Genre: Action Running Time: 1 hr. 27 min.
Release Date: September 2nd, 2005 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Louis Leterrier Actors: Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Kate Nauta, Matthew Modine, Jason Flemyng, Keith David, Francois Berleand
ike many sequels, “Transporter 2” isn’t able to surpass its predecessor in quality or entertainment value. Strangely, it also manages to dumb down the intelligence level and further overtax the already obnoxiously exaggerated action. While some might categorize this follow-up as “so bad it’s good,” the belabored feel of its intentional, cartoony interactions and stagey machismo aren’t endearing so much as plain pitiable. “Transporter 2” isn’t the worst movie ever made, but it has to be pretty close.
Frank Martin (Jason Statham), a strictly rule-abiding mover of delicate goods, is now in Florida, filling in as a chauffeur for the son of a powerful government official (Matthew Modine). When young Jack (Hunter Clary) is kidnapped by a dangerous mercenary-for-hire (Alessandro Gassman), Frank must uncover the nefarious plot behind the crime, rescue the boy, and generally save the day – in as outlandish a fashion as possible. It all becomes more ludicrous when deadly viral contaminations and limited productions of the antidote work their way into the premise.
For every well-choreographed, creative action sequence, there are five utterly ridiculous ones. An intense duel with a hulking henchman in the confined quarters of a boat allows for artsy camerawork and suspenseful combat, while a martial arts-infused fight with a fire hose highlights the only unique and amusingly Jackie Chan-like action sequence, full of humor and interactive props. But a dreadfully dull Tarzan-esque battle with the main villainess, unrealistic bullet dodging, and an anticlimactic airplane crash quickly rescind this action vehicle’s license to thrill. And if the majority of these moments weren’t disappointing enough, they’re accompanied by dreadful one-liners (something curiously absent from the first picture) and some of the most unimpressive computer graphics in recent history.
The 2002 original, while diverting in its brainless adventure, was wholly unrealistic. But this second one practically redefines the word. It’s difficult to come up with enough adjectives to describe just how detestably over-the-top every aspect of the production becomes – from the abhorrent, lingerie-wearing antagonist Lola (played by Kate Nauta, a glamorous supermodel who has no business attempting to be a grungy, psychopathic assassin) to the badgering use of music (two soundtrack songs of which are sung by Nauta) and skewed sense of plausibility. Frank retains his use of rules this time out, though the rules of realism (or even basic physics) have long since been lost. At least, a healthy dose of car chases, massive property destruction, and martial arts mayhem keep “Transporter 2” marginally watchable. But just barely.
– Joel Massie