Blu-ray Disc REVIEW TRANSPORTER 2 Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Year: 2005 Film Length: 87 minutes Genre: Action Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Theatrical Ratio Resolution: 1080p Video Codec: MPEG 2 @ 18MBPS Disc Size: 25GB Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English DTS-HD MASTER LOSSLESS AUDIO 5.1 Surround Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Subtitles: English, Spanish Film Rating: PG-13 Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW Film Rating: / Starring: Jason Statham (Frank Martin), Alessandro Gassman (Gianni), Amber Valletta (Audry Billings), Kate Nauta (Lola), Matthew Modine (Mr. Billings) Written by: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen Directed by: Louis Leterrier The Best in the Business is Back in the Game. I’m revisiting this title on Blu-ray to see how much more enjoyment I’d get from it watching it on Blu-ray. I’ll admit upfront: I wasn’t a fan of this film. I enjoyed The Transporter so much I had higher expectations for the second film. While the Jason Statham, who reprises his role as the driver Frank Martin still carries charm in his own way, the film fails miserably because of stunts that prove to be impossible in real life. The Transporter was never a superhero film. Why are the rules being broken during the making of this film? Alas, it doesn’t surprise me the least bit. It seems that in this sequel the motto should be “all rules are meant to be bent.” I did get bent out of shape just watching it. Just as a reminder, The Transporter was written by Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element) and Statham played an ex-agent who delivered dangerous goods and worked only by his own rules. The film had character, it had flair, and it had man-to-man hand fighting scenes that were slick in style and went down as some of my recent favourites. Above all, it appeared original. This time Statham is retired from delivering dangerous goods and is now driving a child around for a very wealthy man and his wife. But all is not well and Frank Martin finds himself caught in the middle of a kidnapping. He is encouraged to walk away but once again he broke one of his rules: no promises. He promised not to let anyone hurt the child so his mission is to make sure that doesn’t happen. But the cops believe Frank is involved in it and he’s pursued by the police as well as villains. He also meets his competition with the girlfriend of the kidnapper, the sexy but very deadly Lola. Loaded with guns and with an image of a sexy video game assassin, she takes no prisoners. Now back to the problem: the film is fast-paced and loaded with action to the point of being unbelievable. This movie has sequel written all over it. Its story isn’t as strong as the first and the characters aren’t as colourful. The stunts are impossible and even the premise of the kidnapping is ludicrous. Frank finds himself confronting a villain that has the ideas of a mad-scientist (he does have one working for him) but really can just defend himself with money and a gun. I was disappointed with this film because I enjoyed the first one so much. Even though it was entertaining, I must admit it was a let-down. We just may see this series carry on though. Maybe we’ll be entertained better next time? VIDEO QUALITY 5/5 In your head, I want you to picture what you remember the DVD looking like. For those of you who haven’t viewed it, it was an oddly coloured film that is altered in colour giving the impression of sunset skies, just as it was done in the first film. But all colours in this sequel were tinted a nasty looking yellow-green making everyone look like they’ve had food poisoning and are on the verge of being sick. On this Blu-ray disc, the image hasn’t changed at all in this regard but… – it looks absolutely incredible! I took off half a star from a perfect score for the DVD release because of the obvious alteration of the image – it just didn’t look good on DVD, despite still being a reference quality disc. I appreciate this “artistic” decision much more in high definition and it radically changed my impression of the visuals. The DVD looked very flat and 2-D. The three dimensionality on this Blu-ray disc is strikingly gorgeous…it makes me want to reach out and punch a bad guy or take Lola by the gun and have some fun. There are many close-up shots of Lola worth drooling over if you find her bad-ass character as attractive as I do. The sweat-smeared brightly coloured makeup you’d see on a stoned teenaged girl at a rave is resolved to the nth degree; and her freckles are much more noticeable too that it gives further dimension to her beauty. A close-up shots benefit from this detail and all wide shots also exhibit a similar level of depth to the image. Grain is much more noticeable in HD but is a part of this film and should not be looked down on. There is no edge enhancement on this wonderful 2.35:1 picture. AUDIO QUALITY: 4/5 I haven’t done a direct head-to-head comparison of the audio between formats, but based on my writings of the previous DVD, the audio sounds much better on this release. I criticized the DVD’s soundtrack as too loud and a bit bright in the top frequencies. Either I’ve become deafer over the past year or this Blu-ray title has been corrected to a degree. At the same time, I have changed my speakers in the front channels to have a flatter frequency response even though I never considered my previous speakers to sound bright. I think at louder volumes I was just pushing them to the limits in my big room. The DVD was encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1. This Blu-ray disc, like all other Fox releases has a DTS-HDMA encode so I listed to the core 1.5MBPS lossy track. It sounds very good! The music is clear and wide stretching out to the sides beyond the loudspeakers. Effects are loud but tight and articulate. I do think the level of this soundtrack is down slightly from the DVD so it isn’t as fatiguing. If someone would like to confirm that for me please do as I can’t find my DVD on my shelf at the moment…it’s buried somewhere and the shelf is desperately needing organization. Sound effects are what drive this movie from beginning to end and there are plenty of them to keep this fast-action movie moving. It’s immersive but the soundstage is front-heavy to keeping the viewer’s attention on the screen. The surround channels are almost equally as active but they never draw attention to themselves…this time seeming slightly lower in volume. They still add to the depth and spaciousness that the front soundstage creates. Bravo to the sound designers of this film for achieving this; it proves once again how soundtracks can create this sense of space without the use of sound-altering dipolar speaker designs. Bass is used frequently in the film. There is a lot of bass energy in the three front channels without even activating the dedicated LFE channel. Gun shots and punches all sounded heavy but the effect was cool nonetheless. The LFE channel added some great kick (literally) Many of you will have loads of fun with this soundtrack because of the intense bass. I did! I especially loved the shootout in the doctor’s office in the first quarter of the film. This is an awesome example of the fun we all have with home theatre and great demo material for all of your friends. TACTILE FUN!! / TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON SPECIAL FEATURES / Again, this BD-25 has no special features included (except the theatrical trailer - note the untweaked video). The same trailers of upcoming BD titles keep popping up on these Fox BDs (eg. Phone Booth, Planet of the Apes (2001)) and an assortment of trailers from already released discs are included. What’s missing is the nearly 20 minutes of deleted scenes, the blooper reel, and two featurettes: the “making of the Transporter 2” and “making of the music.” These were available on the DVD released at the beginning of 2006…so at this time, hang on to your DVD for these features. IN THE END... This Blu-ray disc looks much better than that awful disc of the first Transporter film. The unfortunate part is the fact this movie is not as entertaining as the first mostly because of the silliness of many action sequences. I will recommend this film for entertainment purposes only…and recommend this disc as a “close to reference” A/V presentation. Michael Osadciw December 29, 2006.