aubrey (Amber Valletta) is a little hot for him as well but as is often the case Frank finds himself in trouble when a hitman hired by Colombian cocaine drug lords kidnaps the boy in order to deliver a biological weapon to everyone attending a major conference.
Frank gets serious character rehab in this movie. Previously his character was a driver for any criminal willing to pay. He was selective in his clientele but that does not change that his clientele were CRIMINALS! Here he gets some cute time interacting with the kid and then goes on a one-man ass kicking spree and killing a few along the way to rescue the kid.
Tarconi (François Berléand) appears to be on friendlier terms with Frank than in the last film. So much so in fact that Tarconi has come to Miami for a brief visit with Frank. The banter between the two feels as if their relationship has moved from reluctant allies to reluctant friends with no explanation of the transition. For me it was an acceptable change in their dynamic that avoided repeating the last film. Here Tarconi was a bit more of a comedic character than he was in the first film. His presence also allowed for an easier resolution of the plot than if Frank was forced to go it alone.
This film is all about cool action scenes set against an over the top plot in a cool location. One of my favorite scenes in this movie is when the one bad guy gets the boat dropped on him. Vehicle kills are common enough in action films and usually a way for the writers to resolve a battle between two adversaries they made too evenly matched. It takes something special to make it interesting and here they drop a boat on a guy in a building. How it played out was very cool.
As I mentioned in my review for the first film, I felt this was Jason Statham’s audition for James Bond or at least it should have been. And just like in a good Bond film, the character of Frank Martin goes up against colorful henchmen.
There is the hyper-violent blonde-haired woman with a gun fetish Lola (Kate Nauta). She is a serious badass and a rare one-woman force of destruction in the action genre-at least when it comes to villains. She has a standout look and an attitude to match.
The hitman Gianni (Alessandro Gassman) though is a bit generic. He is just swagger and bad attitude. There is nothing that stands out about him. The more I think about it the more his character feels like a rip off of Scaramanga from the James Bond film The Man with The Golden Gun. In broad strokes anyway. If feels like the hitman is supposed to be the antithesis of Frank Martin here. As good as Frank is in this movie, Gianni is supposed to be bad.
The action scenes are great and well-choreographed and just as kinetic as in the first film. One of my favorite stunts performed in this film (and I admit there’s a great deal CGI in it but it’s just a cool idea) is when Frank is released by the bad guy and realizes he has a bomb underneath of his car. He speeds up a ramp, flipped the car in an apparent ode to Live and Let Die, and spins the car in a circle at just the right point where a dangling crane hook knocks it off giving him enough time to land on all four wheels and it explodes leaving the bad guys assuming he’s dead. Holy shades of James Bond!
There is plenty of exciting action to be had here supported by a good script. The whole “biological weapon to the conference through the kid” plot is bit convoluted; they get it to work and make it fun.
Transporter 2 is a fun action film. Statham knows how to deliver the goods. This is a great movie that mixes up the formula of the original without altering it totally. You cannot go wrong here.