Friday, May 23, 2008

Random DVD Round-Up 1 - TRANSPORTER

I'm so intrigued by the idea that Louis Leterrier would be given THE INCREDIBLE HULK to direct, that I've been going back and re-watching his previous work. What is there to suggest that he'll be able to handle the sensitive emotional content of the Hulk story, or be able to take on a strong-minded actor like Ed Norton?

A week or so ago I watched TRANSPORTER 2 and was entertained by the mindless slick car chases and combat scenes. Of course, the dialogue and emotional content were laughable but there was something endearing about the fact that the film-makers weren't even aiming for quality. At least they gave us a lot of funny one-liners as compensation.

TRANSPORTER is the lesser film. It was a cheap action film still looking for the hook that would seal its style. Jason Statham's cool-as-a-cucumber no-questions-asked driver isn't quite as hard, rule-oriented or laconic as in the sequel. His damsel in distress can barely speak English and is pure eye-candy, whereas in 2 they try to up the emotional anti by giving her a kid. So we've gone from a quick shag to quasi-fatherhood. The baddies are pretty two-dimensional in both flicks. You get a hint of homo-eroticism in 1 when Wall Street touches our hero's gloved hand. In 2, once again, its higher stakes, with lots of buff body-building.

Ultimately these movies have to be judged on how slick the action is. TRANSPORTER has some cool chase scenes in some very choice cars, and you get a bit of the computer-game like action sequences. But there's nothing as stylised nor as imaginative as the sequel.

So, TRANSPORTER makes for a decent enough action flick - perfect for DVD and pizza night. It hinted it, but hadn't crystallised the camp comic potential of the sequel, or indeed the proposed threequel. What's more, cool action aside, there's no hint of whether Leterrier will be able to pull off the emotional depth of a BATMAN BEGINS when he reimagines HULK this summer.

TRANSPORTER was originally released in 2002 and is widely available on DVD.

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