Jason Statham tries on the action hero role in The Transporter, a mildly entertaining movie that suffers from bad directing and an even worse soundtrack.
Statham, who is most well known for his roles in Snatch and The One, takes on his first big lead role as a man living in France who rents out his services as a professional driver, no matter what the task may be. His latest assignment has him transporting a package that turns out to be a young and beautiful Chinese girl who claims that some really bad guys are smuggling hundreds of immigrants into the country. He doesn't care that much, until they try to blow up his car. Being the nice guy that he is, Statham goes on a revenge spree, seeking to destroy everyone that has done him wrong.
The plot is pretty miniscule, but that's okay - I was expecting very little. The action comes many times and in large doses - always a plus - and Statham does a reasonably believable job as our "hero." It's amazing how adding the fact that his character used to be in the military just does wonders, doesn't it? I liked him, though some of the fighting scenes seemed a little too Jackie Chan-esque, which don't work very well without Jackie Chan. Action movies can still be good without kung fu, and seeing Statham running around and kicking people mid-air, and using goofy props at the same time, just doesn't work all that well.
I was not very impressed with the female lead Shu Qi. While she is quite attractive, her character made little sense. She is awfully chipper throughout the entire movie, and offers up sex very quickly. The plot revolves around her, but everything would have clicked much better had her character been decently crafted. Instead, she is given terrible lines that do not help matters.
Those flaws aside, the real problems come from the directing. Louis Leterrier's handling of the action scenes is downright lousy. While the action itself is intense, the way that Leterrier shot and edited them is another matter altogether. Trying to be crafty, he zooms in and out at weird times and cuts from angle to angle to make things seem as if they are going faster. Instead, he just cuts up the rhythm of what otherwise would have been perfectly done action scenes.
My biggest complaint with Leterrier, though, is not his filmwork, but his choice of music. Half of The Transporter's soundtrack is rap, and it absolutely does not fit with the movie. The Transporter is about a white, ex-military British guy in France; there is nothing that even remotely relates to rap. Second off, the choice of rap music made me cringe. I do not particularly like rap music, nor do I think it has much of a place in most soundtracks, but Leterrier's selection is about the worst I have ever heard. Had it not been essential to hear sound effects, I would have muted the movie at parts to have a more enjoyable experience.
Overall, The Transporter has some good thrills, but there is nothing that makes it anything more than a mediocre action movie. The soundtrack is what kills it, and I doubt director Leterrier will be receiving a huge flow of directorial options in the coming months.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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