Okay, what to say about 'Transporter 2'? It’s shit! …What? That doesn’t count as a review? Could’ve fooled me! Fine! Let’s do this thing right. Damn my journalistic integrity!
By this point I’m thinking ‘So far, so good, so Transporter like’ and my hopes are high for this sequel. But then comes the plot. And there’s the rub! This film attempts to have an actual plot. A. Plot!Okay, let’s go back to the first film. Now, I’m probably being sexist here but what the hell, it doesn’t usually stop me. So any chicks too offended to read the rest of this review can get their asses back to the kitchen and make me a san'wich instead.
- Frank transports a package.
- Frank ends up in over his head. Probably after being set
- Frank uses his Tai-Chun-Fu to kick ass and get out of
trouble by having several fights with numerous goons.
- Explosions and ridiculous set-pieces ensue.
Hell, the fourth Transporter film could be Frank trying to transport a pizza across town in thirty minutes or less, and as long as they had the right blend of stunts, extreme driving and some decent fight scenes when Frank has to fend off ninja assassins hired by the rival takeaway, I'd watch it. (Thanks Paramount, I'll eagerly be awaiting my script writing fee in the mail!)
It does look like the writers understand this mentality...at first! We have the kid Frank is chauffeuring (and playing goddamn guessing games with) getting kidnapped. Since Frank was forced to deliver the kid to the kidnappers the police naturally think he’s actually part of the kidnapping. So it looks like a simple game of cat and mouse…and...erm... dog. Frank tracking the kidnappers while avoiding the police. Fair enough. Nothing ground breaking but it’d be a valid excuse for explosions, car chases and fight scenes. And, honestly, that’s all I ask from my Transporter films.
While I’m on the subject, let’s talk about Frank’s newly developed super powers. Here’s a tip for all you script writers out there, don’t include dialogue that highlights why your script sucks! Such as having a scientist confronting Frank with "So, you want to play super hero..." But rather than stop after highlighting one of this films key flaws he adds "let’s see if you can fly!" Helping to highlight just how utterly ridiculous the next thirty seconds of your life are gonna be, as you watch Frank leap from a window on (at least) the second floor, catching one of the two vials of antidote the scientist tossed, land on a taxi and still have enough strength, and presence of mind, to leap ten feet into the air to avoid being crushed between two cars, and then dodge traffic in a bid to retrieve the other vial. Think I caught all the reasons this scene sucks, but let’s make sure:
Which, again, underlines the problem with this film, it’s trying to be bigger and better than the original, but going about it in all the wrong ways. In the process it loses the charm of it’s predecessor but doesn’t possess the glossy finish of it’s successor. It ends up in limbo, and as such you don’t care about it anywhere near as much as the other two Transporter films. I mean that scene has a couple of saving graces, the knife in the leg was kinda cool, and Frank changing his shirt for a fresh poly-bagged one, like Adrian Monk on steroids, is vintage Transporter, but it’s not enough to save it from it’s attempts at extreme drama. Case in point: When did it start raining?! And when did those cars set on fire?! And that soundtrack...ARRGGGHHH! Someone a hell of a lot smarter than me...Or maybe it was Billy Connelly in a 'Columbo' film...once said 'You only notice music in a film if it's done badly'. I think this proves him right. I mean, what, was the biolab set up above a shitty technoclub or something?!
Just look to the car scenes, and their blatant, needless use of CGI and you'll see what I mean about trying too hard to be more extreme! In the chase scene where Frank and the main villain’s henchwoman/hitwoman/hooker (I’m not entirely sure which, and the way she dresses doesn’t exactly clear up the issue) are being pursued by the police, in the kidnapping scene.
Transporter 2’s henchwoman/hitwoman/hooker
I’m not sure if she’s here to shoot me or my load!
I’m not sure if she’s here to shoot me or my load!
It starts looking like a fair enough effort, nothing too fancy, just like the chase through France in the first film. Until he drives to the top of a multi-storey car park, ‘But…’ I hear you ask ‘Where could he possibly go from there?’ Well obviously he leaps from the roof to the next building. It may not be any less believable than any of that other shit, but this I do hate. It just seems to break the flow of the movie, and say ‘Hey, look how much more extreme we are!’To further, and not the least bit subtly underline that point, Frank is then confronted by a blatantly CGI police chopper that henchwoman/hitwoman/hooker shoots down in a blatantly CGI explosion (With three shots from a gun that couldn’t shoot through a wooden door not ten minutes ago in the doctors office scene…But let’s not go there). There’s no reason for it. The helicopter isn’t even there to create tension. It doesn’t have chance. It’s just an explosion for the sake of an explosion, which normally I’m a big fan of. But I don't like to feel like I'm being pandered to when I'm being pandered to. Plus, the dialogue that follows… Oh my God!
Henchwoman/hitwoman/hooker: I think we lost them.
Frank: Think again!
Cue blatant CGI explosion
Henchwoman/hitwoman/hooker: Thought complete. Let’s go.Cheesy action movie dialogue is something else I'm normally a fan of, but seriously…! By comparison, even the chicken Kiev line from 'Transporter 3' is fuckin’ poetry! They say that if you give a thousand monkeys a thousand typewriters they could re-produce Shakespeare. However if you give just one monkey a typewriter, a bottle of Jack Daniel's and ADD, you get Transporter 2's dialogue.
The main cause of this failure is probably their working so hard to say ‘hey, we’re a bigger, more serious more extreme Transporter, which, by comparison makes the scenes seem more slapstick. Most notably so here:
'It says here I'm wearing watermelon boxing gloves. Is that a---'
'No, Jason. It's not a typo.'
Like try to imitate Bond. Badly! I like to imagine the script session for when Frank chases a bus on a jet ski (…Again, not a typo. You read that right. He chases a buson a jet ski!) probably went as follows:
"ooohhh ohhh ohh aggggghhh"
"Quiet ADD Monkey, I'm thinking.What else does Bond do?"
"There was that boat chase in ‘The World Is Not Enough'."
"Hey, that’s right Frank hasn’t driven a boatyet. Let’s have a boat chase…"
"No wait! We’ll use a jet ski. ‘cause they’re more extreme!"
"Y’know wht’d be really extreme if he was in the water, but chasing something on land."
---Before they all high-fived and called it a day, went to lunch and spent the afternoon skateboarding and trading Pokemon cards. And here’s the end result of that brainstorming:
This is when the final ‘Gripping’ fight breaks out. But instead of being the extreme no holds barred finale they were aiming for, it just seems more slapstick as the two tumble around in the cabin as the plane spirals out of the sky. The choriography reminds me of a horny drunken teen on prom night and the soundtrack could easily be replaced with Benny Hilly's theme tune without taking away any of the drama.
I’ve already admitted to liking some of the fight scenes so I know the 'Transporter 2' team know how to stage them if they try. They just don’t seem to be trying here. Or maybe, as they have with the entire movie, they’re trying too hard. Either way, Frank wins, easily forgettable epilogues ensue, and I vow never to watch this film again. For the third time.And there you have it: 'Transporter 2' in a nutshell. It could’ve been a good film, if it’s reach didn’t extend it’s grasp. And that’s what hurts the most; the knowledge that with a little more effort, and if they’d have gone a bit further either way; towards being a serious thriller or towards being an all action bloke movie, it probably would’ve been enjoyable. Rather than end up looking like this terrible and unenjoyable mis-match of the two.
Watching a drunken monkey with ADD try to type Shakespeare