HTF REVIEW: "The Transporter" (with screenshots)

Ronald Epstein

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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
 

Tom Tsai

Supporting Actor
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Messages
565
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.
 

Joshua_Y

Screenwriter
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Dec 19, 2002
Messages
1,241
I went to see this expecting to see Statham kick some ass....he certainly delivered...me and my friend both came out of the theater tellin people we were gonna "Transport em!" Cant wait to get this disc!
 

Yumbo

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Chris Caine
friggin' DS disc again.

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

thanks
 

Inspector Hammer!

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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!


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

EricW

Effects Supervisor
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i liked this movie, but there wasn't enough fighting in it

(sarcasm)

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.
 

Dean Kousoulas

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 15, 2002
Messages
332
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.

Dean
 

Ronald Epstein

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Ronald Epstein
Dave,

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.
 

T r o y

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 7, 1999
Messages
649
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?
It looks like it would beg for one.

Looking forward to this one!
 

Ron_L

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 21, 2002
Messages
273
the end sequence was hilarious, i laughed too hard at that.

the ending is worth the price of the disc.
 

Lars_J

Stunt Coordinator
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Oct 23, 2002
Messages
200
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.
 

Elvie

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 1, 2002
Messages
55
Thanks Ron for doing this review
, 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).
 

Jason Harbaugh

Effects Supervisor
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Jul 30, 2001
Messages
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I really enjoyed this one as well. The 'Oil' fight was great!

Definately will pick this up.

Nice review Ron!
 

Wes C

Supporting Actor
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Jan 7, 2002
Messages
709
Thanks Ron!

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

Jeff Kohn

Supporting Actor
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Dec 29, 2001
Messages
680
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.
 

Tom Tsai

Supporting Actor
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Messages
565
If you're buying this based on the trailer, I think you might be quite disappointed...or maybe not. I personally suggest renting first.
 

Matt Wallace

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 20, 1999
Messages
400
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!

Matt
 

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