Frank can transport me any day!
BRITON, FRANK Martin (Statham) is a driver-for-hire. His job is simple – he transports objects or people from one place to another, using an extremely cool car, wearing an equally cool black suit and sporting a decidedly cool demeanour.
In The Transporter 2, instead of operating out of his headquarters in the French Mediterranean (as he did in The Transporter), Frank is now in Miami driving a cute six-year-old, Jack Billings (Clary), to school. It’s a temporary position for a man who doesn’t talk much, has no friends, no lovers and is someone who can leap tall buildings, dodge bullets and drive like a demon.
Jack’s father, Ted Billings (Modine), is an insanely wealthy drug baron and his mother, Audrey (Valletta), is a neglected, frustrated wife separated from her husband. The Colombians hire mercenaries Gianni (Gassman) and Lola (Nauta) to take out all the world’s drug barons who are visiting Miami to attend a major conference, headed by Ted Billings. Their big plan is to infect Billing’s child with an airborne virus that will kill anyone he breathes on, thereby infecting his father and conference attendees. It’s flawless, but they didn’t count on the driver.
Driving Jack on a normal school run, Frank is overtaken and forced to allow kidnapper Gianni to take Jack for a five million dollar ransom. With Mr. Billings set to address a huge international drug conference within days, Frank has to find the antidote to the virus. Don’t feel sorry for him though! He drives a car that would make James Bond jealous – a black Audi A8 that is indestructible in crashes and flies across bridges and tall buildings. Battling with Lola and her team of assassins, Frank is masterful at using anything available, and martial arts choreographer Cory Yuen has succeeded in pushing the outrageous, unrealistic fight scenes to the limit of credibility.
Statham has now entered the movie star domain and Frank Martin is a golden franchise for him as his signature role. He burst onto the screen in 2002 with The Transporter. When it opened, it was a low profile action movie and didn’t attract much attention, but it built a large word-of-mouth following and eventually became extremely popular on DVD. It was a surprise critics and audience hit and inevitably led to a bigger and more expensive sequel. The Transporter 2 is the exception to the sequel rule, with it being better than the original.
However, this is an action film that has no twists, no turns and several major plot holes you can drive a tank through, but the set pieces more than make up for them.
The ‘infecting’ plot is effectively the storyline of Mission Impossible: 2 and the film verges on plagiarism (not that many will care). It isn’t the plot that matters here – it’s the hot car, its hunky, thoroughly dependable and equally brutal driver and his heroic antics which will draw the crowds.
In the original, transporter Frank has a number of rules which he claims never to break, until he does. For The Transporter 2 (a profoundly unimaginative title), he still has several rules, but he’s not quite so staunch about breaking them. The filmmakers are not particularly staunch about rules either – they ignore the laws of physics, narrative coherency, reason and everything else that gets in the way of achieving their goal – entertaining the audience. But in that they succeed. You will certainly have a great time.