He’s a heck of a driver. He knows kung fu. He casually dodges bullets. He can jump a jet ski onto the freeway and survive leaping from a Miami high-rise onto a moving taxicab’s roof without breaking a sweat. And when he finds a bomb planted on the underside of his bulletproof black Audi, he has the expertise and wherewithal to flip his in-transit car and cleanly knock the explosive off with a nearby crane hook. He’s ex-special ops asskicker-turned-professional courier Frank (Jason Statham), and in Transporter 2, he’s back to distribute more superhuman smackdowns to those who’d interfere with his special deliveries. Co-written by series creator Luc Besson, Louis Leterrier’s slaphappy sequel is technically about Frank’s mission to rescue his national drug czar employer’s (Matthew Modine) son (Hunter Clary) after the friendly kid has been kidnapped by oily villain Gianni (Alessandro Gassman) and a slender lingerie-and-stiletto-wearing femme (Katie Nauta) and then turned into the human carrier of a deadly virus. What the film is really interested in, however, is outlandish wire work-aided skirmishes in which the laws of nature are disregarded so that the stern one-man gang Frank (who makes a black-and-white suit look positively rugged) may achieve ever-crazier feats of fury. Realism obviously isn’t meant to be part of the package, but Transporter 2 is a martial arts-obsessed action movie inadvertently reconceived as cartoonish parody, its deliberate absence of plausibility seemingly intended to augment the genre’s trademark conventions (against-all-odds battles, car chases, one-liners, etc.) to the hyper-real intensity of an animé adventure. Nevertheless, though it delivers all the intelligent, creative drama of a burning bag of crap left on a doorstep, the film, by barely halting the kinetic mayhem long enough to take a conversational breath, comes close to achieving a level of hysterical lunatic camp. Hitching a ride on Gianni’s escape jet, Frank lets loose with the imaginative quip, “Flight’s been canceled,” and the bad guy’s third grade-level retort—“I’m sorry to tell you that you’ve been canceled”—quite nicely sums up this asinine affair’s road-raging ridiculousness.
- Louis Leterrier
- Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
- Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Katie Nauta, Matthew Modine, Jason Flemyng, Keith David, Hunter Clary, Shannon Briggs, Françcois Berléand
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