Holy Crap, He Beat Those Guys Up With A Firehose
2002's The Transporter is one of the most profoundly stupid movies I've ever seen.
Don't get me wrong. Jason Statham, who delivered some of my favorite movie dialogue ever in Guy Ritchie's Snatch, makes a great action hero, and Cory Yuen's fight scenes are, as always, clever, innovative, and pure joy to watch. Unfortunately, it stands out even among action movies as having a terrible plot. Strange, considering it was written by Luc Besson, who also wrote Leon: The Professional, one of the best action movies ever made. He also, according to the Internet Movie Database was the uncredited executive producer of another one of my favorite action movies, Ong Bak.
Unlike Ong Bak, though, where the plot just lays there while Tony Jaa does one awesome thing after another, the plot of The Transporter adamantly refuses to make sense, and seems to go out of its way to hinder the movie. Essentially what happens is this: Jason Statham, as Frank, is really good at driving a car and likes to take his shirt off. A lot. He also gets good and oiled up at one point while several men try to grab him, but it ends up being a lot less gay than it sounds.
He also kisses this dude underwater, but if you just saw it in context, it's not nearly...
Let's just move on, shall we?
There's also some hot girl (see?) whose father was sold into slavery, but actually wasn't, an evil guy with a goofy mustache that I seem to remember owning a boat for some reason. It's all really muddled and incomprehensible, and if you spend any length of time thinking about it, the plot completely implodes, taking the rest of the movie with it.
The sequel's even better.
No, seriously. It's awesome.
Everything that was bad about the first one was incredibly enjoyable in this one. Although he didn't direct it, Corey Yuen did the fight choreography for Transporter 2, and the action scenes are just incredible. A few weeks back, Warren Ellis posted a link to the scene where Statham fights a bunch of guys using a firehose that I could watch all day.
The plot's another one that I suspect Besson pulled out of his Dead Ideas File, since large portions of it don't make sense. If there's one thing that guy's good at, though, it's writing an action movie where a child is placed in mortal danger by machinations beyond his/her control, and he delivers that in spades. Other key features involve a heavily accented foreign mastermind and a crazy girl. You can tell she's crazy because she wears way too much eye makeup and wanders around in her underwear shooting people. Also, she pretty much says "I'm crazy!" every three minutes when she's onscreen. The evil plot approaches "microwave emitter" levels of stupidity, but rather than holding the movie back, it allows for some great stunt scenes. When Frank has to get the bomb off of his car, I was clapping my hands with sheer giddiness.
It's beautiful. It may just be the most perfect action movie since Hard Boiled.
Oddly enough, Statham never takes his shirt off in this one. However, the villains do nothing but lounge around shirtless. The whole thing makes me wonder if there's some weird symbolism to it that I'm just not getting. But then again, this is a movie where there's a car chase, an explosion, and a man dangling from a plane at the same time. I'm pretty sure they checked symbolism at the door.