The Transporter (2002) – Jason Statham

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.