TRANSPORTER 2 Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Year: 2005 Film Length: 87 minutes Genre: Action Aspect Ratio: [*] SIDE A: 2.35:1 enhanced widescreen[*] SIDE B: 1.33:1 full screen Colour/B&W: Colour Audio:[*] English 5.1 Surround [*]Spanish & French 2.0 Surround Subtitles: English & Spanish Film Rating: PG-13 Release Date: January 10, 2006. 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. Jason Statham reprises his role as the driver Frank Martin in the sequel to the highly successful film The Transporter. In that film, also written by Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element), Statham plays an ex-agent who delivers dangerous goods and works only by his own rules. It had character, it had flair, and it had man-to-man hand fighting scenes that were slick in style and are 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. Several Russians are also involved and are the exact opposite of Lola - they have more fear than wit and bravery and pose little threat to Frank. Frank gets between the plans of the kidnapper to disrupt South American politics by affecting the world in a sickly way: disease. Oddly enough, the long-term cure is in the kidnapper. The short term cure is for Frank to bust his plan. 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 / This is an oddly coloured film that is stylized (I imagine) to give the impression of sunset skies. But all colours are tinted a nasty looking yellow-green making everyone look like they’ve had food poisoning and are on the verge of being sick. Because of the obvious alteration of the image, I have to dock off half a star because it doesn’t look as three-dimensional as other discs have when using our 480p system. At least the image is clean from compression artefacts and edge enhancement. Grain is occasionally apparent, but in minute amounts. Honestly, this looks more intentional if anything so don’t be bothered by it. The aspect ratio is 2.35:1 and it is enhanced for widescreen televisions. A pan & scan version is available on the other side of the disc for those of you who want to miss out on about 43% of the action. AUDIO QUALITY / This is another LOUD soundtrack that will please many and deafen others. Encoded in 5.1 Dolby Digital, this is clearly a soundtrack designed for movie theatre playback rather than optimized for home theatres. 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 is immersive but very front-soundstage heavy in terms of keeping the viewers attention on the screen. The surround channels are almost equally as active but they never draw attention to themselves. Instead, they 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. Even though this soundtrack was loud when listening to it at a 75dB reference level, was it fun at least? Hell yeah!! While completely unrealistic, BASS is overused. While I can understand its necessary for large theatres in order to give some body to the sound in such a huge venue, in the home theatre its nuts! When my pants are shaking because of the amount of air being moved in my theatre I know it’s heavy. For explosions and pulsating sounds for music and mood – that’s all good. But when the sounds of people being punched and kicked as well as the sound of them hitting the ground are accompanied by load of bass it gets to be a little much. Yet, many of you will have loads of fun with this soundtrack because of it. 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. But at the same time I would prefer to have a home theatre optimized soundtrack too. Dialogue seemed decently integrated and the soundtrack was a little on the sparkly side in terms of treble. Music seems well recorded and expands far to the sides of the listener. SPECIAL FEATURES / Count fourteen deleted/extended scenes and a running time of just over 20 minutes. These scenes don’t add much to the film. Some are slightly character building or extended conversations, and one of them also answers what happened to a character nearing the end of the film. I can’t say that adding any of these would make the film better. In fact, they probably would have just slowed it down. These scenes are in widescreen 2.35:1 and they haven’t been coloured like the rest of the finished film has been. The audio is somewhat finished and like the first Transporter film’s deleted scenes section, there is running music in the background. Also on this release (on side 2) is a blooper reel, a making of Transporter 2 featurette, and a making of the music featurette. I was unable to view these because my screener had the widescreen side only. IN THE END… While not as colourful and entertaining as The Transporter, Transporter 2 carries on the adventures of the driver and guarantees action. It’s got a good picture and a killer soundtrack and should be a must-see for you liking this genre of film. Check it out. Michael Osadciw January 2, 2006.