Action films like The Transporter depend on three elements for success. Style, energy and a capable leading man that anchors down in a sea of unbelievability. Fortunately this movie from prolific producer Luc Besson is chock full of all three. Jason Sthatham (who resembles a b-movie version of Bruce Willis) is given the ‘star’ treatment here and it’s an impressive debut for the former athlete turned Guy Ritchie discovery. The film plays like a cross between the James Bond franchise and The Hitman video game series. Statham plays Frank Martin a former military man turned mercenary, however his skills these days are concentrated on acting as a getaway driver or ‘transporter’ for various criminal types.
On one such assignment Martin discovers he is carrying live cargo in his trunk. After deviating from his tightly regraded rules, Frank becomes involved in helping the victim escape and aids in the freeing of a group of chinese refugees. The bad guys in the picture have a human smuggling ring that seems quite profitable considering the beautiful palace and fancy clothing they all sport. Leading the crew of heavies is a particularly slimy villain appropriately named Wall Street (Matt Schulze). Its Street who double crosses Martin at the drop point, planting a bomb in the car that nearly kills Martin and the rest of the quite village he rests at.
If I made The Transporter seems story heavy thats just a coincidence. In actuality the plot is just a clothesline to move the film along from one sensational action set-piece to another. The crisp photography from French cinematographer Pierre Morrell is top-notch, directing duties are curiously split between Louis Leterrier and action maestro Corey Yuen. Followed by two sequels.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Jason Statham, Qi Shu, François Berléand.