The Transporter 2

The Transporter was a nice guilty pleasure from a few years back. It wasn't the greatest movie, but it sure as heck was a fun one. It was inevitable that a sequel would arrive, and here it is, again with Jason Statham's terse and tough demeanor, Cory Yuen's bone-crunching martial arts choreography, a fetishized Audi, and Luc Besson's lightning good instincts for action movies. The only changes they made to the original were to add even more stunts and car chases. While it does make an already light film even dumber, The Transporter 2 still retains a kinetic feel and a sense of fun. Frank Martin (Statham, Cellular, Collateral) is now in Miami, and is driving Jack Billings (Hunter Clary) as a favor. Jack's mother Audrey (Amber Valleta, Hitch, Raising Helen) has no idea what he actually does for a living.

Life gets complicated when somebody kidnaps Jack. Jack's father (Matthew Modine, Le Divorce, Any Given Sunday) is a high ranking government narcotics official, and the kidnappers want to use Jack to get to his father. Unfortunately for Martin, police believe that he is behind the kidnapping. Audrey knows that this is not the case, and Martin's personal code of ethics insists that he return Jack safely to his parents. So Martin needs to race against time and the police while crazed Russians try to kill him. Lucky that he is who he is.

Director Louis Leterrier (Unleashed) and writers Besson (Unleashed, Taxi) and Robert Mark Kamen (The Transporter, Kiss of the Dragon) move things quickly and efficiently from car chase to fight scene. The chases are okay; Leterrier goes a bit overboard with what he has Martin do. It takes the film from "oh wow" territory to "oh come on." It's still amusing to watch, although it is completely unbelievable. Yuen's (Bulletproof Monk, Cradle 2 the Grave) action choreography is much better. Statham is a big guy, but surprisingly agile. Yuen uses Statham's sheer power and brute force as a starting point, crafting together visceral fights that, like the car chases, strain credulity, but are highly enjoyable.

Leterrier also adds a small sense of humor - Martin wants to keep his car and clothing immaculate. Added together, these various things help give some heft to an otherwise slight movie. Martin discovers that a man named Gianni (Alessandro Gassman, The God's Bankers, Coconut Heads) is behind the plot. Gianni lets Martin go, not knowing that Martin will not do everything he can to go after him. This means frequent fights with Gianni's henchwoman Lola (Kate Nauta), a gun toting, bikini-clad, punker. Yes, it is as silly as it sounds. Francois Berleand (Les Choristes, The Code) also reprises his role from the original, but his entire role in The Transporter 2 is fairly pointless. Leterrier knew what made The Transporter work, and he decided to stick to the same formula. Instead of going in a new direction, or trying to add to the original, he coasts and does the same thing over.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 28 minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sequenes of violent action, sexual content, partial nudity, and brief language.

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