4 out of 10


Anything, Anywhere At A Price

When asked why he robbed banks, famed New York gangster "Slick" Willie Sutton replied, "Because that's where the money is." Whilst being blindingly simple in concept, it seems a maxim that the French film industry has certainly taken to heart over the years, with a production rarely complete without a bank robbery included. Despite being made in English for the North American market, "Transporter" is certainly well in tune with the movie moguls of La Grand Republique

Providing transport to anyone for anything, Frank Martin is the bane of Police Chief Tarconi's life. He knows that he and his black BMW 735 are involved in most of the major robberies and trafficking in the regions, but the ex-soldier, who is an addict to Orangina, the cheap gassy drink, and charges $40,000 to move a bag a mere 250km, always stays one step ahead of him by keeping religiously to three rules:-

    • Rule 1: The deals' the deal. No changes.
    • Rule 2: No names.
    • Rule 3: Never open the package.

With a superb start, "Transporter" seems to be full of promise with some magnificent driving scenes as Martin acts as the getaway car in the sort of flashy action that has kept the oldest movie industry ahead of the more upstart collossus of Hollywood. Inevitably, however, Martin breaks his own rule, by peeping into one bag that moves to discover Lai, a Chinese girl who has been kidnapped, and his life becomes more complex..

For Jason Strachan, the role fits like a glove, having developed a niche for himself as a rogueish criminal with a sardonic wit from his earlier hits such as "Snatch.". Even so, Strachan's experience does not even come close to matching that of 30 year old Qi Shu as Lai, the star of over 60 Hong Kong films and François Berléand as Tarconi, a veteran of over 160 French flicks..

Sadly, after about 30 minutes, Lai pulls a gun on Martin, and you can see the visible shock on Stathan's face as he discovers that he's been duped. To his horror, he's realises that this is no masterpiece like "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," but a really crummy one, repackaged with a carefully written beginning to fool both him into starring in such crud. And, before he can escape, Lai's father walks in with a bunch of bozos, talentless actors. Despite lashing out at everyone around him in an endless Kung Fu ballet, Stathan is stranded in a flick with corny lines and barely the credibility of a Wednesday night TV movie until an obvious and contrived ending that is just a cheap remake of Timothy Dalton's lamentable "Licence To Kill." What a discovery! It was only made to rob us of our hard earned wages after all!

Crashes after 30 minutes of glory

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett