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What's the story?
In this action-packed thriller, Frank (Jason Statham) is a former military man who now serves as a "transporter." He will deliver anything from one place to another, as long as his price and conditions are met. The price is high. The conditions are these: no names on either side, no changes to the deal once it's set, and no looking into the package. Frank is both a meticulous planner and fearless under pressure, whether he's being chased by dozens of cops or penetratingly questioned by just one smart one. Frank on a fresh job and for once he breaks one of the rules. He looks in the package he's transporting and finds a young woman named Lai (Shu Qi). If he hesitates about delivering her to her destination, it is only briefly, because he takes her to the drop-off and accepts another job from the man who receives her. It is only when that package turns out to be a bomb intended to kill Frank that he returns to retrieve Lai and extract some revenge. Frank starts to care which side he's on and he starts to care about Lai, then thinks he can't trust her, then learns he really can. Together, they evade and take on the bad guys.
Is it any good?
Pure popcorn pleasure, THE TRANSPORTER is a heady combination that is half testosterone, half attitude, and all action. It really delivers. Don't pay much attention to the plot – no one connected to the movie does. Just pay attention to the chases and explosions, staged with style by Corey Yuen, a veteran Hong Kong actor/director and co-written by Luc Besson, whose wildly imaginative visuals ignited The Fifth Element and other films.
Together, they have produced pure movie adrenaline.
Statham is a fine action hero, handling kick-boxing and dialogue with wit, grace, and style. Qi, who learned English (or some English, anyway) to take on the role, has a fresh, appealing presence, and Frannois Berlland is superb as the policeman caught between suspecting Frank and admiring him. The bad guys played by Matt Schulze and Ric Young are not as interesting as they could be, but the movie moves so fast you won't have much time to think about it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Frank appears once to have been an idealist; what made him decide not to try to work to make things better any more? Why did the policeman let Frank go after the bad guys instead of sending the cops? What do you think Frank and Lai will do next? What makes this chase and explosion movie better than so many others?
- In theaters: October 11, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: April 15, 2003
- Cast: François Berléand, Jason Statham, Shu Qi
- Director: Corey Yuen
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violent sequences and some sensuality
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