Transporter 2

**1/2

Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

The Transporter franchise suffers from some serious engine failure in this too-slickly produced sequel and only just makes it over the finishing line. The original had a thin premise and an anorexic plot, but delivered brilliantly choreographed fight scenes and downplayed gun violence. It was simple and straightforward, something that cannot be said for this incomprehensible follow up.

For Numero Duo, the action is relocated from the French Riviera to Miami, a city often featured in bad sequels (2 Fast 2 Furious, Bad Boys II, Police Academy 5). Frank Martin (a skin-headed, forever grimacing Jason Statham) no longer takes dodgy packages from point A to point B; instead, he's temping as chauffeur for a wealthy family. When their kid is snatched by a stereotypical Columbian villain, he springs into action, kicking ass in his own special way.

It turns out that the child has been injected with a deadly virus and everyone he breathes on will catch it, and so on and so on... An interesting story device that soon crumbles into a massive pile of plot holes. You'll be so distracted that you might miss the action, except the action doesn't have the same edge as it did before.

I can appreciate far-fetched gun-and-run movies, as long as they stay within a relative distance of reality. Transporter 2 goes way beyond, turning Martin from deliveryman into indestructible superhero. After a while you'll realize this guy can do anything and will always walk out of the worst scenario alive. It totally kills the excitement. None of this is the fault of Statham, who once again proves he can miraculously do suave and gruff at the same time.

As if the plot wasn't flimsy enough, the narrative completely shatters and will leave you disorientated and lost among the brawling and battling. Characters come and go with no explanation; sub-plots are abandoned and the film is totally void of a denouement, or climax.

All it does is showcase a bunch of totally far-fetched fight scenes, while failing at everything else that could have made the film a contender. Even the relentlessly silly Danny the Dog (Unleashed) did better than this.

Even though it was made by a European director and producer and funded with European money - something that gave the original such a unique ambience - this feels an awful lot like a Hollywood trash flick. It's a shame the F M machine had to lose its wheels so soon. Since the end hints at a third, one can only hope that Louis Leterrier and Luc Besson get their shit together. What began as a series, made in the hedonistic style of Taxi (the Gallic prototype), Ronin and Kiss Of The Dragon has ended in the bargain basement, where movies like Stealth and S.W.A.T. are parked. And that ain't good.

Reviewed on: 27 Nov 2005
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The return of the ass-kicking courier in a convoluted tale of a kidnapped kid and a deadly virus.
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Director: Louis Leterrier

Writer: Robert Mark Kamen

Starring: Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Kate Nauta, Matthew Modine, Jason Flemyng, Keith David

Year: 2005

Runtime: 87 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France/ US

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If you like this, try:

Stealth
S.W.A.T