Transporter 3 (2008) – Jason Statham

7.5/10 — Maybe slightly downhill again from Transporter 2, but still a decent movie. Quite one dimensional in plot and lacking strong cast members aside from Jason Statham (The Transporter) and François Berléand (Inspector Tarconi). But there was a fair amount of the action we came for.

Robert Knepper did a decent job as the main antagonist in this movie even though he had very little plot to work with – aside from the final fight scene he scarcely did anything but make a few phone calls.

Natalya Rudakova was given plenty of screen time as the lead female in this movie. She played the kidnapped daughter of a politician, accompanying Jason throughout his journey. Her style may be pleasing to some, but for me it was quite basic and underwhelming. Horses for courses I guess.

Continued…

Transporter 2 (2005) – Jason Statham

7.5/10 — Straight into the good stuff that we know & love from Transporter 1, this movie begins with Jason Statham in his element with a fancy car and a gang of thugs trying to steal it.

It then proceeds with Jason playing difficult cryptic word games with an energetic young child – something only a disengaged nerdy adult in Hollywood could come up with – probably an attempt to build plot and characters but it’s very unrealistic not to mention incredibly boring for this genre – sack the guy who dragged that bit out. It should have been a much shorter feature and/or much easier and more fun.

François Berléand rejoins us as Inspector Tarconi – this is one of the best things about this movie. This time he’s on vacation, gets raided by a swat team for his association with Frank Martin (Jason Statham’s character) then discretely helps him out via the FBI database.

Good to see Shannon ‘the Cannon’ Briggs given a minor role – Let’s Go Champ! – for those who don’t know, he still holds the record for the most round 1 knockouts in professional heavyweight boxing till this day.

Jason Flemyng did very well as Dimitri the scientist.

Kate Nauta performed well as an over-sexualised LGBT type baddie with guns – not to my taste but she put her heart into it – credit where it’s due.

Amber Valletta put in a bog standard performance as an anaemic-looking lead female character with whom Jason’s character was almost intimate.

Plot was a bit one dimensional to say the least – clearly pushing a theme of contagions and injectable cures. Nice shiny vials. Poor scene building. Filthy motives.

Still, there’s plenty of well made car chases and combat scenes to give us what we came for. With a more present & fertile lead female character worthy of credible romance, and a more creative and less malintended plot than the one we’ve got, and one or two better adversaries (or more character-building & screentime given to the better actors already cast here) this movie could have been about as successful as Transporter 1, but as it stands, it’s markedly inferior but not massively so. I give Transporter 2 a decent 7.5/10 rating. Best watched in close succession with the first and third movies.

The Transporter (2002) – Jason Statham

Jason Statham carrying Shu Qi in The Transporter (2002)

8/10 — Jason Statham has been involved in a lot of good action movies in recent decades, and this is easily one of his best movies. This is where he really made his name in the big time – prior to this movie he had only supporting roles such as in The One (2001) with Jet Li, and a couple of movies with Vinnie Jones. The Transporter was such a hit, it had multiple sequels, each one being not quite as good as the one before (like most sequels are). Owing to his on screen charisma and martial arts ability, Statham went on to secure the lead role in many other decent action movies (especially after he proved himself yet again in Transporter 2), and has since teamed up with many other stars too (including being a key figure in all of The Expendables movies, and joining the Fast & Furious movie saga from number 6 with a minor appearance and number 7 as a key cast member).

The Transporter basically tells the story of a man who is a very good driver and gets hired to confidentially drive packages around. He conducts himself with great precision and pretty much always gets the job done, in style.

Shu Qi (of Gorgeous (1999) and Chinese Zodiac (2012) with Jackie Chan) does well as the lead female, especially early on – the chemistry between her and Statham is believable – and François Berléand puts in an outstanding performance as the senior police investigator who is cordially acquainted with The Transporter – very much respecting him, while also investigating him.

The Transporter is a fast paced action flick with good budget and just the right amount of downtime for the likes of romance and banter, at least in the beginning and middle. The action scene at the end is overly drawn out and in dire need of additional plot to continue the level of quality that the movie began with – this makes it a bit boring and very skippable for frequent rewatchers. Still, for the most part, it’s a masterpiece of a movie, if a bit one dimensional near the end. It could probably have edged into a 9/10 rating if it were more serious about the plot in places, especially towards the end, and had stronger villain characters. So I give it a well deserved 8, and concede that it’s probably an 8.5 or 9 for first time viewers. Well worth watching and rewatching every few years. Enjoy the whole series sequentially, or just watch the first 2 or 3. Jason wasn’t interested in the 4th so another actor took that role, but rumour says Jason is coming back for the 5th in 2025.

The One (2001) – Jet Li and Jason Statham

7.5/10 — The One is a pretty cool Jet Li classic. It’s a simple but pleasant sci-fi packed with kung fu by Jet Li. There’s some energetic solo demonstrations of Xing Yi and Ba Gua to enjoy, plus the usual fast-paced choreography. Jason Statham has a decent supporting role.

The main hero and the main villain are both played by Jet Li (they came from different universes). The villain is trying to kill the good guy in order to gain his power. He’s already killed 123 other versions, making the remaining 2 versions of Jet Li very powerful as they’ve automatically absorbed the speed & strength of those who died (power is split between survivors). The bad guy is trying to kill the good guy now, to become the last remaining one, at which point the universe could explode or the remaining one could ‘become a god’ they say.