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TRANSPORTER 2

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Kate Nauta, Francois Berleand, Keith David, Hunter Clary, Shannon Briggs, Matthew Modine
Director: Louis Leterrier
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 87 Minutes
Release Date: January 10, 2006

“Have a good life. What’s left of it.”

Film ***

Rarely does the mentioning of a sequel produce any hint of surprise or true excitement, but in the case of Transporter 2, I couldn’t have been more surprised or excited. The fact that The Transporter, one of the best action movies of recent years, was even getting a sequel was more than enough to light up my anticipation. I never thought a sequel would ever see the light of day, since the original was only a modest success at the box office. It obviously had a dedicated fan base, of which I’m included in, who were thirsting for more.

And if you thought the first one had some of the most incredible and gravity-defying action scenes ever made, then you’re in for a real kick in the jaw when you see what this one has to offer. Transporter 2 actually exceeds its predecessor in containing the most outrageous, and at times ludicrous, to ever be featured in a single movie. Never before has the element of suspending disbelief been required more.

Jason Statham returns in his signature role as Frank Martin, the transporter for hire who lives by a particular set of rules. This time around, Frank is transporting a different type of package. Taking a break from his usual deliveries of suspicious packages, he has been hired by a wealthy family to chauffeur the young son of the clan, Jack Billings (Hunter Clary).

But the job Frank expected to be as simple as any turns out to be horrendous, as a group of thugs show up at a hospital to kidnap young Jack, who’s there to get a shot. Frank is unable to save him, but he vowed to Jack early on that he would allow no harm to be done to him. And Frank never breaks a promise, though he does specialize in breaking other areas, if you get my drift.

At this point, we’ve reached the 15 minute mark in the movie. From this point on, Transporter 2 is nothing but nonstop, balls-out, illogical-and-loving-it action. As Frank goes after the clan responsible for the kidnapping, he engages in a series of endless fights, chases and shootouts with numerous thugs.

But then the action takes a backseat to reveal something of a twist to the plot. Without giving away every detail, I’ll simply say that the bad guys’ plan involves way more than a kidnapping. Before long, Frank finds himself racing against the clock in order to stop the unthinkable from happening.

Now let’s talk about the action numbers in Transporter 2, because they demand discussion. Whoever came up with the scenarios for some of these scenes is a genius, in my book. But then again, these action scenes wouldn’t have been anything if it weren’t for Jason Statham. His choreographed movement in the fight scenes is so awe inspiring (he does a great deal of his own stunts), and some scenes had me reminded of the early films of Jackie Chan.

Many of the fight scenes are played not just for brutality, but for hilarity as well. A terrific example is a late scene where Frank is cornered by a gang. His nearest available weapon is a large fire hose. Of course, he makes terrific use of it, using the front end of the hose to smack his enemies in the face with, all before having them get tangled up in the hose, which he then turns on full blast. The end result is a remarkable sight.

Is Transporter 2 preposterous as any movie can possibly get? Absolutely, but it knows what it is and it doesn’t take itself seriously at any moment. When The Transporter arrived more than three years ago, as an action movie fan I considered it to be a breath of fresh air. And now that Transporter 2 has blown me out of my seat, I think that this is one of the more welcomed franchises to grace any film genre.

Video ****

Fox’s visual handling of this movie is nothing else but fantastic. Despite the risky and rare double sided format of the disc, including both the anamorphic widescreen and the full screen format, Fox is one studio that always manages to produce a marvelous looking feature. Of course, I am obligated to advise all of you to flip the disc on its reverse side to watch the movie. The anamorphic picture is clean and crisp to perfection, with tremendous detail and terrific colors to boot.

Audio ****

I was hoping for a DTS track, but Fox has delivered the audio goods in full form with a knockout 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. All I can tell you is to prepare yourself for 90 minutes of powerful playback, as the sound mix delivers the fast and furious sound qualities that a movie like this promises. Everything from explosions to gunfire to bones cracking are captured flawlessly in the presentation. If anything, a sound performance that doesn’t even begin to disappoint.

Features **

Included on the disc, but separated between both sides, are deleted and extended scenes, as well as two featurettes; “Making of Transporter 2” and “Making of the Music”.

Summary:

Jason Statham and company have done it again! Transporter 2 is a knock-your-socks off action extravaganza that is sure to dazzle fans of the first one, as well as those seeking some good butt-kicking thrills on a late night.

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