Transporter 2

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Transporter 2
Review (6/10)
(By Alex Riviello)

Jason Statham is a great action hero. The first Transporter finally allowed Statham to show off his athleticism and demonstrate that he did indeed have the chops to be a leading man. It had a lot of memorable fights, a nifty car chase, and was a lot more fun than you'd expect. The sequel came as a surprise, because although the first had done pretty well in Europe and did some decent business on DVD over here, it wasn't that big of a hit. But it did get done, and it's out in theaters now. So did they pull it off a second time?

The first thing you notice about the new movie is the change of location. Frank Martin (Statham) has moved to Miami, possibly to relax a little bit from his hectic times overseas. He's still a driver, doing various jobs for whoever has the cash, but his current one is ferrying around a kid (Hunter Clary) from school to his house. It's not the kind of work he'd like to be doing but it pays the bills. There's a bonus anyways - the mother of the kid (Amber Valletta) is divorced, lonely and horny. Frank doesn't mix business with pleasure however, and although he rebuffs her advances he continues working with her. He does her a favor by driving her son to the doctor...with no idea of the nefarious events that are about to take place. (REPLACE maniacal laugh here)

This is where the movie gets silly. The plot goes something like this - there's a bad guy on the loose who kidnaps the kid and demands ransom. Frank is suspected of being in on the kidnapping and decides to fight back - he made the kid a promise that he'd be fine, after all. He goes around chasing and beating up a lot of people until he finds the little guy. Little does he know that the ransom is actually a cover-up for the real bad guy plan to infect the kid with a deadly virus and return him, thus spreading it to his father (a politician) who's about to make a speech to important political figures. And of course, have them all get coughed on and die. It doesn't sound all that bad but when you've got the evildoer yelling "BREATHE!! BREATHE!!!" when the plan's finally coming together, it just kills all the reality of it.

Gianni (Alessandro Gassman) as the antagonist is a joke. The guy overacts in practically every scene. He acts like he's taking a class in Villainy 101. And failing. His main squeeze, the nice-assed Lola (Katie Nauta) is equally bad, but she's a model so she can get away with it. The fact that she's half naked and toting Uzis in every scene doesn't hurt either. Either way, the two combine forces to make the movie feel even more ridiculous and comic-book like...which doesn't work for the film. Spouting one-liners has been a standard in action movies for years, but these two just drop some painful, painful lines. Fortunately none stuck with me well enough to remember, which is a problem with the movie on a whole.

Jason Statham is a badass. His fights were great in the first movie, but he was a real guy who took a beating at points and made you feel for him. In this one he's so refined and perfect in his fighting moves that I was expecting Agent Smiths to pop out and tackle him to the ground. He's a superhero, plain and simple...which kills any sense of suspense the movie might've had. The reason people enjoy Jackie Chan movies are because he isn't impervious. He gets smacked around almost as much as he smacks people up. It makes you root for him that much more. In this one, Statham doesn't ever feel pain. He fights countless nameless opponents and while it's very cool and stylized, there isn't much feeling to it. The one fight that should've been an out and out brawl (against Gianni) is a big disappointment, even though it's set upon a plane going into a nosedive. The shining moment of the film is a fight involving a fire hose being used in ways you never thought. They should invent a martial art solely involving fire hoses... I'd sign up. There are also a few chase scenes (car, jet ski) that are pretty standard.

The saddest part about this movie is that everything feels like it's been done before...and better. It does have a lot of cool moments, but on the whole it's all pretty forgettable. There's nothing much of substance to make you sit and think back on. It's a shame, because Statham deserves a good series of his own. This isn't it, though.

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