HTF REVIEW: "The Transporter" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 30, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    The Transporter

    Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 92 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish

    Rules are made to be broken

    I must be getting softer in my old age. There
    was a time when I highly criticized "popcorn flicks,"
    that is, any film that fails to rise above being
    anything more than mindless entertainment. By no
    stretch of the imagination is The Transporter
    a great film. It's certainly not going to win any
    awards. However, that doesn't stop that this
    film from being the one of the best guilty pleasure
    movies to be released in quite some time.

    The Transporter is the latest thriller from
    action-movie mogul Luc Besson (The Professional,
    Taxi, Kiss of the Dragon), who is credited not as
    director but as producer and co-writer, leaving
    the job of directing to Cory Yuen, a Hong Kong
    filmmaker and martial arts enthusiast.


    Ex-military Frank Martin (Jason Statham) will
    transport anything you need, no questions asked --
    as long as you don't change the plan. Frank goes
    about his business in an inconspicuous manner
    whilst maintaining the respect of local police
    detective Tarconi (Francois Berleand). A jacked-up
    BMW, classical music, and ever-changing license
    plates are the key instruments the Transporter needs
    to get his job done.

    Breaking one of his cardinal rules ("Never open the
    package"), Martin peers into a large wiggling duffle
    bag he has accepted as cargo stuffed into the trunk of
    his BMW. It is there he discovers Lai (Qi Shu), an
    attractive Oriental woman, bound and gagged. The cost
    of opening this package is his life, and he now
    finds himself being trailed by a baddie named Wall
    Street (Matt Schulze) who dispatches a team of
    stylishly clad assassins, who give Martin the
    opportunity to strut-his-stuff.


    There’s plenty of action sequences ranging from
    nail-biting car chases to a whole mess of high-energy
    martial arts fight sequences. In fact, I never knew
    that spilled oil and a bicycle could be put to such
    great use. There are numerous close-quartered
    fighting sequences which take place in hallways
    and between parked busses. Throw together two
    individuals battling with wielding axes, a bopping
    soundtrack and snazzy, quick-cut editing and you
    have one of the best eye candy films to come around
    in a long time.

    How is the transfer?

    The Transporter nears demo quality in every
    aspect of its transfer. Reproduction is flawless
    with simply amazing image quality that boasts razor
    sharp images, fine details, vibrant colors, excellent
    contrast and deep black levels.


    In addition to being a highly pleasing visual
    experience, The Transporter contains one of
    the most impressive sound mixes to date. The Dolby
    Digital 5.1 track immerses the viewer in some highly
    kick-ass audio. Filled with outstanding fidelity
    and an impressive low end, this is a film that begs
    for volume! I can promise that most of you will
    be left dizzy by the barrage of effect noise that
    will hit you from every direction at any time. I
    don't think the rear channels ever had the
    opportunity to go silent during the course of this
    film. Saving the best for last, you'll be blown
    away by the LFE bass response to the film's highly
    energetic hip hop and R&B soundtrack. I'll repeat
    myself again -- PLAY IT LOUD!

    Special Features


    Fox has released The Transporter with both
    widescreen and full frame transfers
    on the same disc. Normally I wouldn't mind this
    practice, but it is being done on a dual-sided disc
    which causes an inconvenience in accessing the
    supplemental material.

    On the Widescreen side of the disc we have
    the following supplements....

    A full-length commentary by actor Jason
    Statham and producer Steve Chasman can be found
    on both sides/versions of this DVD. From listening
    to bits and pieces of the commentary I learned
    that the car chases were actually done in streets
    of France where such has never been allowed before.
    Jason did most of the driving on the narrow streets
    that were closed down for the day. Steve Chasman
    talks about the Transporter's home that was built
    from scratch on up at a beach in the south of France
    during off-season. I was surprised to hear that
    in addition to the dummy heads, real axes were used
    in some of the fight sequences. Jason did most
    of his own stunts in the film and he talks about
    much of what he did, while Chasman concentrates
    more on talking about his film locales and
    production details. The commentary is informative,
    but the delivery is a little dry.


    There are three extended fight sequences which
    when played back-to-back run just under 15 minutes.
    These are sequences that had to be removed due to
    MPAA concerns over its over-violent nature.

    Let's take a look at the features that appear on
    the full frame side....


    The making of featurette begins with a
    revelation -- when producer Steven Chasman approached
    Luc Besson about his idea for this film, Besson
    immediately pawned it off as a bad idea -- however --
    Besson promised to make the film if Chasman could
    secure Robert Kayman as a screenwriter. The rest,
    shall I say, is movie history. Through a translator,
    we hear director Cory Huen talk about his faith in
    having actor Jason Statham involved in the project
    and what it was like to work with a French crew. In
    fact, we learn that in addition to the mostly French
    crew, there was a separate Chinese crew as well as
    British and American actors. Fortunately, with
    all these diversified talents, things went rather
    smoothly. Later, we learn how Jason Statham went
    from selling perfume and jewelry on street corners
    to starring in his first film that demanded
    high-impact stunts. At this end of this featurette,
    we take a look at the making of the film's climatic
    oil-slick fight that was probably the most
    uncomfortable effort that Statham had to endure.
    (length: approx. 11.5 minutes)

    The film's original theatrical trailer is
    included here.

