Published Sep 01, 2005Jason Statham returns as black-suited uber-courier Frank Martin, now chauffeuring a young boy and consequently getting embroiled in the moppet's kidnapping plot. But though there's miles more action than in the 2002 original, it's somehow less fun to watch.
Where the original film had a certain vapid elegance that sold the often ludicrous feats of strength, this one is shaggier, more sentimental and considerably less credible. Statham is as super-cool as ever, but he has to share screen time with worried mother Amber Valetta and follow through on some warm, fuzzy instincts, which not only violates the whole Transporter premise but sets up genuine dramatic elements that it can't hope to execute correctly.
To be sure, the main villains are a pretty funny bunch: Alessandro Gassman is hilariously greasy as the Euro-trash ringleader Gianni, while Katie Nauta is surprisingly effective as his psychotic lingerie-clad moll Lola. But there's too little of them and too much of some apathetically selected heavies, to say nothing of irritating father Matthew Modine and the ridiculous germ-warfare plot that materialises halfway through.
Though it would be hard to be more sexist and stereotypical than the original, the sheer volume of thug foreigners and unclean villainous bitches wears on you. And though one can thrill to the elaborate car and martial arts numbers, they're so relentless that soon they all start looking the same. By the two-thirds point I was simply marking time until it was over.
It's strange how the same personnel as the original (and this spring's Jet Li sleeper Unleashed) could turn in something so listless and tacky, though I suppose the action crowd will find plenty to sate itself with. (Fox)