The Transporter (2002), or Human Trafficking And BMWs

7 04 2009

Oh, the action movie. The testosterone-poisoned, overly strong brute of the film world, the action movie taps into the basic desire of most males to hit things really hard until they die. It’s a very visceral experience, but very popular and very effective at accomplishing its goal of breaking shit and killing shit. There are so many of these films out these days, and they all have their own sub-genres. Today’s feature, The Transporter 1 (I mean the original; they weren’t that antsy to make the sequels that they already numbered the first one), is in a subgenre I like to call Suit-Fu. Suit-Fu movies are really just buttoned-up action movies featuring guys in suits fighting each other and murdering each other instead of the standard casual wear. Suit-Fu movies are tailored exclusively to the needs of the dashing and debonair city fellow on the go, who can’t be bothered to kill a man on his own time and therefore feels the urge to watch a movie a movie where similar men in similar suits destroy one another. It’s an extension of the James Bond ideal; you want your hero to be fantastically groomed and well-mannered, but you also want him to bathe in the blood of evildoers. It’s a divide that The Transporter tries to bridge, but takes too many critical missteps in the clutch to really be considered anything more than white noise or ambiance for an incredibly violent baby.

Jason Statham stars as Frank, the Ex-CIA Special Forces Black Op Navy Seal Army Ranger SOAR Green Beret Ninja underwear model. He lives a clandestine and peaceful life in Europe as a “transporter”, a guy who takes illegal things to where they need to go, who lives with the usual set of rules that all good guys who do bad things usually live by until they have a change of heart (No names, no examining the package, yadda, yadda, yadda). One day, he takes a very lucrative job from an American named “Wall Street” to transport something. It’s just like any other job until he notices his package is moving. He breaks his own rules and examines the package, finding that his commodity is actually a hot chick (hot chick Shu Qi co-stars as a hot chick). Hot chicks change everything, of course, so Frank breaks all his rules and dives head-first into a world of people who want him dead for suddenly growing a conscience. There’s lots of action and danger and gunfights and danger and explosions and danger. Commence over-wrought action theme (DUNH-DUH-DUNH-AHHHH!!!).

The Transporter commits the cardinal sin in movies; it is boring. There is a lot of action, a lot of quick edits, and tight shots galore, and if you like that sort of thing perhaps you can forgive The Transporter’s transgression. But, as an audience, we are told vehemently to care about this story that they would constantly cut into for more and more action scenes. It’s not a particularly good story, so it really bothers me when they pull it away from me every time I’m about to pay attention to it. It led to me not caring, which led to me becoming very bored. Sure, there are engaging scenes to be had, but any attempt to keep the audience engage is made futile by cars ramming into other cars and impromptu Suit-Fu action sequences. It’s like Taken, but with a hot chick instead of LIAM NEESON’S DAUGHTER.

Director Corey Yuen was once one of the Seven Little Fortunes with Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, and you can tell his direction is as fast-paced as his days at the Peking Opera School. He attacks the viewer with danger at every turn, but I think he forgets the spirit of it all sometimes and just throws it at us as if the plot was an after-thought. He is a good director, but here I don’t think he has enough to work with. Jason Statham is all right at what he does, if you enjoy British street thugs bossing you around. He sounds at all times like a man who is about to drown someone outside of a pub with a barrel of stout English ale. In The Transporter, I couldn’t believe such a thug was actually an Ex-Special Ops guy. I mean, come on! Statham looks like a muscular soccer hooligan, and I’m supposed to believe that he was not only in the army, but stopped killing people long enough to be commended? Sure… Shu Qi is sexy, but as an actress, she leaves something to be desired. She is a victim, and although it fits in the story, I am sick of damsels in distress. Women can hold their own now, so why are we still saving them in almost every action movie? It’s a disturbing trend that I hope to see curbed in the next few years.

If you like these Luc Besson Uber-cool Suit-Fu movies, then maybe The Transporter is right up your alley. I personally don’t see what all the fuss was about. It’s mindless fun, like all action movies, but it has some sort of death-grip on the storyline that only allows for so much to emerge at any one time. That wore me down and left me unsympathetic towards the film. All in all, it wasn’t terrible, but it could’ve been better considering this movie spawned two sequels (!). I give The Transporter 4 Ex-CIA Special Forces Black Op Navy Seal Army Ranger SOAR Green Beret Ninja underwear models out of 10.

Keep an eye out today for my review of Thumbsucker!




One response

27 04 2013

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be
really something which I think I would never understand.
It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get
the hang of it!

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