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TRANSPORTER 2
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Kate Nauta, Matthew Modine, Jason Flemyng, Keith David, Hunter Clary, Shannon Briggs, Francois Berleand
Director: Louis Leterrier
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 87 Minutes
Release Date: December 26, 2006

“Flight’s been canceled.”

“I’m sorry to inform you that YOU have been canceled.”

Film ***1/2

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 for a single second. 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 I must say I’m very surprised to find that I liked Transporter 2 even more, despite near classification as a true awesomely bad movie.

Video ****

I’ve viewed the standard DVD release countless times and though it featured a terrific transfer, it’s absolutely NOTHING compared to the amazing quality delivered by the Blu-ray format. In HD, the action scenes are right in your face! The picture is brighter, livelier and much more incredibly detailed than I ever remember it being on the DVD. There’s also seems to be a greater deal of color here than before. The Miami setting definitely looks quite sizzling!

Audio ****

When the DVD came out, I remember being a bit let down by the absence of a DTS sound mix. Thanks to Blu-ray, I was finally able to experience that very presentation, and it was every bit worth the wait! Blu-ray is making me love action movies more than ever, and the presentation on this release is a prime example of why. Action is the key star here and whether is an explosion, gunshot, or just pain physical combat, you feel the impact from every single aspect. The fight scenes, in particular, just about knocked me out of my seat (especially the fire hose combat).

Features *

Sadly, all that accounts for extras on this disc is a Trailer gallery, including the trailer for this movie and additional Fox releases. This was an early Blu-ray release from Fox, most of which contained little to no features at all. But since the standard DVD only featured two small featurettes and nothing else much spectacular, I’ll have no problem replacing my copy with the Blu-ray simply because of the phenomenal presentation.

Summary:

Transporter 2 remains a ridiculously fun, gargantuan action machine of a movie. And on Blu-ray, the movie is even more remarkably explosive! Jason Statham’s ass kicking antics have never looked or sounded more remarkable!

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