The Transporter 2 Movie Review

Few bad movies are more aggravating than a sequel that betrays everything which made its predecessor entertaining.

The B-movie, wild-ride brilliance of 2002's "The Transporter" stemmed from the filmmakers (producer-writer Luc Besson, co-writer Robert Mark Kamen and especially director/fight-choreographer Cory Yuen) not letting the plot get in the way of the tongue-in-cheek, out-sized action of incredible car chases and slick kung-fu. The flick embraced its own simplistic silliness -- revolving around a glibly stoic ex-Special Forces operative who makes a living delivering anything, anywhere with no questions asked -- and had a ball doing it.

Star Jason Statham retains his scruffy but well-dressed, bad-ass smirky-cool in "The Transporter 2," but he's continually tripped up by ridiculous, amateur-hour car chases and crashes (on the level of old "CHiPs" episodes), by over-choreographed fight scenes (so badly shot and edited that all you can comprehend is motion), and by the insultingly half-baked machinations of a convoluted screenplay.

In Miami on a temporary gig chauffeuring and bodyguarding the young son of the Drug Enforcement Administration's head honcho (Matthew Modine), Statham goes up against laughably steroid-pumped thugs who have kidnapped the boy at the behest of several Columbian cocaine cartels.

But for some reason, Besson, Kamen and director Louis Leterrier (who did such a great job with Jet Li's "Unleashed" just a few months back) decided dumbing down the plot of Denzel Washington's "Man on Fire" wasn't enough. Soon they've trotted out...

1) a genetically engineered, florescent-green super-virus used to make the kid dangerously contagious, and a florescent-purple antidote that must be acquired at all costs,

2) a high-profile conference of all the Western Hemisphere's drug czars, whom the bad guys plan to mass-infect,

3) a thick-accented uber-villain who lives in an uber-slick uber-mansion decorated in stainless steel and who would much rather talk (and talk, and talk, and talk) than kill the hero when he has the chance,

4) an emaciated, machine-gun-toting, sociopathic supermodel henchwoman who walks around in nothing but the same skanky Frederick's of Hollywood underwear every single day,

5) an endless supply of idiot cops and Feds who think Statham is in on the kidnapping,

6) an asinine, incongruous comic-relief subplot involving the French cop from "The Transporter" (Francois Berléand), who aids Statham by breaking into the FBI's computers while in custody under contrived circumstances,

7) and a fight scene onboard an out-of-control Lear jet, using CGI effects that look as if they were rendered in a community-college animation class,

...all of which leads to a finale that virtually ignores the whole plot anyway.

Had the fight scenes and chases been as creative and clear-cut as they were in "The Transporter," had the stunts been cooler and not so conspicuously ridiculous (at one point Statham literally dodges bullets), had the story advancement relied more on Statham's wits than on over-scripted dumb luck and exaggerated technology, "Transporter 2" might have been droll enough to shrug off some of its hackneyed, contemptuous absurdity.

But Besson ("The Professional," "The Fifth Element") and his underlings should never have messed with their successful formula in the first place. If you want to make a good check-your-brain action movie, there's only one hard and fast rule: Keep it simple, stupid.


The Transporter 2 Rating

" Hmmm "

Rating: PG-13, WIDE: Friday, September 2, 2005


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