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Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is the best as what he does: transporting dangerous or illegal goods with no questions asked. But his last shipment, a beautiful young woman kidnapped by international slave traders, brings deadly complications to his delivery plans. Now Frank must kick into overdrive in a nonstop action-packed fight to save his precious cargo - and his life.
For more about The Transporter and the The Transporter Blu-ray release, see the The Transporter Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 29, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Directors: Corey Yuen, Louis Leterrier
Writers: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Jason Statham, Shu Qi, François Berléand, Matt Schulze, Ric Young, Didier Saint Melin
» See full cast & crew
The Transporter Blu-ray Review
This fun, fast-paced action romp is worth adding to your Blu-ray collection.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 29, 2008
The deal is the deal. Rule number one.
The Transporter has "generic action movie" written all over it. In a way, it is, but its cartoonish-feel adds a bit of charm to this 21st century "knight in shining armor" tale. In the film that arguably made him a household name an up-and-coming action star in the United States (his first two major roles were in the Guy Ritchie directed British hits Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch), Jason Statham (The Bank Job) proves he's worthy of the label "action star," carrying himself like one, performing many of his own stunts, and bringing a charisma and presence to the screen matched only be a few other action stars working today (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson comes to mind). The Transporter is certainly not the best action movie of the decade, but it might just have the best pace of any, each and every frame exploding with first-rate action, stunts, or Statham delivering a fine performance that sets up the action when he isn't shooting, punching, or kicking his way through bad guys.
Frank Martin (Statham), is a man whose credentials include ex-special forces operative and reliable transporter of goods. He's methodical and calculating, his methods precise and infallible, all demonstrated during a high-speed pursuit where Martin drives a getaway car for four criminals (make that three, actually. He didn't calculate for four, but did he calculate for the blood and brain matter left over from the extra man? Apparently he has a slight margin for error). His next job involves the transportation of a large package, one that he finds moving when he stops to change a flat tire. Sticking by his rules (never open the package), he moves on, but curiosity gets the best of him and during his next stop, opens the bag to find inside it a girl named Lai (Taiwanese actress Shu Qi). Freeing her of her binds to take a drink and go to the bathroom, she briefly escapes, but a frustrated Martin re-captures and delivers her to a man known as "Wall Street" (Matt Schulze, Mr. Brooks). Martin agrees to another delivery for "Wall Street," but unbeknownst to Martin, the package contains a bomb meant to kill him. He's saved only by fate and returns for revenge and finds Lai in his car after he's done his damage. Lai informs Martin that "Wall Street" is set to smuggle dozens of people into the country via cargo containers, members of her family included. Martin agrees to help, exacting his revenge along the way.
The Transporter is a rather funny movie, one that follows every convention in the book. When Martin first lays eyes on his "cargo," a truly sappy, 90s-inspired romantic ballad theme rises to the occasion, and I couldn't help but to laugh at the ridiculousness the music added to the scene. Parts of the movie feel almost like a violent cartoon come to life, and for this material, that strategy works to great effect. So much of what we see is far over-the-top and unrealistic, but the movie was made for the sole purpose of showing off some fantastic stunts, and the lack of realism combined with some lighthearted music (I especially enjoyed the beat over the first confrontation in chapter 11) set just the right tone for the film. Directors Corey Yuen and Louis Leterrier have nailed the look and feel of a real-life cartoon, creating a movie that isn't necessarily "good" but a perfect example of ridiculous violence brought to life. It's not over-the-top like Shoot 'Em Up, which is the definitive true-life violent cartoon movie, but this one is in the same league, simply toned down a bit for its PG-13 rating. The lack of excessive blood and language isn't a detriment to the story. Rather, it adds to the feel of the ridiculousness of the plot and action, everything being almost what we would expect to see if The Transporter was indeed a Saturday morning cartoon. What makes it all work, unlike what we see in Transporter 2, is that the plot is concise and simple. We instantly form a bond with the characters, cheer for them, and care about the outcome of the movie rather than waiting in boredom for the next explosion or fistfight.
Jason Statham is excellent in his role. The methodical way he goes about his business, his cool attitude under pressure (even with a gun to his head), and the precision with which he performs his tasks ("Transportation is a precise business," after all) is a credit to Statham's ability as an actor to work in projects such as this one. He'll probably never win an Oscar, but he's very good in the right role, and this is definitely the right role for him. Co-written by Luc Besson (director of The Professional and The Fifth Element) and Robert Mark Kamen (The Karate Kid, Gladiator), the film has an instant credibility and aura to it, and for the most part, the end product doesn't disappoint. These writers have penned a story tailor-made for action audiences and have left no stone unturned in setting the foundation for a film that solidified Jason Statham as an action star.
