The Transporter franchise has rung up strong sales for Fox on DVD, which no doubt played a role in both films appearing on Blu-ray Disc within a month of the studio’s entry into the high definition format race. Being first out the gate does not guarantee a robust treatment, as is the case with the visually stunning yet otherwise painfully shallow Transporter 2.
To further Frank Martin’s (Jason Statham) stylistic action adventures in Transporter 2 and either continue or ground the franchise, Luc Besson once again teamed with co-writer Robert Mark Kamen to turn Frank into a reluctant, and now apparently superhuman, hero in a suit. Frank’s reluctance to help another individual opposed by small hints of compassion in The Transporter turns into full fledged caring for a rich family whose daughter is kidnapped while under Frank’s watch. These newfound and awkward emotions are not befitting a character’s whose charm is derived from his complete lack of moral integrity for others, whether he broke one of his “no promises” rules or not.
Besson and his crew, including new director Louis Leterrier, further aid in erasing the mystique and intrigue of Statham’s character with snappy MTV direction and over-the-top spectacle stunts so absurd they don’t belong in a cartoon. Daring quick cut camera moves, CGI bullet tracers and laughably horrific green screen work dot every other scene. Controlling hysterical laughing outbursts as Frank cleverly and impossibly removes a bomb from the bottom of his beloved Audi, fends off scores of armed thugs with a fire hose in a blatant Jackie Chan rip-off sequence, then survives a wild plane crash without a seatbelt or as much as a scratch is almost as painful as imagining what could have been.
These absurd action set-pieces are pretty to look at, if nothing more, and Fox has delivered a stellar, and dare I call it impeccable, 1080p transfer and immersive DTS-HD Master Lossless audio tracks more than worthy of an upgrade from the previous DVD version. The often used three-dimensional label for reference quality titles perfectly represents this transfer’s depth, clarity and natural film grain. Close-ups of sexy villainess Lola highlight the fine detail we’ve come to expect from our high definition discs, and the sound effects littering the robust audio mix are sharply clearer with the increased bit-rate.
A beautiful presentation befitting Blu-ray technology doesn’t make the characters, action or plot in Transporter 2 any less shallow or more enjoyable other than purely visceral terms and save for sadistic Lola wandering the streets in lingerie while brandishing a pair of automatic weapons with laser scopes. Without any of the deleted scenes or featurettes found on the DVD version, this rushed release is squarely aimed at adrenaline and audio/videophile junkies craving a quick fix.
– Dan Bradley