Making the Grades
Hollywood has delivered another "criminal turned hero" in theaters nationwide. The Transporter stars Jason Statham as Frank Martin - an ex-special forces operator who makes his living on the French Riviera by couriering anything to anyone (with no questions asked), in his gadget laden BMW.
We meet him playing high-speed taxi to a group of fleeing thieves looking for the ultimate getaway. Following a few hair raising minutes of "only in the movies" driving action, along with countless accidents, property damage, and a bloody murder, the holdup men reach their destination and The Transporter gets his cash.
With the types of clientele this classy chauffeur deals with, we aren't surprised when his next trip isn't so easy.
Breaking one of his cardinal rules ("Never open the package"), Martin discovers Lai (Qi Shu), an attractive Oriental woman inside of a bag he has accepted as cargo. Eventually making his drop after a few unexpected detours, he thinks the job is complete until a series of violent incidents bring him and Lai back together. Not only does the coupling make for good romance (sex is strongly inferred when she drops down to underwear after a desperate swim to safety), but Lai's story of slavery and the need to save hundreds of others from a similar fate is also the screenwriter's one hope to convince audiences that Martin is more than a mere mercenary.
This film's protagonist is cast from a similar mold as the other recent bald-Bond wannabe - Vin Diesel's Agent XXX. Lacking some of Diesel's cool and (dangerously attractive) on-screen persona, Statham similarly hacks, shoots, kicks, and stabs his way through this thriller with countless impossible stunt sequences that are sped up and rapidly edited to create the illusion of speed and danger.
On-screen murders with machine guns, missiles, chokings, stabbings, and a "maiden in distress" at the hands of male criminals allows The Transporter to set a new watermark for violence in a film deemed appropriate for teen viewing by ratings authorities in the US and Canada. Most families will instead likely opt to "return to sender."
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Transporter.
In this movie, the audience is expected to have empathy for a man who makes his living through illegal means. How do movies like this try and convince us that criminals are heroes? If you have seen this movie, at what point are we first expected to feel like Frank is a nice guy?
In what other ways does this movie manipulate truth? How long could Frank make a living doing what he does before his life would be in serious danger? Are criminals more able to enforce justice than police?
Notice the portrayal of the only female character in this film. What methods does she use to gain Franks trust and protection?