It seems that every action movie that is being released out of Hollywood nowadays always has to feature out of this world stunts that no real human could ever do. Now this is not necessarily bad if the action is done in correspondence to the film in a skillful manner. When the original Transporter was released onto DVD, it quickly gained a reputation through many action fans that caused the film’s sales to skyrocket. The sales skyrocketed so high that Twentieth Century Fox quickly greenlit the sequel to a film…they had no interest in making a sequel to after the rather poor theatrical performance.
Quickly recapping the first film for those of you have not seen it. The Transporter starred actor Jason Statham (Cellular) as Frank Martin a.k.a The Transporter, a man who would transport anything at a price. He had three rules if you wanted to hire him. 1. Never change the deal. 2. No Names. 3. Never look in the package. Martin is hired to deliver a large duffel bag. The bag tends to complain and squirm. The bag contains a Chinese woman named Lai. Martin cuts a hole in the tape over her mouth, thus violating his third rule of never looking in the bag. What occurs next is a movie that tends to have too much action at some point that it brings the film to a near dead standstill.
As you can tell from the brief synopsis above, I was not totally enthralled by the original Transporter The film had action, a lot of it. So much of it that it got tiresome toward the end of the film as we could figure out what was going to occur in each scene. When I was given the chance to grab the sequel to the film from work early, I decided to give the film a chance as it was rumored that the film had better action scenes and more of a plot. I can successfully confirm that the sequel is better than the first film. Much better!
We meet Frank Martin again, this time in Miami. He has been helping a friend by filing in for a month as the driver and bodyguard for a child named Jack (Hunter Clary), whose father Jackson (Matthew Modine) heads the United States Narcotics Agency. The child is kidnapped in a scheme involving a fake doctor. The child is given a ransom that is delivered by never picked up and the child is quickly returned unharmed. Or so it seems. The main reason this film succeeds so much more than the first is simply because the second film has much more of an ingenious plot that continues to create surprises well into the third act of the film. This is not a rehash of the original film where the good guy chases the bad guys and eventually is victorious. It is more of a slier film with a trickier plot than most would expect.
Even though some of the action scenes are extremely out of this world to a point where you can’t help but laugh (for example: Zooming off a ramp to dislodge a bomb, crashing through a car garage and not damaging the Audi), the film works in creating that atmosphere we expect from action films. The action scenes are effective for the most part because they are well done. Veteran Luc Besson made sure that every action scene tried to top the scenes in the previous film, but in a manner that would come off as original but also as pure fun. Besson definitely succeeded in that aspect as The Transporter 2 is a pure popcorn blast of a time that is far better than the original.
The Transporter 2 is presented in a gorgeous 2:35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are deep, everything looks sharp, clear, and natural with nearly zero instances of dirt or any blemishes on the screen. The transfer shows little to no print damage from the theatrical version. In short, this is a fabulous transfer. A 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio can be found on the flip side of this disc.
The Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound is almost as good as the picture. We get all the surround speakers picking up all the little noises like the screeching tires, the blazing bullets, the loud voices, and the zooming cars. The bass comes off as with very deep noise which includes the subwoofer constantly booming to each explosion. Check out the scene with the Porsche for a good reference.
For a movie that was more popular than its predecessor, I expected a bit more in the special feature area. This only makes me wonder if Fox is going to re-release this film with a lavish edition sometime down the road similar to the first film.
- Making of Transporter 2: Here we given the making of the film that mostly covers how a majority of the stunts were accomplished. Other topics include how the film came to be, the subject plot, and the idea to take the action scenes further. Writer Luc Besson, who was also the producer of nearly all of the action scenes, speaks to us on some of the trickier scenes, most particularly the scene where Frank rides up a ramp. I don’t want to cover too much more here as it would be giving away a lot of the key action scenes in the film. Definitely a worthy watch if you enjoyed the film as much as I did.
- ”Off The Record” Shooting: Here we get a feature similar to the Making of the film only it covers more of the overall story of the film not focusing as much on the stunts as the Making did.
- Extended Fight Sequences: Here we get a few extended fight scenes including the ‘hose’ fight toward the end of the film. The original ‘hose’ fight was highly entertaining and original to watch and this extended fight as just that much more to the scene. We also get a quick extension to the final fight between Martin and Gianni (NOTE: This was on the R2 release but I found out today (1/03/06) that it may not be included in the final R1 release). A few extensions definitely add more to the scenes as the fights are highly entertaining and completely out of this world.
- Deleted Scenes: Here we get nine extended scenes and five deleted scenes. The scenes are: The Virus – Extended Scene, The Kiss – Extended Scene, Doctor Tyberg – Deleted Scene, Rent-A-Cops – Deleted Scene, Audi Chase [Full] – Extended Scene, Audrey Breaks Down – Extended Scene, The Ransom – Deleted Scene, Chez Dimitri – Extended Scene, Max Fight, Russian Lab – Extended Scene, Max is Dead – Deleted Scene, Sonovitch is Dead – Deleted Scene, Garage Fight [Full] – Extended Scene, Gunfight With Lola – Extended Scene. Overall, the scenes don’t really add that much to the story. A majority of the scenes are extended fight scenes, which was definitely cool since that is what the film is marketed on. The extra deleted scenes add minimal story at best, which is a shame as I was hoping for more back-story. Overall, the scenes are pretty good.
- X-3 Look 2: Here we get a second look at the upcoming sequel X-Men 3. All this preview does it make this movie look even more interesting with it showing us some more of the concepts of the film. Is it May yet?
- Trailer: Here we get the theatrical trailer to the film.
Transporter 2 is one of those films that you throw in one night when you want to just have a good time. The DVD version boasts an incredible transfer and a nearly flawless audio track. The film takes the standard kidnapping plot and twists it creating many surprises and many awesome action scenes that definitely give the viewer the action they are looking for. A recommended purchase for those who enjoyed the film and for those who want a good old action film that is not too dumb-downed.
Special Features List
- Inside Look
- Deleted Scenes
- Extended Fight Sequences
- “Off the Record” Shooting
- Making of Transporter 2
- Eragon & Night Watch trailers
- X-3 (version 2)