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"The Transporter"

Directed by Louis Leterrier and Corey Yuen.
Written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen.
Starring Jason Statham.
Release Year:  2002 

Review Date:  10/29/02 

Random Movie Note:  I was surfing on Friday afternoon, and on a random search went to the website for “The Matrix” trilogy (  They just released the posters for the next film, “The Matrix Reloaded”, and I must admit, they are pretty sweet.  Those looking for new computer wallpaper will love the six shots of stars from the next movie, four of whom you will recognize right away.  The posters will start appearing in your local multiplex in mid-November.


I was pretty convinced that the new action-adventure film “The Transporter” was going to suck, if only because in the previews for this film, the hero deflects a rocket with a buffet plate.  When I saw that in the trailer, I busted a gut and I simply could not stop laughing, the idea was so ridiculous.

Luckily, that shot is dropped from the finished version of the film and what is left is a reasonably serviceable action film.  My man Brett and I took in “The Transporter” this week and we had to admit, it wasn’t a total dog.  Jason Statham (“Snatch”, “John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars”) is pretty good as lead good guy Frank Martin, a courier that specializes in transporting packages, money, criminals and other odds & ends for shady customers.  As is naturally the case with this kind of film, Martin is an ex-military man that is fed up with the system and has...

A Past

...which means that he was previously oppressed by someone and he just won’t take it anymore!  Although I’m not sure if it was ever explained exactly what kind of ex-military man Martin was, you can expect that he is a full-service action hero, complete with martial arts skills, marksman-like firearms accuracy, knowledgeable in all manner of vehicular operations and car combat, and—I almost forgot that you can acquire this training in the military—a master architect who has designed a French villa with “all the fixins” (i.e., an underground lair, etc.).  Man, do I love the movies.  In the film, Martin makes the mistake of opening one of his packages—and, inside lies a girl named Lai (Qi Shu) who is, yep, trouble.

Since Luc Besson (director of “The Professional”) wrote and produced this film, you aren’t totally out of luck.  The action scenes are not bad—even if they are completely ridiculous—and Statham could have a future as a B-level action star.  The scenery of the film is just beautiful—the French countrysides surrounding Nice are amazing, and director Corey Yuen does a great job of filming his stars against these backdrops.  Brett and I agreed that the soundtrack is pretty good—shit, we’ve even got a Nate Dogg track on here!—but, for whatever reason, it is the placement of these songs that is difficult to understand.  They don’t always match the mood correctly, but they are kind of catchy.  Oh, and it must be noted here—there is a scene in “The Transporter” where three thugs try to take out not just Martin, but what seems like an entire city block by firing three missiles at his house and loading his villa with what seemed like almost 500 rounds of machine gun fire.  By the time they get to the third rocket—with a shark drawn on the side of it, like they were going to drop it on Japan during WWII—I was laughing hysterically because I couldn’t believe that these guys were going to level Martin’s house with this much firepower.  It’s like sending two Sherman tanks over to a row house to blow it apart.  Talk about excessive!

Naturally, though, the scenes with no action are not nearly as interesting, and Shu seemed to be so uncomfortable with her English dialogue that it made ME uncomfortable watching her try to act.  The bad guys are atrocious and there is this long, useless, gratuitous sequence where Martin and Lai are swimming to a destination underwater that felt like it was going to take an hour.  Oh, and the end line—“He may be a bastard, but he’s my father!”—made me laugh so hard at the unintentional comedy that I think the folks sitting behind us thought I was insane.  Really bad.

But, I thought this was going to be shit and instead “The Transporter” wasn’t too bad.  Hopefully, Statham will show up in better material in the near future.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09