The Transporter

on October 11, 2002 by Tim Cogshell
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"The Transporter" is director/stunt choreographer Corey Yuen's English-language directorial debut. It is not his directorial debut. Indeed, Corey Yuen is a veteran of many Hong Kong classics, several Jet Li films among them. Like John Woo and a handful of other noted Hong Kong directors, Yuen's American debut is problematic. Where as Woo's "Hard Target" was ill-served by a meandering, talky, sentimental script--and the burden of Jean Claude Van Damme--"The Transporter" has almost no script at all. The movie is effectively one long, well-choreographed action chase sequence. It isn't very interesting, or for that matter, particularly coherent.

It does, however, have leading man Jason Statham ("Snatch" and "Mean Machine"). He's stoic and lethal. Part Bond and part Bronson with a taste of Bruce Lee, Frank (Statham) is a courier of note. He moves things from one place to another, always following the "single rule" of his profession--don't ask questions and don't look in the package. Which, by the way, are two rules, not one. In any case, what does he on this particular occasion do? He looks in the package. The film doesn't bother to explain why. Which is odd, considering what a big deal they make of the "don't look in the package" creed, and how Frank can be completely trusted not to look in the package. But he does, almost immediately and without much prompting. What his finds is a hot Asian girl (veteran Chinese actress Qi Shu) on her way, we suppose, to her demise. He decides to keep her. Action-oriented hijinks, including a well-staged oil fight, ensue.

Yuen certainly knows how to direct action. The story is another question. Neither he nor producer/screenwriter Luc Besson speak much English, which might account for abundant pyrotechnics covering up the lack of depth. Starring Jason Statham, Qi Shu, Matt Schulze, Francois Berleand, Ric Young, Doug Rand and Didier Saint Melin. Directed by Corey Yuen. Written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. Produced by Luc Besson, Steven Chasman and David Lai. A Fox release. Crime/Action. Rated PG-13 for violent sequences and some sensuality. Running time: 92 min

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