Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Transporter

Jason Statham and Qi Shu in The Transporter
Okay, so I convinced my wife to watch this action movie with me, and we were pleasantly surprised. It did everything that vacuous, frothy action pictures should do, and wit a bit of style.

Jason Statham plays Frank Martin, an ex-special forces operative, who lives outside the law delivering contraband in his rather snazzy motor. He has a set of rules that he enforces religiously. Obviously, he breaks the rules, and gets into a spot of bother with a girl.

Forget the plot. Forget the dialogue. Forget physics. Enjoy the ride, literally.

We open with a well realised car chase, full of wit and ingenuity. It is also played out to a bit of hip hop instead of the normal, bland action soundtrack. The location is also used well, Nice, France. This is another of the film's strengths, a European setting. Such a pleasure to see a film that is not immersed in overly familiar American scenes.

Opening Car Chase in The Transporter
The action scenes are why we are here though, carried very well by the impressive on-screen presence of Statham, but truly created by the Hong Kong veteran, Corey Yuen. Fight choreography is excellent, with great imagination, and an understanding that the main draw for this film is Jason's torso. Corey takes full advantage of this, having him lose his shirt in an altercation, and actually use it to defeat three assailants.

Mark Kermode has made a good case for the similarities between the oiled up fight scene, and such other homo-eroticism as seen in Spartacus. But did not mention the fact that our main protagonist actually manages to get a kiss in with one of his opponents! Admittedly it was ostensibly a way for him to steal the oxygen from him while underwater, but there was more passion in that one sequence than in any of his screen time with the female star, Qi Shu.

If your estimations are low and you are looking for a film that will simply entertain, this is a good choice, and streets ahead of big budget action movies like Die Hard 4.0.

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