Click here 4 and a half stars

Qi Shu, Jason Statham
She ain't heavy,
she's a beautiful actress
in a terrific action movie

"The Transporter"

Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla

(Click on the images to see larger versions and credits.)

After having seen Jason Statham in such English gangster movies as "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatchíd," even the most casual moviegoer can see that the man is ready to lead in his own movies. "The Transporter" gives him his first opportunity.

Jason Statham, Qi Shu

Jason Statham

Frank Martin (Statham) is an ex-Special Forces< commando who makes a comfortable living on the French Riviera as a kind of mercenary courier. He makes deliveries for shady personalities, no questions asked. In fact, Martin lives and works by a strict set of rules that can not be violated.

During the opening sequence, when he is acting as the highly-paid getaway driver for bank robbers, he refuses to leave the scene because there is an extra person in the car. "Iíve worked everything out by weight," he tells the robbers calmly as sirens and alarms blare. "The additional weight will get us caught."

Eventually, everything works out and the film embarks on a breathtaking car chase choreographed by Michel Julienne.

This eventually leads to another delivery job, this time of a package. While on the road, Frank violates his own rules when he notices that the package is moving; he looks inside. There, he finds a beautiful young Asian woman (Qi Shu), bound and gagged in a garbage bag. Martin indifferently feeds her and gives her something to drink; then, after an ill-fated escape attempt, he delivers her to her destination.

Thatís when the bad guys make their first mistake. They attempt to kill Martin, having realized that he has seen "the package."

Martin, a top-notch martial artist and weapons expert, responds in spectacular fashion, leading to some terrific fight sequences choreographed by legendary Hong Kong choreographer Corey Yuen.

Luc Besson, who produced and co-wrote the movie, has always specialized in taciturn, sullen anti-heroes who have the heart of gold revealed midway through the film. Martin is not really a bad guy, heís just pragmatic to a fault. Statham nails him to a T, making what could be a most unlikable character completely riveting.

Statham reminds me of Vin Diesel just after "Pitch Black"; he has tons of potential, and the right vehicle would elevate him to star status. "The Transporter" is one of those hip movies that connects more with a cult audience rather than the mainstream. I found it surprisingly good, engrossing and refreshing in terms of its action scenes.

While the supporting cast generally is less than stellar and some of the direction is strictly of the MTV "Look Ma Iím Directing" style, this is one of the more entertaining sleeper gems of the year.

See cast, credit and other details about "The Transporter" at Internet Movie Data Base.

Available on DVD.