Movie Spoiler: Transporter n
The Textbook Definition of Insanity
Mathematicians use the letter n to represent an integer that may assume a range of values. Jason Staham deployed his wooden mien throughout three Transporter-themed movies: this review addresses the complete series of cinematic bowel movements.
Abrogating the laws of physics and plot points, Statham introduces and reprises his role as a Highly-Trained Ex-Government Operative With Deeply Suppressed Anger/Sadness/Annoyance Issues who plays by his own rules. We can only assume he was doubled-crossed or set-up or abandoned by the country he loved so deeply and served so well. All n Transporter movies are too chock-a-block with fighting and driving to provide any back-story reasons to empathize with tortured Frank Martin. For whatever reason, deep into his twisted psyche he has shoved his painful past and his facial expressions.
The plot is easy
Frank Martin picks up stuff and transports it in his car. More precisely, he transports in a car because his car recently exploded. After his car explodes he promptly acquires another vehicle from the general population.
We're not talking about transporting nuclear waste or even the prerequisite of a Commercial Driver's License. He meets you in a public place to negotiate. There's no paperwork. He comes to your house and gets your package. He doesn't have a flat bed or even a van. He doesn't do wide loads or reefers. Surely he holds a rather comprehensive insurance policy, but that subplot is not explored properly.
For a single transport, he commands well into four figures. One wonders how Frank Martin stumbled into this cash machine. Perhaps he became addicted to long drives in the country after being drummed out of the Spy Business for accumulating too many speeding tickets. Perhaps he found himself stuck in traffic behind a UPS truck.
Don't ask him for a ride
Frank Martin loves to drive, and it shows.He rolls in a blacked-out European luxury sedan. When that explodes, he appropriates whatever blacked-out European luxury sedan is nearby. You, as a sentient human, would sooner delete the Uber app from your smartphone rather than linger on the corner waiting for him to pick you up as a phalanx of evil one-dimensional villains burns in his wake. Transporter films provide cogent arguments for public transportation.
Sadly, other careers were also ruined
Martin's nemesis is acted out by François Berléand. Inspector Tarconi channels every bumblingly shrewd TV cop since 1960. He knows Martin is transporting, but he is far too European to actually look for clues. He hangs out with Martin. They bandy banalities. He eventually vacations with the guy as Transporter 2 moves to Miami Beach, probably because French Good Taste Laws were violated in the making of Transporter 1.
Regardless of plot contrivances, Inspector Tarconi wields his french accent, his computer hacking skills, his numbing coolness, and his social engineering talents to support ex-agent Martin on both sides of the pond. The two men become buddies out of necessity because Martin kills everyone else.
A Million Boring Ways to Die
Martin relentlessly eliminates henchmen sufficiently respectful to attack him in single-file. A repeating theme in all Transporter movies is the thought process required to commit murder in self-defense.
Martin finds himself surrounded by dudes with axes, steel pipes, knives, and evil intentions. The camera settles on a seemingly harmless household item such as paint can. A quick jump-cut to Martin deeply pondering the paint can precedes a nameless brainless bad guy stopping the can with his head. Do not, dear reader, jump to the conclusion that Martin merely swings the paint can. Instead, he executes a flying reverse scissor kick into a garden hose which lassos the paint can and arcs it into the aforementioned forehead. All this takes place with oodles of bad guys patiently waiting for their opportunity at personalized pain.
There are Bad Guys directly out of Central Casting.
No one in a Transporter movie is blameless. There are no innocents. Everyone lies, cheats, and manipulates to get what they want.
Villains are a panoply of diversity:
- A lying manipulative Asian woman,
- a judo-chopping black-hearted Colombian who targets children,
- a sub-human cliche of a girlfriend/sidekick who relates to strangers by shooting them,
- and a raft of sneering eastern Europeans living off Daddy's money.
It's a United Nations of psychotics.
Good luck identifying with any character. Leave your empathy in your other car: you won't be needing it.
Stick an ice pick in your DVD player. Go outside and play.
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