I've always found Jason Statham to be a superbly charming and funny actor. His most notable roles to date have been in the two Transporter films and his hilarious role in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. Statham, once an Olympic swimmer, dazzles each scene he is in with martial arts (obviously not touching the great master) that are entertaining simply due to how creative he is. Slowly becoming the next big Hollywood actor, The Transporter represented a time for Statham when Hollywood was looking for that next big actor hero who could wow audiences with slick moves.
The Transporter starred actor Jason Statham (Cellular) as Frank Martin a.k.a The Transporter, a man who would transport anything at a price. He had three rules if you wanted to hire him. 1. Never change the deal. 2. No Names. 3. Never look in the package.Soon Martin is hired to deliver a large duffel bag, a bag that tends to complain and squirm. The bag contains a Chinese woman named Lai. Martin cuts a hole in the tape over her mouth, thus violating his third rule of never looking in the bag. As the film progresses, Martin learns more about this mysterious woman including why she was kidnapped. All this is done of course with the routine fight sequence where Martin, creatively I might add, utilizes his every available weapon to defeat his foes.
Speaking of the film's fight sequences, I loved how Martin was able to quickly analyze his area almost as if he was a robot, looking for the absolute best (and of course the coolest) way to eliminate his foes. Each fight sequence, while some being kind of over the top in stupidity (the oil sequence comes to mind), was entertaining enough to leave the viewer in pure happiness. Another item to mention is how perfectly attentive Martin is to everything around him (particularly of the locales). He's the best at his game for a reason and that is because A. he has a fast car (gorgeous 7 Series), B. he's able to drive fast, and C. he's able to know exactly what he needs to get the job done.
Out of the two Transporter films that are out, I would say that I enjoy the first film more. While the second film is still good in its own right, I felt the first film had a bit more style to it (it probably helped that it took place overseas giving us a sense of their culture). The fight scenes were solid (especially the opening chase sequence. Exhilarating)! Jason Statham, as per a majority of his films, brings a sense of humor along with fine acting. Actor Shu Qi is great as the captive Lai. We learn more about her past through a deep connection that grows between Frank and her. The Transporter is a rocking film with plenty of action, a good enough story and solid acting that will keep any a majority of fans entertained for the film's relatively short length.
Presented in a 1080p, MPEG-2 Encoded, 2:35:1 Widescreen Aspect Ratio, The Transporter is the oldest title that Fox has decided to release on the Blu-Ray format. While a majority of the newer released titles have held up nicely, what is in store for older titles? Do they look just as good or worse?
Despite the film's print having a four year stamp on it, the image looks great, sometimes excellent. Color usage was spot on with bright whites and dark blacks of Martin's BMW. Detail was fine for the most part with the ability to notice the little fibers on the suit of Martin. Grain was present in some scenes with noticeable edge enhancement in the brighter sequences. In fact, grain seemed to be a big issue here as I noticed in quite a lot here. It may be because of the MPEG 2 codec Fox used (encoded at 18mbps), or it may be due to the film being slightly old. I certainly hope it's not the latter, as it will spell a certain sign of fear for the older catalog titles Fox has in their vault.
Overall, The Transporter, while a noticeable improvement over the SD-DVD counterpart (I compared it to the latest released edition in the 'Special Delivery' edition, still lacked that 3-D image we expect from High-Definition material. A good, but somewhat lackluster, transfer.
As per Fox's other initial release titles, The Transporter comes equipped with a English a DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio Track. This marks the first review that I can comment how this particular audio sounds as I ran the disc through Sony's new Playstation 3 system after running it through Panasonic's BD player.
Surrounds are dynamite with a fantastic soundstage that gives a true aural experience with close attention to the viewer's eardrum. Dialogue, despite the amount of fast-paced sequences, never became muddled or difficult to understand. The film's soundtrack gets a first rate mix with focus on each of the songs as they felt pumped up.
Considering the number of high-paced action sequences, I expected quite a bit of overall response here. While the middle frequencies threw out a bit of bass while the highs delivered the screeches and yells, the lower frequencies felt almost absent. One scene I noticed was the final chase sequence with all the tractor trailers. Despite all the gunfires and explosions, I experienced little to no response from the lower frequencies, which was a true disappointment.
However, despite this problem, when the DTS HD audio performed, it performed excellently. Fans of the film will be pleased to know that Fox has delivered a fine audio experience here.
- Audio Commentary with Actor Jason Statham and Producer Steven Chasman: Actor Statham and Producer Chasman provide us with a lively talk focusing on the film's production, varying stunts and the art of filmmaking. Considering my enjoyment of the film and of the acting from Statham, I was curious to hear what Statham had to offer. I must note that I found the few blank moments where the dialogue was raised to compensate for the emptiness in audio perfect. If you enjoyed the film, check this commentary out.
- High-Definition Trailers: Here we get trailers for the main feature as well as Kiss of the Dragon, Fantastic Four, League of the Extraordinary Gentlemen, Behind Enemy Lines, Phone Booth, Planet of the Apes, and The Transporter 2
I can understand why Fox chose to release The Transporter as one of its initial titles. The film has slick action that is easy to demo off in stores thus wowing audiences. Despite my enjoyment of the film and of the audio track here, the somewhat lackluster video, the absolute void of feature, and the relatively high price tag has brought me to one conclusion, which hurts me to say. Rent It
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