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There are exactly two ways to approach a film like Transporter 2—you can roll your eyes and scoff at its preposterous plot, over the top action and total disregard for the laws of physics. Or you can nod knowingly, open another beer and let its inspired lunacy wash all over you. It's not exactly the most eagerly awaited sequel in the world, with the somewhat derivative Luc Besson penned original only really becoming a hit in the home market but frankly, I can't remember the last time I had so much fun watching a film.

Transporter 2
Statham stars as Frank Martin, ex special ops turned courier driver who'll deliver any package for the right price, no questions asked. Having relocated from France to the US, his exclusive cargo is now young Jack (Clay), the son of an important government official (Modine). Things get hairy when the boy is kidnapped by some villainous types and Frank is framed for it. With only Jack's mother (Valletta) on his side, it's a race against time for Frank to save him. But that's only the start of the action, with the real meat of the plot involving a deadly virus that's going to be unleashed on Miami. It's up to Frank to drive really fast, punch really hard and generally save the day.

There are certain films that achieve such a high level of poetic absurdity (Jon Voight's performance in Anaconda is a particular favourite of mine) that you simply can't help but love them. Transporter 2 starts silly and implausible and steadily makes its way towards completely and utterly ludicrous and there are moments of high camp that have to be seen to be believed ("Breathe my friend, breathe.") But it's so farcical, so fantastical that it comes out the other side as something approaching genius.

Transporter 2
My waggish colleagues would have you believe that it's awash with homoerotic undercurrents and that Frank is as gay as a steel worker's moustache. They may well be right but he can still rip out your throat with nothing more than a firm stare. Statham makes for a hugely engaging hero, combining fluid fighting skills with a monolithic presence and an agreeably gruff demeanour. Next to him the rest of the cast just don't get a look in, although Gassman is a suitably slimy baddie and Nauta an eye catching, parachute gear wearing terminatrix.

But the insane action is the clear draw. Smile as Frank stiffens a bunch of goons with nothing but a fire hose (Gabe, discuss in fifty words or less). Grin as a quick shimmy actually allows him to dodge bullets. And weep with joy as he dislodges a bomb from the underside of his car by driving up a ramp, spinning in mid air to catch the bomb on a hook that's hanging from a crane, and turning the right way up before landing perfectly and driving off. Sublime.

Video
Maybe it's the Florida setting and the amount of sunlight, but the image is often too bright and over-exposed and as a consequence the picture can lack sharpness. Flesh tones suffer too because of this, being shiny rather than natural, but this is surely to do with the way it was filmed rather than any production fault. Darker scenes are rare but they perform better, with good shadow detail and blacks. Clarity and detail are absolutely fine throughout and there are certainly no blemishes or artefacts, but overall this is a curiously underperforming transfer.

Transporter 2
Audio
For such a kinetic film, the audio takes a little while to warm up and deliver the kind of goods that might be expected. Early action scenes are a bit underplayed, with the rears more likely to be putting out music than any great surround effects. What's really needed to liven things up is gunfire, and when the bullets start flying the mix starts performing.

You also came for the cars remember, and there's plenty happening here. Engine noises are beefed up by the sub while tyres squeal with excellent directionality and collisions are solid and meaningful. There's loads of movement from front to back and side to side, with room left over for music and clear dialogue when needed.

Extras
This is where things get a little disappointing, with only a couple of brief featurettes on one side of the disc and a selection of deleted and extended scenes on the other. The deleted scenes are to be found on the widescreen side and last just over twenty minutes in total. There's not a hell of a lot that's sorely missed from the final cut and some of the differences are barely discernible, being very slight extensions to existing scenes.

Transporter 2
On the flipside of the disc with the foolscreen version of the film are two featurettes, ‘The Making of Transporter 2’, which runs for just four minutes and ‘Making the Music’, running ten minutes. The first is a cursory behind the scenes featuring sound-bites from Statham and members of the crew that's little more than an extended trailer.

The music featurette has a little more depth to it as we get to see the orchestra practice and perform the score and we hear from the people involved in creating the music for the film. The interviews with the composers are conducted in French and are quite annoyingly presented with some dull voiceover guy translating rather than subtitles. Finally there's a blooper reel that lasts for just over two minutes and barely raises a giggle.

Transporter 2
Overall
Let me make this expressly clear— Transporter 2 will not appeal to everyone. If it catches you in the wrong mood you might consider it one of the worst films you've ever seen. If, on the other hand, you acquiesce to its charms, you should find yourself having an absolute blast—just a pity it's not on a better quality DVD. Still, no doubt the "It's shite/no it isn't" debate will rumble on unabated. Get over it.


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