The Transporter makes action magic

John Hult

John Hult

Pure acton magic is what happens when you mix one brilliant French action auteur, one storied Hong Kong fight choreographer and one stone-faced Brit.

Snatch alum Jason Stratham plays the title role in Hong Kong director/martial arts designer Corey Yuen’s English-language directorial debut The Transporter.

La Femme Nikita director Luc Besson leaves fingerprints all over this tale of an anal retentive “transporter” whose life goes from acutely controlled to completely chaotic when he breaks his own rules and opens one of the packages before delivering it.

The package, he learns, is full of a beautiful young woman, played by Qi Shu in her largest role on this side of the Pacific.

Trouble insues when the sly devil who collects the package figures out that it was opened. Guns are drawn. Things blow up. People get kicked in the face.

Stratham?who looks a lot like what Vin Diesel would look like if Vin Diesel looked literate?does a bang-up job knocking heads together, catching pistols in slow-motion, and otherwise looking like a super-composed badass.

Matt Schulz is the standout, however, stealing nearly every scene he’s in as eccentric bad guy Wall Street.

Yuen uses a taut, even treatment to cover the holes in Besson’s often witless script. If you think the getaway car is going to swerve across the railroad tracks just in time to avoid a wreck and leave the cops behind, you’re probably right. You probably won’t roll your eyes, either.

Thankfully, no one stops to pat himself on the back for his/her accomplishments.

The juxtapostion Besson’s snappy scene construction and Yuen’s rapid-fire choreography revves the engine a bit hard at times, sometimes getting a bit confusing.

The delicate pacing required to direct a good action scene is botched in the final sequence, when so many things happen so quickly that to blink could mean missing a grand moment.

Until that point, however the foibles in balance are too short-lived to be bothersome.

If you need a sensible plot, you’ll have to ring another doorbell. Even when it does make sense, it doesn’t make a lot of it.

The Transporter doesn’t need a plot. A plot would only slow it down and make it less appealing.

3.5 stars (out of five)