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Fox Home Entertainment presents
"Have a good life. What's left of it."
DVD ReviewHollywood just doesn't make as many straight-up action pictures as they used to. With Schwarzenegger in the governor's mansion in California, and Stallone busy resurrecting as many franchises as he can, it seems like none of our old heroes has time to blow up the bad guys anymore. While many filmgoers don't miss these guys or their films, it's kind of sad that we don't get our fill of the former's one-liners or the latter's indecipherable tough talk anymore. A new era of action movies has hit the scene, but most are the product of foreign filmmakers.
2005's Transporter 2 is a British/Asian production in Hollywood's clothing. There are none of the aforementioned one-liners or similar charms found in those 1980s Hollywood genre movies, but we get plenty of stylized fight sequences, fast-cut editing, and hyper music. This is clearly an example of the genre's future, and, if there aren't going to be anymore rides like Commando, Cobra, and even Hard Target, then this new breed has its work cut out.
If you're looking for a deep, thought-provoking, multi-layered plot, you're in the wrong place. The loose storyline reintroduces us to professional driver Frank Martin (Jason Statham), a former agent who takes direction from no one. He is currently filling in for someone and driving around Jack (Hunter Clary), the young son of Jeff (Matthew Modine), a drug czar, and Jeff's wife Audrey (Amber Valletta), who constantly fights with her husband. After Frank goes out of his way to make sure Jack doesn't see his parents arguing, Audrey comes to his apartment, but Frank refuses her advances.
This is a nice setup, but the film doesn't really kick into high gear until Jack is kidnapped by Gianni (Alessandro Gassman) and his right-hand woman, Lola (Katie Nauta). This is as complex as the plot gets; it simply ushers Frank into fight mode so he can kick butt for the next hour. Once Frank is in pursuit, director Louis Leterrier doesn't let up, pounding us with one action sequence after another in an effective and exciting way.
If you can suspend your disbelief throughout the picture, Transporter 2 is a truly effective action film. There's really no doubt how the story is going to end, but we don't really care. Even the preposterous trick when a jet ski comes flying out of the water and onto the street, or when, still more unbelievably, Frank intentionally spins his car in midair to defuse a bomb, left me begging for more.
Jason Statham doesn't really have "action star" written all over him; he's not the hulking, body-building mass that Schwarzenegger and Stallone were. Still, he exhibits so much grace and speed in his fighting technique that he could almost hold his own with Jet Li or Jackie Chan. After some decent supporting work, it's nice to see that Statham might have found himself a nice franchise.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B+
Image Transfer Review: The stylized look of the film really has a chance to shine in this 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. Everything has sort of a charteuse tint to it, and the transfer renders the colors brilliantly, almost making the Miami setting seem like another world entirely. The images are nicely detailed, and the contrast, shadow levels, and blacks are also well-handled throughout. There is a pan-and-scan transfer on the disc as well.
Image Transfer Grade: A+
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 transfer enhances the action sequences with its liberal use of the surrounds. This raucous track is integral to the action from beginning to end, whether in the intense soundtrack or the rapid-fire gunshots that travel from speaker to speaker in accordance to where they're moving on screen. The dialogue isn't terribly important, but speech is always crystal clear.
Audio Transfer Grade: A+
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
14 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: There are some nice extras on this disc, including 20 minutes of deleted and extended scenes. These 14 clips mainly serve to flesh out a few of the characters, and we do discover the fate of one of them, but it's clear they were right to leave these scenes out of the finished film.
This release is to include a blooper reel, a making-of featurette, and a making of the music featurette, but none of these were included on the screener copy I received.
Extras Grade: C
Final CommentsTransporter 2 just might be a sign of an action film renaissance, but even if it's nothing more than a by-the-numbers genre flick, fans will take an effort like this anytime. Fox grants the movie excellent audio and video presentations, and there are a few extras to enhance the viewing experience.
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