Thursday, October 20, 2005

TRANSPORTER 2: French Alternative To Bond

(action thriller)
GSC and TGV circuits
Time: 83 mins
Rating: * * ½

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LOWER your expectations and shift your mind into neutral gear, Frank Martin the Transporter is here! Jason Stratham is back as the ‘new and improved’ action hero — the ‘French’ alternative to Bond — created by writer-director Luc Besson.

Being just a driver for hire, Frank is not as suave and sophisticated as Agent Double-0-Seven but he ‘kicks ass’ better than the British spy, and performs stunts that border on the miraculous. He seldom smiles but when he makes a pronouncement — like, telling a little boy, “I’ll never let anyone hurt you”, we tend to believe him. And instead of high-tech toys, he has a change of clothes in his new Audi A8 (yes, they have dumped the BMW he used in the original).

In Chapter Two, Frank is hired to chauffeur Jack (Hunter Clary), son of a pharmaceuticals boss (Matthew Modine) to and from school in Miami, USA. Jack’s mother, Audrey Billings (Amber Valleta), is estranged from her husband and Frank tries his utmost to protect the boy from his parents’ rows.

Yes, our Transporter has a soft side to his tough demeanour and he has chosen to play Guardian Angel to the boy. Meanwhile, a bunch of crooks are planning to kidnap Jack at the dentist’s office — starting off a series of bizarre and ludicrous attempts to demand a US$5 million ransom and to infect the members of a drug conference with a deadly virus.

Of course, the plot and its idiotic twists and turns are just a platform for director Louis (Unleashed) Leterrier and scripter Besson to display their stunts which are more spectacular and mind-boggling than in the first movie. Never mind that the stunts border on the preposterous. Action fans would definitely lap them up.

Consider these: When Frank discovers a bomb on the undercarriage of his Audi, he races the car out of the garage, drives it up an incline and spins it around so that the bomb can be pulled off by a hook on a crane. Of course, the bomb explodes just before the car lands safely.
Another features Frank chasing a private jet in his car just as it is trying to take off — and getting inside the plane to confront the crook!

Yet another shows Frank leading a police pursuit up the ramps of a building’s car park, and then crashing his car through a wall — only to land safely after flying a few hundred metres through the air. Every Besson actioner has a cool villain and a femme fatale, and here Alessandro Gassman and Kate Nauta play the nasty Gianni and luscious Lola respectively.

Nauta is a more punky version of Besson’s former ‘Angel’ Milla Jovovich (Fifth Element) and she only has to look fetching toting big guns in lingerie and red stilettos. Leterrier is not fussy about acting. Yeah, with eye-candy shots and non-stop action, this sequel can leave you breathless. Just don’t bother to try and figure out what the plot is about.


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