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September 10, 2005

Transporter 2

Louis Leterrier - 2005
20th Century Fox 35mm movie

I went to my neighborhood multiplex, the Regal South Beach 18, to see Transporter 2 with my significant other. Part of out going to see the film in a theater is because we both liked the first film. More pressing was that we actually got to see part of the film made right on the street where we lived.

We moved to our temporary South Beach home on Euclid Avenue near 3rd Street in mid-August of 2004. The day after we moved in, bullitins were posted in the building explaining that filming was scheduled and that we would need to park our cars outside of a specified area. The day of shooting, we watched the stunt doubles of Jason Stathan and Kate Nauta speed down Euclid Avenue several times. Normally this is a pretty quiet street that merges with the lower, quiet part of one of South Beach's main arteries, Washington Avenue. My significant other thought Jason Stathan's stunt double was as attractive as Stathan. I was looking more longingly at the new Audi that is the real star of the film. The chase scene had so many quick shots that a frame by frame analysis on DVD may be needed, but we concluded that the shots filmed on Euclid Avenue were not used, but we did recognize the alley behind our building.

Transporter 2 definitely takes place in a fictional, computer enhanced, Miami metro area. While the character of Frank Martin zips up and down the streets and causeways after the bad guys, I can testify that just in South Beach it can take me twenty minutes to get drive about fifteen blocks and find parking. This film takes place in a parallel universe where there is no road construction and traffic isn't congested by lost tourists or the celebrities in their stretch limos or Hummers.

Clocking in at under ninety minutes, the film is fairly entertaining. In the first Transporter film, Cory Yuen directed while Louis Leterrier was billed as the Artistic Director. Leterrier is credited as the director, while Yuen was responsible for the martial arts and Second Unit. I may be in a minority here, but I liked the first film better. The fight scenes in Yuen's film are more organic, and filmed more like a ballet with the emphasis on choreography with the motion of people and objects. The fight scenes in Transporter 2 are extremely fragmented, expertly edited to be sure, perhaps as many of the actors were not trained in martial arts as was evident in the first film.

Maybe this can also be attributed to producer-writer Luc Besson, again collaborating with Robert Mark Kamen on the script. The new film seems to deliberately choose to be almost opposite of the first film by filming the fights differently and have the various bad guys be cartoonish is appearance and action. This difference is in the first scene with Martin threatened with a car jacking by a very developed young blonde in a very small school girl uniform who is backed by a thuggish version of the Fat Albert gang. Martin also has to battle Lola, a tatooed blonde who stomps around essentially wearing a bra, panties, "fuck me" shoes, and two very big guns. It's great that Stathan keeps his word with the little boy who gets kidnapped, but I truly missed his squabbling with Shu Qi who livend up the first film.

While Leterrier has been more fully on his previous film, Unleashed, which I also wrote about, he has a few revealing words in an interview I was unable to link up. http://www.iesb.net/fox2005/083005.php

Posted by peter at September 10, 2005 03:12 PM