The Transporter (2002)

The Transporter (2002)
  • Time: 92 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller
  • Directors: Louis Leterrier, Corey Yuen
  • Cast: Jason Statham, Qi Shu, Matt Schulze


Frank Martin is a former soldier now living a solitary existence in France, Frank runs a private business as a “Transporter” a hired criminal whose job is to transport cargo, packages and passengers without question. Playing by the rules, Frank is the best in the business and he has never broken the rules. Until, Frank is hired by an American criminal known as “Wall Street” to deliver a package. Frank’s curiosity leads him to break the rules, and he discovers the package he is delivering to Wall Street is a Chinese woman named Lai. Learning that Frank broke the rules and learn about Lai, Wall Street sends his mercenaries to assassinate him. With his own life in danger, Frank takes it upon himself to protect not only himself, but Lai, as he agrees to help Lai rescue enslaved people from China, who are being smuggled into France by Wall Street helped by Lai’s father.

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  • Jason Statham is popular for obvious reasons. Most audiences enjoy Statham just for his sharp British accent and his athletic action chops. Of course, there is more to that when telling a story in film because that can’t be the only thing the plot centers on. It just has to placed in the correct moments for the storyboard to move with flow. For this film, it definitely can be said for sure, that the flow of this movie is even. Yes, there are other things to address but those things will come. This is perhaps one of the few films people can enjoy that deals with consistent movement (like the The Fast and the Furious (2001) franchise in a way).

    The story is about an ex-military man, Frank Martin (Statham), who is covertly working as a transporter for hire – a man who basically moves things from one place to another. No questions are asked about what he’s transporting; that’s not apart of his deal. If the deal is broken, so are the rules and that’s basically how things unfold. Upon taking what seems to be a routine job of “transporting”, Martin discovers there may be more at stake and breaks his code of the deal. Thus ensuing him in a load of trouble. Of course, nothing he couldn’t handle though and that’s actually the surprising part of this movie.

    The screenwriters behind this movie are Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. Before this time, Besson was best known for writing Léon: The Professional (1994) and Kamen had written for The Karate Kid (1984). To many, those are extremely well written works. In six years they would write for Liam Neeson’s Taken (2008). I guess they’re writing slipped a little in quality around this time. That’s not to say their writing is bad, it’s just predictably cliched. There are only a few areas that stand out. The areas that are cliched are the one’s dealing with character development in the protagonists and the knowledge of the antagonists.

    Statham playing an ex-militant is pretty much the same as how most ex-militant characters are written. They like working alone, but yet end up finding a love interest. They also have retained their martial arts and survival skills since their retirement, which allows them to fight their opponents with ease. It was actually more interesting in the beginning of the movie because it wasn’t all about taking on 5 times as many opponents as it was getting the job of “transporting” done. Before the action finale to the film, Statham played a much slicker character – almost like a cheaper version of a James Bond. It was cool to watch him be clever and evade authorities by his driving skills or name changing license plates.

    Accompanying Mr. Martin in his travels is the thing that makes him break his rules; a girl named Lai (Qi Shu). Here, she explains to Martin in her best English about a crate shipment of people that are being given to some wealthy guy. It’s actually not clearly stated what is purpose of this. Illegal immigration? Slave labor? What? Matt Schulze plays the wealthy bad guy and he doesn’t play badly at it either. In fact, viewers may find his performance a little more energetic than Statham’s. Not sure if it was meant to be that way, but Statham pretty much plays it straight faced. I would like to know how Schulze’s character was able to track Martin whereever he went though. It’s a little preposterous since there was no clear indication on how Martin’s place of living was discovered.

    When it comes to action sequences however, that’s a different matter. Since Statham is well equipped for this type of genre, there is no doubt Statham knows what he’s doing, and those scenes filmed will be entertaining. Which leads to a very specific moment that must be pointed out – the oil slick fight. This particular scene isn’t something action fans may see every day. It’s a very unique action sequence and it’s quite baffling to know how it could’ve been executed. The music provided by Stanley Clarke was an interesting take too. The sound mix contained some orchestra but mostly jazz work tones that actually meshed well with the scenes that were filmed. It surprised me. Overall, it’s your standard Statham film. Nothing far from what’s already been made.

    The Transporter had a good premise and started out with class (thanks to the music). By the end though, it’s a standard Jason Statham action movie that has consistent flow and doesn’t have bad pacing.

    Points Earned –> 6:10

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