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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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TRANSPORTER 2

SYNOPSIS:
Special operator for hire, ex-commando Frank 'The Transporter' Martin (Jason Statham), is a specialist in moving precious cargo of all kinds, including humans. He is now working in Miami and stands in for the regular driver taking young Jack Billings (Hunter Clary), to and from school. Jack's dad (Matthew Modine) is head of the anti drug bureaucracy in Washington and thus the target of a ruthless Colombian syndicate, who have hired another mercenary of brutal capacities, Gianni (Alessandro Gassman), and his lethal blonde sidekick Lola (Kate Nauta). When Jack is kidnapped by Gianni, the ransom is not the real motive: it's far worse than that and has the potential to kill thousands, along with Billings.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you buy Playboy for the articles, Transporter 2 is not for you. This film is strictly for looking at; perve at the cars and the car chases, the stunts and the fight sequences, even at Lola, she of the f**k-me, tall red stilettos, short blonde hair, tattooed backside and the biggest guns a girl could ask for. She's a baddie for the laddy who has everything else, like her baddie lad boss Gianni (Alessandro Gassman). Gassman makes a mean sonofabitch, which is just as well because at least he can be distinguished from our hero, Jason Statham's dour, unsmiling, taciturn action man, Frank. And just to show us how hip they are, the French filmmakers (producer & writer & director) have dressed Frank in black suit with white shirt and black tie - the chauffeur's uniform - and Gianni in white. No clichés there, you might say.

With its modest variation of a kidnap structure, the story itself is not too original, but it's workable enough. Cute kid and Frank are shown enjoying each other's company, thereby forming a bond that gives Frank the emotional juice that ups the ante for the action. That and the fact that he is also the prime suspect.

The plot, involving a rather specific virus that acts in a peculiar way, simply gives the filmmakers the chance to manipulate the genre a bit, but the action plot points haven't been changed. After we are shown Frank's efficiency at self defence, he is off and running after baddies who hold young Jack as their ace. Then Jack's mum, the sweet Amber Valletta, gets a crush on him since hubby is either away or crabby, but he keeps himself nice and uncomplicated, so his morality is intact.

It's not a bad sequel, but the original was, well, original. There are some overplayed elements, but the action is snappy and the danger is credible, unlike, say, in the latest Bond movies. Bond's persona has become glib and jokey, whereas The Transporter is closer to the original James Bond - if lacking the suave urbanity of the tux-wearing 007.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's as though Luc Besson has indulged in all his fantasies in Transporter 2, with impossible high speed car chases and stunts, a super-cool athletic anti-hero with martial arts capabilities and a lethal trigger-happy blonde wearing bra, knickers, black stockings and too much mascara. The character Besson created specifically for Jason Statham in the original film was an unbridled success, a shock of brute force coupled with hypnotic stillness. He is the ultimate paradox - rough and tough, yet quietly spoken and gentle.

Statham's enigmatic Frank is a loner, who lives for his work as a transporter of valuable goods. He's the best in the business and living by his own set of rules. He's a thinking man's super-hero, immaculately dressed in an expensive suit and drives a well-equipped fast car he treats with the utmost respect.

While the original was set in the South of France, this time the action is in Miami, where Frank is driving the six year old son of a wealthy businessman to and from school. Of course there has to be a French connection, and Francois Berleand's odd-ball cop Tarconi who comes to Miami for a vacation is a welcome distraction, as he whips up crème brulees, croque monsieurs and oven-baked madeleines.

The film is loud and violent with non-stop action. The stunts are pretty mind-blowing and the ingenuity of many of them will leave you gasping. Never mind that it's all a bit over the top, the filmmakers make it clear they are not taking themselves too seriously. Nor should we. A zooped up shiny black Audi A8 zooms along the freeway, ducking in and out of side streets, flying over skyscrapers, and even flipping past a crane in spectacular-fashion in order to do the impossible and remove a bomb attached to its undercarriage. Then there's also a sleek black Ferrari that speeds along the runway in order to hinder a plane from taking off (this film will never be shown on an airplane)

The plot involving a kidnap plan and a deadly virus set to destroy the world is as far-fetched as it sounds, but the plot is not the reason why you'll enjoy Transporter 2. It's all about Jason Statham, the action and the sheer daring.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRANSPORTER 2 (M)
(US, 2005)

CAST: Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Kate Nauta, Francois Berleand, Jason Flemyng, Keith David, Hunter Clary,

PRODUCER: Luc Besson, Steve Chasman

DIRECTOR: Louis Leterrier

SCRIPT: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mitchell Amundsen

EDITOR: Christine Lucas Navarro, Vincent Tabaillon

MUSIC: Replicant

PRODUCTION DESIGN: J. Mark Harrington

RUNNING TIME: 87minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 22, 2005

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 22, 2005

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: March 29, 2006







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