Hippo Manchester
September 8, 2005

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The Transporter 2 (PG-13)
by Amy Diaz

Jason Statham drives the ass-kicking-est Audi ever in The Transporter 2, a movie about the coolness of both Statham and his car.

Alas, no greased Statham here — perhaps that little trick from the 2002 original left the MPAA overheated, breathless and asking for a cigarette. But we do get the occasional shirtless Statham — which is nice. A man of few facial expressions, Statham’s stocky hotness just gets better the more clothes he loses.

As with the first movie, Frank Martin (Statham) is an ex-Special Forces good-guy mercenary. An expert at martial arts and strong like bull, Martin’s particular skill is his ability to drive. He can do “fast,” he can do “evade police,” he can do “drive off building and land on adjacent building” — he’s a full-service driver.

When we catch up with him, he’s turned his talents toward driving in tamer circumstances — to and from the elementary school where Jack (Hunter Clary) is a student. His parents — the victimy Audrey (Amber Valletta) and drug-enforcement muckety muck Jackson Billings (Matthew Modine) — have hired Frank as a temporary driver for their son. Though Frank is a strictly business kind of guy, he develops an affection for Jack in part because that makes his angry-at-Jack’s-kidnapping more believable. Though personally, I think having Frank bested by a slutty psycho named Lola (Kate Nauta) and a braces-needing criminal named Gianni (Alessandro Gassman) is all the motivation we need to see Frank set off in a desperate search for the boy. Naturally, none of the nine million law enforcement types gathered at the Billings’ house have even the slightest idea of how to run the investigation and believe that Frank is the kidnapper. Luckily for Frank that the kidnapping coincides with a visit from his friend Tarconi (Francois Berleand), a French cop who can cook Madeleines, help with the investigation and provide comic relief.

Ultimately, however, the movie comes down to Statham and his car — both of which are shiny and sexy and highly watchable. Statham is never ruffled; the car, no matter how many times it is shot at or knocked about, seems impervious to dents.

And, honestly, there’s nothing wrong with this — a good shiny car/ hot guy/ big explosions movie is fun from time to time. That I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this movie comes not from any misstep by the creators with any element of this equation but from the fact that, after a while, all that driving and explosions got a little boring.

For The Transporter 3 how about we try a some more shirtless Statham to spice things up?