The Transporter had a great idea for a movie and a superb character to build upon. A man who transported any type of goods for anyone, no questions asked, followed his own set of strict rules, and could seriously kick ass if anything got in his way. The premise was superb, and the movie The Transporter was a seriously good fun action movie that had some over the top and insane stunts you could hardly believe but were superbly entertaining. Then there was Jason Statham who looked great, sounded fantastic, and did a damn fine performance in the role. It was what it was, a great fun action movie.
So when I got the opportunity to see Transporter 2 at the local and excellent Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema I couldn’t say no to seeing some insane driving, superb stunts and highly enjoyable entertainment. Sorry Richard, wrong movie.
I wanted to like this film for a number of reasons, firstly that I really do like Statham and think he’s so playing beneath himself, secondly I really did enjoy the first movie, and thirdly because I have exchanged emails with one of the actresses in the movie and wanted to say good things about it (See this Movie Blog posting). I can say that the actress in question, AnnaLynne, was not only stunningly good looking, but her brief appearance was good and funny. The rest of the movie however, struggled.
Since I’m talking cast here, let me address the other strong point of this movie, Mr Statham. He’s awesome, and that just cannot be said enough. He looks great onscreen, acts very well, and carries this role off to perfection. He also looks like a great stunt guy, doing many of his own martial arts moves and fights, this adds a hell of a lot to a movie when the actor gets involved and puts some muscle behind the role. I really do like him as an actor, and I hope his career is not being syphoned off into a drain with such movies as Revolver, The Pink Panther (remake) (I find it hard to forgive an Englishman for appearing in this remake) and Dungeon Siege.
There are also strong performances from Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta and François Berléand. It’s Berléand that also reprises his role from the first movie and provides the action hero with his comic sidekick, interestingly the two never meet until the end of the movie, but his role provides much laughter and essential points of plot development.
The opening scenes show us the Transporter back to his glory of the former film, following his rules, transporting his goods, and mixes light relief with action well. There are some excellent fight scenes when Martin is pitched against the odds with multiple baddies and multiple props, the scene with the firehose is just excellent to watch, but then things go downhill.
Even during some excellent fight scenes there are just reams of fast cuts and closeups that leave you wondering what just happened, I have to say it’s not as bad as some (mainly because Statham has trained and can do these stunts so that the camera can pull out) but it’s still bad.
Then there are some stunts, particularly with the car, that are so stupidly executed people laughed out loud in the cinema, and not in that funny-haha way, but in that oh lord, that’s so bad it’s laughable way. I would say all in all there are about five moments…no six…okay, seven moments like this throughout the movie, and they are so bad their affect is outwith the scene they are in and actually ruins the movie. Seriously, the final stunt is the daftest. It’s wrong, ludicrous, preposterous, and resulted in audible groans of disapproval from the cinema.
One of the problems is that the reality aspect has been totally avoided here, sure you can crank it up a bit, but this has been ramped even past the realms of comic action, and with that they’ve resorted to CGI and effects and in an action movie that’s not so good. As I’ve always said you need to show the action, pull the camera back, stop cutting and close-ups, and show the audience what’s really happening, whether it be car stunts or people fighting.
Even my mate Pablo was laughing at how poor some of these scenes are and he loves dumb movies! He pointed out that the car spin in the Bond movie, Live and Let Die had a more believable car spin jump…and he’s right, and the reason was it was real. That and it was actually possible!
Saying that there are some really good stunts, particularly in the driving scenes, and seeing Martin in the Ferrari is just a boys moment for sure. Or the scenes in the Dentist office, or just of Martin fighting with people, these are good action scenes. The movie does has tons of style, but is just lacking in content. It is actually a boys movie, cool cars, cool dude, over the top stunts, cool guns, and superb looking ladies.
I just think think if they had cranked down the insanity level on the stunts, pulled them slightly more to reality, relied less on the Hollywood style of filming fight sequences, they could have had a much better action movie. Let me say it again, they have an excellent premise here in the guise of the Transporter himself, how can they ruin it so easily?