Michael Bay, the reigning champ of crappy action films, once said, "I make movies for teenage boys. Oh, dear, what a crime." So it is with The Transporter 2, an inoffensive, over-the-top action flick composed of wild car chases and staggering improbabilities that are sure to delight 13-year-old boys everywhere -- and no one else.
The reason for this is simple. Unlike the rest of us, 13-year-old boys haven't yet developed an immunity to mindless spectacle. They haven't been around long enough to realize it's their job as moviegoers to cluck and fuss every time a director tries to pull one over on the audience. Instead of feeling cheated when implausible scenarios pile up and ridiculous actions beget even more ridiculous reactions, 13-year-old boys hoot in approval. The explosions, the fights, the hot chicks, that's enough for them. It's a good thing, too, because that's all The Transporter 2 has.
The first installment in the Transporter series (which, after grossing a mere $25 million, we never dreamed would become a series) introduced us to Frank Martin (Jason Statham), an underworld figure who quite aptly specializes in transporting things. Formerly a member of the British army's special forces, Martin is an expert driver, a martial arts whiz, and a man of few words -- his truest virtue, considering the quality of the few lines he does speak.
The story opens in Miami, where Martin is currently engaged as the chauffeur of a young boy, Jack Billings, whose father (Matthew Modine) is the U.S. drug czar and whose mother (Amber Valletta) is super hot. We get a glimpse of Martin's honorable, yet wounded soul when Mrs. Billings compliments him on his way with her son. "You really know children, don't you?" she says. To which he responds, impossibly, "I know fighting."
The woodenness of Statham's character isn't his fault, however. Statham has acquitted himself admirably in good films like Snatch and The Italian Job, and he does everything he can in The Transporter 2. But director Louis Leterrier and screenwriters Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen have given Statham so little to work with that the best he can do is give his muscles a good flex when his character takes his shirt off.
The action kicks into gear when Martin takes Jack on a routine visit to the doctor's office. Martin is unaware that a group of terrorists has killed the staff at the clinic and are posing as doctors and nurses in a plot to abduct Jack. After some quick thinking, Martin figures out that something is rotten and makes a valiant attempt to save his young charge. But it's too early in the movie for Martin to prevail. An interminable fight and chase sequence ends with Jack in the clutches of the terrorists--who are led by a rather boring villain, Gianni, and his oversexed demonic girlfriend, Lola (model-actress Katie Nauta in a fantastic scene-stealing turn).
But this isn't any ordinary kidnapping. These terrorists have grander ambitions than collecting a simple ransom. Before they let Jack go, they inject him with a deadly virus, which he then transmits to his father, the drug czar, who then carries the virus to a summit where he's the keynote speaker, thereby infecting all the luminaries of the international law enforcement community. As you can tell, it's imperative that Martin break up the terrorist ring and locate the antidote to the virus.
Without spoiling the end, it should be noted that the final line of the movie suggests that The Transporter 3 could be on the way. It seems like it's never too early to get started on marketing a sequel. Before you know it, those 13-year old boys will turn 14.