The Transporter Blu-ray, Video Quality
Another early Fox release with MPEG-2 video, The Transporter nevertheless looks very good. This 1080p, 2.35:1 framed transfer is not quite as sharp and detailed as we've come to expect from the best releases, but it is one that is mostly impressive nevertheless. Some long distance shots suffer a bit from a smudgy appearances, but the close-ups fare rather well, exhibiting some wonderful detail in faces, clothing, and surfaces. Medium-distance shots are average. Flesh tones are a bit red but never stand out as a major issue. The print is mostly free of dirt and debris, though the rare scratch does pop up. Colors are not vibrant but rather natural, some of the shots outside of Martin's house look fantastic. The rich color of the exterior of his home, as well as that of the water and the green of the trees surrounding it are breathtakingly beautiful, the location pretty enough to be a tourist attraction wherever it is (the film was shot in various locations around France). The action visuals are fantastic, the tracer rounds seen in some of the action sequences add a bit of flair and excitement to the film (and they look great, too). Black levels are strong, and the movie never exhibits excessive film grain. The Transporter is a strong early release from Fox, a studio I believe to be one of the best in the Blu-ray business in terms of picture quality.
The Transporter Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Fox's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless sound mix for The Transporter fits the action movie bill to perfection. It's loud, aggressive, and a blast to listen to. The film's opening car chase sequence will blow you away with excellent dynamics, directionality, fidelity, and imaging (qualities present throughout the entirety of the track). The pulsating beats of the music, the revving of the engine, and the destruction wrought along the way comes to life in your media room, and for good measure, the subwoofer will pound your eardrums on several occasions. Keep in mind this is all describing the film's opening minutes; listeners are in for a major treat the rest of the way. This is a high-quality audio presentation befitting what you'd expect to hear at a top-notch theater. The rear channels receive quite the workout in nearly every scene, be it light ambient sounds or the heavy pounding of gunshots and explosions. The movie's first major action sequence, about thirty minutes in, is a parade of violent and toe-tapping sounds. A slick hip-hop beat, bullets, axes slammed into walls, screams, and other assorted effects work their way into every speaker. All of the shootouts are fantastically reproduced as rounds impact surfaces, shell casings drop onto the floor, and shots are heard flying through every channel. Dialogue is a bit bass-y (I could feel it reverberating ever so slightly through my feet at times) but it sounds fine. Punches, kicks, and throws are not only heard but also felt with a magnificently over-the-top thump. This track is never boring. The film relies heavily on its soundtrack, and this lossless presentation from Fox adds another dimension to the film and makes the experience of watching The Transporter in high definition all the more entertaining.
The Transporter Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Transporter breaks one of rules of Blu-ray by failing to provide much in the way of supplemental materials. The highlight is a feature-length commentary track with actor Jason Statham and producer Steven Chasman. This is a fairly average informational track, but above average in feel thanks to the participation of Statham. Some nice tidbits about places and things are tossed into the discussion, but nothing of major relevance. A bit of dead air plagues the track, but Statham manages to entertain, bringing an easygoing attitude to his comments ("his brains actually went all over the windshield but they cut that shot"). He definitely dominates the track, his demeanor depicted here so unlike many of the characters he's portrayed in his films. This track is definitely a recommended listen for both Statham and Transporter fans. Nine 1080p trailers conclude the extras. The films previewed on this disc are The Transporter, Transporter 2, Planet of the Apes, Phone Booth, Behind Enemy Lines, Kiss of the Dragon, Speed, Fantastic Four, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
The Transporter Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Transporter is an entertaining popcorn action movie that's safe for audiences not quite ready for the likes of Shoot 'Em Up or Rambo. Its action is first-rate and exciting but lacks the goriness of some of the more excessively violent action movies of the past few years. Jason Statham turns in a fine performance, his acting ability well-suited to movies of this style. 20th Century Fox, one of the leaders in providing high-quality Blu-ray content, has once again delivered a disc with a fine video transfer and exceptional audio quality. Unfortunately, this release lacks a plethora of special features, the only downside of this disc. Nevertheless, those simply looking for a high-quality video and audio transfer for The Transporter need look no further. Recommended for action movie lovers and Blu-ray fans who aren't concerned with receiving a wealth of special features on their Blu-ray discs.
The Transporter: Other Editions
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