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:: Transporter 2

At what point during an action movie is it acceptable to yell at the screen, “Are you kidding or what?” Sure, there is a certain amount of disbelief that you have to suspend in order to fully give yourself over the experience, but you have to draw the line somewhere. I can’t pick the exact moment during Transporter 2 that any connection to reality was lost. It may have been when the ludicrously sexy female assassin stripped down to her underwear and began shooting up a doctor’s waiting room with twin machine guns. Okay, maybe that’s improbable rather than impossible. So maybe it was when the hero Frank (Jason Stratham - so expressionless at times I thought that the film had frozen), casually barrel rolls his Audi through the air, nimbly dislodging a bomb from the under-carriage of the car using the hook of a crane, before executing a perfect landing with absolutely NO damage to the car. Again, not impossible but the strands of credibility are looking decidedly strained. Frank’s dodges bullets… Holding in there… Frank jumps a jet ski onto the back of a bus… Holding… Frank’s best friend is a likeable Frenchman? Snap! They just lost me.

It’s not so much that Transporter 2 is a bad movie, it’s just one causes you to constantly reassess whether or not the filmmakers have done enough for you to accept the more fantastic elements of the story. Good will can carry an audience a long way, especially in this genre. No one would try and claim that Charlie’s Angels is a great film by any measure, but for all it’s silliness there is an undeniable charm that gets over the line. Transporter 2 isn’t nearly as an attractive package, however, and some scenes inspire confusion rather than awe or even simple escapism. But what can’t be denied is the film’s inventiveness and willingness to keep pushing forward despite plot holes that you could flip an Audi through. Producer and co-writer Luc Besson must surely be the reason for this; as one of the most prolific auteurs in film today even his least accomplished work is marked by his flair for visuals and action.

Calling the shots is Louis Leterrier, whose previous collaboration with Besson was the Jet Li-as-an-ass-kicking-Forrest-Gump Unleashed. Along with martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen, they come up with two or three genuinely exciting set pieces, but they are more about demonstrating the gymnastic ability of the cast rather than bone-crunching violence. In fact, in Leterrier’s world you can feel quite comfortable about cutting loose with an automatic weapon, safe in the knowledge that no-one will get hurt. And in the end, it’s the film’s cheery, child-like enthusiasm for stunts and blowing things up with no painful consequences that makes it not only rare amongst action films today, but also something of a guilty pleasure.