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The Transporter (2002)

Rules are made to be broken

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 88 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


Jason Statham stars as ex-Special Forces operative Frank Martin. Frank is an apparently ordinary man who lives on his military pension in a house on the Mediterranean coast, keeping himself to himself. However, Frank leads a secret life being a 'transporter' – a mercenary who hires himself out to move packages and passengers from place to place no questions asked. Frank lives by his three rules – never change the deal, no names, and never look in the package – which keeps him out of trouble and, along with his ability to get the job done, contributes to his reputation. Frank's neat life starts to come apart when he agrees to transport a package, a job no different from any other, for an American called Darren Bettencourt (Matt Schulze).

On this occasion, he suffers a flat tyre along the way, which marks the start of his problems. While getting out the spare, he discovers that the package in the boot of the car is moving. Although he resists at first, eventually he breaks one of his rules to look inside the package and give the girl he finds there a drink. He does however complete his task, delivering Lai (Shu Qi) to her destination. When he arrives, he is immediately commissioned to take on another transportation job and given a briefcase to deliver. Unfortunately, the case contains a bomb, and it is only by good fortune that Frank is away from his car buying a drink when it explodes. This attack makes things personal so Frank returns looking for Bettencourt, which will throw him and Lai together once more. Finally he will learn why the stakes are so high.

As action films go, this has much to recommend it. The car chases are slick and exciting, and benefit from crisp editing. The fight scenes are outstanding, although the necessary cuts do take some of the rhythm and flow from these. British actor Jason Statham is the most notable cast member, who demonstrates that he has great potential to be an action star. Although the idea of a transporter is an intriguing one, sadly the possibilities are not fully explored in the rather flimsy plot. None of the characters are given much depth in the screenplay, and certainly Frank's motivations could have been examined more fully. That being said, the film is typical of many action movies in its weaknesses but provides plenty of entertainment as long as one doesn't think about it too much.

It's Got: Great fights and chases.

It Needs: More depth to the characters and plot.

DVD Extras The extended fight scenes can be watched with commentary and are particularly interesting. Extras: Commentary by actor Jason Statham and producer Steven Chasman, Extended fight sequences, Making of. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10


Flawed but exciting actioner with particularly outstanding car chase and fight sequences.