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  Film Reviews: The Transporter: Why Ruin This With Plot?  

Monday, October 21
The Transporter: Why Ruin This With Plot?
Luc Besson. I like him, really I do. This is the filmmaker that brought me La Femme Nikita, The Professional and The Fifth Element. Great films all brought together by the one truth that should be known about all of his films – the simpler the story line, the better the movie.

Do not confuse simple with “a lot of stuff happens.” Sure, his movies are full of lots of explosions, fights, guns, cars, explosions, fights, guns, cars…well, you get the picture.

And this is exactly how The Transporter began. Good old-fashioned nod-to-The-French-Connection-car-chases, an ultra-cool anti-hero who knows everything and talks in metric (we did need to learn it!) and camera moves designed to dare that extra-onion foot-long chili-dog to stay down.

Here’s the deal with Luc Besson. You get a simple story that centers around an anti-hero. Said simple story is wrapped in visually appealing sets, costumes and lighting. On top of that, we are guaranteed new ways to blow things up and fight with the anti-hero’s enemy. No more, no less.

The trailers for The Transporter promised the same thing would happen. Story line should have been: cool guy (played by cool guy Jason Statham) transports things; finds girl in trunk; goes against better judgement to help girl, gets in many cool fights, stuff blows up, then comes happy ending. We were so close. So close.


Luc Besson decides to go against the tried-and-true and add a friggin’ story line. Something about container ships, parental control, modern-day slave trade and the like. It make little sense to me. For the boys in the front row yelling “boo,” there was some sweet release. For the rest of us with manners, we suffered along with what I can only refer to as “the really, really slow stuff between fights.”

The real story is simple enough. We have “the transporter.” Rule number one – no names. Rule number two – don’t change the original plan. Rule number three – don’t open the package. He’s your buff, mysteriously wealthy man with the ability to transport whatever you need wherever you want for a price. From the moment we learn these three simple rules, we know that all three will be broken in brilliant succession. We know that we’ll see cool action sequences with a Hong Kong flair because Luc Besson merely wrote and stood by the film as producer – the film is actually directed by Corey Yuen, perhaps best known for his prior work in Hong Kong cinema (it’s very vogue, you know).

Regardless, this broken rule involves a girl – so we know that the testosterone will fly. Fly in the form of axe fights, exploding cars, rocket-launchers, oil-drenched kung-fu sequences and a fight on an 18-wheeler.

I understand that family is an important aspect in Asian cinema (see any John Woo film if you don’t believe me). I cling to this fact because it means that maybe, just maybe Luc Besson will be back to his old self and giving me the simple films that I have come to know and love. Perhaps he’ll show Corey how it doesn’t always have to be about family – sometimes it’s just about a hot boy, a hot girl, and a lot of cool fighting sequences.

The Usual:

What it’s Worth: Save this for the dollar-theater, unless you have to be the first to see the action sequences – then go for the matinee.

Annoying Theater Goer: While I’ve admired the brashness of the “boo” boys, they began to do this incessantly. I got it, they needed to stop.

Main Reason To See This Film: Inspired action sequences – a French Connection meets any Jet Li film sort of thing.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: You will find yourself having to suddenly care about why the characters do what they do. It’s not that interesting.

MPAA Rating: PG-13.

Nudity: No. Husband wanted more than just wet underwear (I, on the other hand, was more than satisfied with male shirtless action).

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