The Transporter (2002)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jason Statham as Frank Martin in The Transporter

Drive Hard

"The Transporter" is one of those movies that quickly wins you over and makes you just sit back and watch for pure entertainment sake. Concerns over storyline, acting and realism become a thing of the past as one snappy action scene leads to another whilst Jason Statham delivers Bruce Willis meets Jackie Chan. As such all those flaws, and "The Transporter" has its fair share are ignored in favour of the fact it puts one giant smile on your face and keeps it there from start to finish.

Former Special Forces soldier Frank Martin (Jason Statham - Death Race) lives a nice life in the French Mediterranean, he lives by a set of rules that allow him to make money as a mercenary transporter which stop him from getting into trouble with those he works for and also keeps him out of the clutches of the law. But when Frank breaks one of his own rules and looks in one of the packages he is delivering his whole life goes to pot. Not only does he find himself with a woman, Lai (Qi Shu), in tow but also a group of bad men lead by Wall Street (Matt Schulze - The Fast and the Furious) who want him dead. And having broken another rule by getting close to Lai he finds himself drawn deeper into this mess as he tries to stop the illegal transportation of people whilst also keeping one step ahead of the law.

Qi Shu and Jason Statham in The Transporter

As a rule I always say that a movie's storyline is important but whilst "The Transporter" does have a storyline I am going to say for once it's not in the least bit important. In fact the storyline is incredibly weak and ends up little more than filler in between action scenes especially during the chaotic second half. But to be fair the opening scenes which establish the character of Frank, a fearless tough guy who drives cars fast and kicks even harder works well, what follows on from there well technically it's a mess.

But "The Transporter" was never a movie about the storyline, about Frank trying to help Lai and get his revenge on Wall Street for trying to kill him; this was always a movie about the action and the humour. Now both of these interweave together as the character of Frank is established but there is definitely an abundance of action. The opening car chase scene sets the pace for what is to follow as it is exciting but also over the top as we watch Frank drive the getaway car for 3 bank robbers and escape from the tightest of spaces. And the humour of it is that he agreed to drive 3 people and so when 4 people get in the car he refuses to budge despite the cops getting ever close.

What follows on from this opening scene is basically a lot more of the same with plenty of car action as Frank drives fast and dangerously. But there is also a lot of fighting and whilst we have Statham delivering the cockiness of Bruce Willis we also have him delivering snappy martial arts moves to rival Jackie Chan. And these fights often have a touch of humour such as the fighting in a garage which sees him giving several bad guys the slip quite literally as he uses barrels of oil to make it difficult to capture him. The fact that there is a typical romantic subplot involved ends up being completely unimportant as this is a movie all about Frank either driving fast or kicking hard.

As such "The Transporter" is a movie which whilst all about the action is also all about Jason Statham and in many ways this is one of his most enjoyable performances. Enjoyable doesn't mean his best but watching him deliver that coolness of a man in control combined with some stunning martial arts is pure entertainment. So entertaining that when the tongue in cheek humour edges close to being cheesy you don't care and you don't care that a lot of the action is over the top because Statham makes it all work. To be frank, Statham is so entertaining that the rest of the cast which includes Qi Shu, Matt Schulze and François Berléand end up fading in to the background.

What this all boils down to is that "The Transporter" is one of those movies where all the things which are usually important become unimportant as the action and the humour end up winning you over. And with an abundance of action be it car chases or fights "The Transporter" is pure entertainment with Jason Statham doing a great job at the centre of it all giving us a cross between Bruce Willis and Jackie Chan.