    Final Thoughts


    As much as I enjoyed The Transporter, the
    film certainly does not represent Besson's best
    effort. While the action is damn good, it lacks the
    charm and depth of films like The Professional
    and The Fifth Element.

    Still, I am so happy that I had the opportunity
    to watch this film, and in the process, have such
    a good time. I highly recommend this guilty pleasure
    to fans of mindless action movies and anyone that
    wants to test the limits of their home theater system.

    Don't miss this film!

    Release Date: April 15, 2003

    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. Tom Tsai

    Tom Tsai Supporting Actor

    Nov 13, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Great review...however, I was extremely disappointed in the movie when I went to see it. I had such anticipation at the time of its release. I think I'll pass and wait for it to be in the bargain bins.
  3. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

    Dec 19, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I went to see this expecting to see Statham kick some ass....he certainly and my friend both came out of the theater tellin people we were gonna "Transport em!" Cant wait to get this disc![​IMG]
  4. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

    Sep 13, 1999
    Likes Received:
    friggin' DS disc again.

    c'mon Fox, dual release (One Hour Photo etc.) or dual layer please.

  5. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

    Mar 15, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    John Williamson
    I can't wait to see and HEAR this one! I wanted to see this in theaters but missed the chance, I loved the trailer, especially when he kicks down the door, the film just looks cool. Besides I have a thing for asian hotties! [​IMG]

    how would you rate this film to say, The Replacement Killers? They look very similar and I loved 'TRK'
  6. EricW

    EricW Cinematographer

    Jan 1, 2001
    Likes Received:
    i liked this movie, but there wasn't enough fighting in it [​IMG]

    i'm a sucker for agressive sound mixes, so i think i will get this one afterall.

    as for comparing it to Replacement Killers, RK was mainly a gun movie. this one's all martial arts.
  7. Darren Haycock

    Darren Haycock Second Unit

    Nov 13, 2002
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    If the trailer has any likeness to the actual movie, I think I'm gonna have to buy this movie blind...[​IMG]
  8. Dean Kousoulas

    Dean Kousoulas Second Unit

    Jul 15, 2002
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    I missed this in the theaters and had no plans to see it until reading this review. It sounds like it's worth at least a rental. Thanks Ron.

  9. Dave Simpson

    Dave Simpson Second Unit

    Sep 18, 1999
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  10. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    I can't make this film a "highly recommended"
    title. As fun of a movie it is, it just falls
    short of being something that you should walk
    over hot coals to get your hands on.
  11. T r o y

    T r o y Supporting Actor

    Jun 7, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Nice review Ron! I'll be picking this title up. I love these types of stylish and quick editing action flicks.

    I really wonder why Fox didn't include a DTS track on this one?[​IMG] It looks like it would beg for one.

    Looking forward to this one!
  12. Ron_L

    Ron_L Second Unit

    Feb 21, 2002
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    the end sequence was hilarious, i laughed too hard at that.

    the ending is worth the price of the disc.
  13. Lars_J

    Lars_J Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 23, 2002
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    Ugh.... This is probably the worst movie I have seen in theaters for a long time. Avoid at all cost. It really is that bad.
  14. Derek Williams

    Derek Williams Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 16, 2001
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    I went into this movie expecting it to be 2 hours of or Ronin but its more of a Jet li film. Keep that in mind if you rent or buy.
  15. Elvie

    Elvie Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 1, 2002
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    Thanks Ron for doing this review [​IMG], confirms what I was hoping the movie was going to be since we missed it in theatres.

    Definately going to be rented in my house ... hubby and I both like action films and Jason Statham is good in these types of roles (like "The One" and "Snatch" among others).
  16. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

    Jul 30, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I really enjoyed this one as well. The 'Oil' fight was great!

    Definately will pick this up.

    Nice review Ron! [​IMG]
  17. Wes C

    Wes C Supporting Actor

    Jan 7, 2002
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    Thanks Ron!

    I love these movies - this will be a blind buy for me at some point in time.
  18. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

    Dec 29, 2001
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    The plot of this one was pretty weak, but it still an enjoyable flick simply because Jason Statham kicks major ass in this movie. I hope we're going to be seeing more from him in the future (though hopefully in movies with better plots).

    Even with the weak story, there's plenty to keep action fans interested, particularly the oil fight. I'll probably be picking this one up just because it delivered in the kick-ass quotient better than other recent action movies.
  19. Tom Tsai

    Tom Tsai Supporting Actor

    Nov 13, 2002
    Likes Received:
    If you're buying this based on the trailer, I think you might be quite disappointed...or maybe not. I personally suggest renting first.
  20. Matt Wallace

    Matt Wallace Second Unit

    Feb 20, 1999
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    Dual sided DVD's are the wave of the future, folks. No retailer and no studio enjoy the practice of seperate SKU's for dual releases and the replicators have jumped up their capacities to deliver dual side capabilities to oblige them these past 6 months.

    Looking forward to this movie based on this review. Thanks, Ron!


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