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Posted on 1/10/06 06:57 PM
Ex-mercenary Frank Martin (Jason Statham) has taken his business to the United States. He also makes an acquaintance with a young boy named Jack (Hunter Cleary), as well as his mother Audrey (Amber Valetta). However, no matter where Frank goes, trouble follows, and that would be Gianni (Alessandro Gassman) and Lola (Katie Nauta), who kidnap Jack during a routine hospital appointment. Gianni request the family pay him, or their son will suffer the fate of a deadly poison. Thus Frank is put into a position where he must find Jack and stop the bad guys.
This year, we've been flanked with dozens of action movies. Sadly, the majority of them sucked ("Alone in the Dark", "Stealth", "xXx: State of the Union"), and makes us yearn for the days when the genre was revitalized ("Enemy of the State, "Face/Off", "The Rock"). Back in 2002, we've received a taste of full-throttle kung-fu action in the form of "The Transporter", which became a hit in theaters and (mostly) DVD, and became Statham's signature hit as Frank Martin. Little did we know that the sequel, which comes out after all the action bombs we've endured, would surpass everything that the original had.
So, what makes "Transporter 2" good? Director Louis Leterrier, the original's artistic director, picks up where Cory Yuen left off by pulling out all the stunts. Car chases? Adrenaline-pumping music? Well-choreographed kung-fu scenes? And another great performance by Jason Statham? Check, check, check, and check.
Another addition to "T2" is an inclusion of CGI scenes. You'll see it in action when Frank makes a near-death landing from one building to the next, rides on a jet-ski and lands on pavement, and escapes from a plane that has crashed into the ocean (the scene alone is less dizzying than the aerial fight scenes in "Stealth").
Also making a return are the fight scenes. Even if Leterrier is no John Woo, he manages to rip off plenty of the Hong Kong director's styles: Lola's two guns, heavy uses of slow motion, and interaction between Frank and the main characters.
Speaking of that, Amber Valetta's performance is a little hard to sit through. When the story kicks in and her kid is kidnapped, she starts yelling and it gets all too annoying. Hey, V, I know you're upset about your kid and all, but take a 'lude or something. It's a shame, because she delivers a good breakout performance, better than in "Hitch," IMO. But for the others, Katie Nauta makes us of her understated, yet solid role.
Running at a scant 88 minutes, shorter than the original's 94 minutes, "Transporter 2" gets every scene done without milking it. Statham, who'll likely tarnish his career now that he's in Uwe Boll's reiteration of the PC hit "Dungeon Siege" (well, according to my friends at the message boards), is a hoot and a holler, delivering deadpan punchlines and karate moves with the grace of Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat. Surpassing the original's silly, but graceful action sequences, "Transporter 2" is 2005's better action thriller, and a worthy successor to the original and then some.