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Fox Home Entertainment presents
The Transporter: Special Delivery Edition (2002)

"Rule one: never change the deal."
- Frank Martin (Jason Statham)

Review By: Nate Meyers   
Published: August 24, 2005

Stars: Jason Statham, Shu Qi
Other Stars: Matt Schulze, Fran¨ois Berleand, Ric Young, Doug Rand, Didier Saint Melin
Director: Cory Yuen

Manufacturer: deluxe digital studios
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violent sequences, some sensuality
Run Time: 01h:32m:02s
Release Date: August 23, 2005
UPC: 024543203667
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- C-A-A- B

DVD Review

While watching The Transporter, which is practically wall-to-wall action, it occurred to me that less is more. If the movie had fewer explosions and less flare, it may have been a rather enjoyable outing for its maker and star, Jason Statham. Instead, it assaults all of the senses and left me cold.

The script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen exists primarily to set up major set pieces and inventive fight scenes. Frank Martin (Statham) is a transporter of various individuals and packages. He has only three rules: 1. never change the deal; 2. no names; 3. never look in the package. When four men come out of a bank, he refuses to drive until one of them is thrown out of the car because he only agreed to drive three men. If the movie had the conviction to display Frank as a sociopath who only does these transporting jobs to pay for his lavish French country house, it could have been good. Instead, it opts to make him a hero, as opposed to a mercenary, when he breaks all of his own rules. On his subsequent job, Frank sees the bag he is carrying start to move. He looks inside to find a beautiful Chinese woman (Shu Qi). She is being delivered to a the movie's villain, Wall Street (Matt Schulze)—you read that correctly, the man's name is actually Wall Street.

The movie is quite conventional, with Frank reluctant to get involved but forced to when Wall Street attempts to kill him. He makes off with the girl, finds out her name is Lai; there are explosions, PG-13 safe sex, more explosions, a clash with the local police inspector (François Berleand), fist-fights galore, and finally a huge chase with lots of trucks. There are a few additional twists, such as Wall Street and a wealthy Chinese businessman being involved in a slave trade. The story is not meant to be creative or realistic, so it is unfair to attack it on that level. Frankly, I don't mind the story as much as I do its execution. The musical score is irritating, filled with an obnoxious bass that squelches any fun out of the car chases. Let us hear the roar of the engines! There's also the insertion of terrible CG effects, such as shock waves and bullet trails, which belong in a science-fiction film. Ripping off from just about every action movie of the past decade, the wannabe slick filmmaking only serves to remind of the superior Ronin and The Bourne Identity, among others.

Jason Statham fits the mold of an action hero quite well, having hit the gym to show off both his physique and martial arts skills. He creates a strong presence in the fight scenes, particularly one where Frank and his opponents are covered in oil, but it is all in vain. Frank Martin is too dull for us to care about. Even worse is Lai, who seems to have no real purpose in the film. She is a damsel in distress when convenient, but a tough crusader when necessary for the plot. When the movie attempts to force a love story between the two of them, it is painfully awkward and overwhelmed by the constant array of gunfire that surrounds them.

Since Luc Besson conceived the story—the man who gave us The Professional and La Femme Nikita—this comes as a major disappointment. Where are the character moments here that appeared in those films? Director Cory Yuen and his assistant, Louis Leterrier (truly a co-director here, credited as the artistic director), seem to be more interested in gadgets and firepower. What a film it would be if they cared about the people who fire those guns.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The Transporter gets decked out with a new transfer for this re-release. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen RSDL transfer is quite good, with strong colors and sharp detail. Contrast looks good and blacks come across nicely. Some minor print defects can be glimpsed, but they're very rare.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0French, Spanishno
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix from the original DVD is carried over to this disc. It is a good solid track, with lots of dynamic range and dialogue is audible throughout. However, some might prefer the DTS track, which contains a lot more bass and is a bit more juiced. The dialogue is a little more difficult to hear during action scenes, but it is still audible. The rear-channel activity is impressive on both, with lots of sound separation and directionality. There also are French and Spanish Dolby Stereo 2.0 mixes available.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Fox All-Access DVD Collection, Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior DVD, Transporter 2
3 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Steven Chasman, Jason Statham
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 00h:44m:44s

Extras Review: The Transporter: Special Delivery Edition carries over all of the special features from the original release and adds some more. In terms of the carry-overs, the audio commentary by star Jason Statham and producer Steven Chasman is a mediocre listen. Both men offer up some nice anecdotes, though Statham makes a few too many jokes. Chasman gets into the details of the production and conveys some interesting information. There are gaps of silence, though, and at times they do little more than narrate the story. Also from the original DVD is the featurette, Making of The Transporter (12m:01s). This is a publicity piece with some interviews from the set and even a few from the premiere, with everybody talking about how much fun they had making the movie. As far as promo pieces go, this isn't too bad.

Continuing with the leftovers from the prior release, there are three deleted scenes (15m:07s total). Each is really just the original cut of a particular fight scene from the movie, left in its raw form and with some insert shots missing. The differences are very minimal, with only a few cuts being made for pacing or rating reasons. There is an optional commentary on each scene with Statham, Chasman, and director Cory Yuen. The film's original theatrical trailer is also available for viewing, shown in 1.85:1 widescreen.

In terms of the new stuff, the big feature is the new documentary Behind the Scenes...The Transporter (34m:52s). It's actually a pretty good doc, covering a lot of the production aspects and showing the preparation for the shoot in great detail. The cast and crew chip in for interviews, but the best stuff is the location footage of the various action scenes being executed. Following that is a Storyboard-to-Film Comparison (01m:46s) of part of the final fight scene. There are additional trailers for the Fox All-Access DVD Collection, Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, and Transporter 2. I must admit, Transporter 2 looks like it could be a good movie and add the human element the original is lacking.

The final extra is a featurette, Look Inside (10m:02s) on the making of Transporter 2. It's a publicity piece, but it has some cool clips from the movie and the comments do lead me to believe it may surpass the original. Then again, isn't that the intention?

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

In an effort to hype the upcoming sequel, Fox's The Transporter: Special Delivery Edition is full of good extras and a solid presentation of the movie. Too bad the movie just isn't that good.


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