Buy it at Amazon!
The plot in a nutshell
A standard action flick from Luc Besson (he co-wrote and produced), the film
follows a fairly generic Besson plot. A semi-mysterious man, with the
ability to kill with a nasty look, meets a young girl and reluctantly saves
her not surprisingly attractive behind.
this case, our anti-hero is Frank Martin, ex-military, now living in France
and operating as a 'transporter'. This is a high paid, fancy version
of a delivery boy. Frank has basic rules - rule 1, never alter the
deal; rule 2, no names; and rule 3, never open the package.
breaks rule 3, and as any anal retentive knows, when you break the rules,
even a little, everything falls apart. Frank's package turns out to be
Lai, a young Chinese girl, and his content life is turned upside down.
But as all good anti-heroes do, he saves the day, not without a little help
from Lai herself.
Relatively Spoiler Free Thoughts
It's been a few weeks since I saw a good, basic action flick, and like any
card carrying testosterone tub, I was beginning to go through
withdrawal. This film was the perfect solution - little to no plot to
disturb the mindless and often senseless, but always well choreographed,
violence and mayhem.
Jason Statham plays Frank, and
does so quite convincingly. If there was any question as to whether
this was an action flick, one only has to count the number of minutes
Statham spends shirtless. As a matter of fact, this film has perhaps
the most unique and interesting way I've ever seen an action hero loose his
shirt in battle.
Statham's other big flicks were
Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. If Hollywood is
looking for an action star, please stop casting Vin Diesel and give Statham
a second look. His fighting style is more Jet Li/Jackie Chan than
brute force, and he manages to look convincing through some extreme
choreography. The rest of the cast is pretty much filler, with only
four other main characters - Lai of course, played by Qi Shu, star of many
Hong Kong flicks, Ric Young, a character actor in just about any film
involving an Asian (and he should win the Academy Award for worst haircut in
this film), the French actor Francoise Berleand who plays a helpful police
inspector, and Matt Schulze as the main bad guy, a relative newcomer who's
best performance was as Chupa in Blade II.
But Statham does the lion's
share of the work, and he proves himself a competent actor. Too bad
the plot is paper thin - it's simply one contrivance after another to thread
the action sequences together. These are very well done though,
particularly the long drawn out battle around the buses that involves a lot
I did find Frank Martin's
desire not to kill interesting, particularly since it was pointed out only
during the action sequences - and quite obviously there - but never
mentioned in any way during dialog. It's anyone's guess as to why he
has an aversion to killing, even those who are trying their best to see him
dead. Perhaps he's really just a lover at heart.
Rating - Rent It
Looking for a film that requires little thought but is lots of fun?
This one will fill the bill. While the plot might be thin, at least it
makes sense (most of the time), and the action sequences are worth the price
of admission. Your female companion may find it less than fulfilling
however, but the shots of a shirtless Statham might keep them awake.
Spoiler Laden Thoughts
This is one of those films with really nothing to spoil. Don't
expect any surprises, don't expect any twists. Even when it looks like
there might be a bit of a twist a third of the way in, the train quickly
jumps back on the tracks heading for Obviousville. There is one very
interesting scene in which Frank must stop a small convoy of a couple trucks
with the bad guys following the trucks. If that sounds like a scene
out of Indiana Jones, you're right. Remember how Indy rode after them
on a white horse? This time it's a white car, but the entire sequence
is so close to that original that one could call it homage rather than rip