Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The Transporter

Christopher Fowler rated The Transporter as one of his top ten crime films in a recent newspaper piece, and this prompted me to take a look at a movie which was screened in 2002 and has spawned two sequels.

The eponymous ‘transporter’ is Jason Statham, whom I encountered recently in the popular but, to my mind unsatisfactory, Crank. Here he is in excellent form, as Frank Martin, an ex-soldier who earns a very good living in the south of France, transporting people and packages. The film begins with his giving a lift – by way of a frenetic car chase - to a group of bank robbers (who fail to engage him to take them to their next destination, and finish up under arrest.)

Frank is then hired by a villain called ‘Wall Street’ to deliver a package. When the package starts to squirm, he breaks his own rules and, succumbing to curiosity, he opens it up – to discover a gorgeous Chinese girl called Lai. He duly delivers her, but after falling out with his hirer, he rescues her, and a relationship of sorts develops between them.

I enjoyed this film. Yes, it may be described as a bit mindless, but of its kind, it is very well done (Crank is an example of how not to do it) and the pace never relents. The downside is that the plot is rather thin, and there’s not much of an attempt to make it all plausible. ( I never really figured out why Lai was put in the package in the first place – if anyone can explain this, I’d be glad to know.)

If you’re looking for sensitive insight into the human condition, The Transporter is not for you. But I go along with Chris Fowler - as a piece of fast-moving escapism, it’s pretty good.

7 comments:

Ali Karim said...

I believe the Transporter was not a bad flim, but after viewing DEATHRACE with Stratham [which was dissappointing after a decent start] and the trully aweful CRANK [which should have been re-titled WANK], I'll avaid anything with Stratham - but then again.......

Ali

Bill Crider said...

I agree. Mindless fun, which is sometimes the best kind.

christopher said...

You see? The two sequels are more of the same - and I mean the same. The piece I wrote for the Times originally contained far more outre choices, including Darkness In Tallin and Hukkle - both bizarre and wonderful.

David Cranmer said...

I don't get the Jason Statham phenomenon but I will check out THE TRANSPORTER based on your review. I've heard THE BANK JOB is also good.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Chris, I don't know either Darkness in Tallin or Hukkle. But I take it I should avoid the sequels!
Ali, The Transporter is far better than Crank, promise!

Brian Drake said...

Stratham is not a bad actor. If you watch The Bank Job, you'll see what I mean. (Dare I say he gives off a Steve McQueen vibe in that one?) That's the only show I've seen him in, so I can't comment on his other work, but I was impressed with his performance in Bank Job. The whole cast is good. As is the story--best heist/caper film I've seen in several years, mainly because it doesn't have the usual caper movie predictability.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Brian. I don't know The Bank Job, but in view of your comment, I will definitely look out for it.