Making the Grades
Violence, sex, and humor pervade The Transporter 2. Possibly one of the most unbelievable actioners put to screen in recent memory, this movie is set to make some serious money for one reason alone: Audiences will think it's a lot of fun (teens especially will be enamored with Jason Statham's character of Frank Martin).
Statham's bold performance as a chauffer-for-hire puts him well into the race of James Bond-type operatives. In the first The Transporter, our man was much more of a flat figure--a down-to-business type who was okay with the idea of killing people in order to drive a criminal to safety. In contrast, writers of this sequel have made Frank a much easier guy to like.
Hired to transport a young boy--the sole offspring of the wealthy Jeff and Audrey Billings (Matthew Modine and Amber Valletta)--to school and doctor's appointments, viewers are much more able to justify Frank's violent retaliation to a kidnapping attempt. Just a few moments before he walks into the trap that will see bullets flying and innocent people murdered, Frank promises his charge he will never let anyone hurt him.
Now the ex-special ops agent has lost his young client to a team of bloodthirsty nasties. When he is unwilling to cooperate with the authorities (for reasons never quite explained), his motives come under question. His rich employer is also suspicious there is more going on than meets the eye, because he senses a growing fondness between his wife and Frank. (This presents another moral infringement, which the script attempts to justify by portraying Jeff as far more interested in his business than in Audrey. Fortunately, this adulterous attraction is kept under control.)
What the plot doesn't throttle down is the incredibly violent confrontations between Frank and the team of disposable bad guys--although the most prominent is actually a woman. Lola's (Katie Nauta) character is a perfect product of the male fascination with sex and violence. A tall lanky blonde, she is always seen in the tiniest of bikinis (except for one scene where she is nude and partial topless detail is shown) and packing two rapid-fire pistols. Amazingly, even though Frank's physical prowess is proven time and again against various groups of male attackers, for some reason he just can't seem to subdue this 100-pound waif (okay, 101 pounds -- if you add in the black mascara).
The resulting body count in the film even outpaces the number of profanities (one of which is the classic sexual expletive). Thanks to an injection of humor from a French policeman (seen in the first film), and his interactions with a few incompetent cardboard cops, there is some down time between bloodlettings. Unfortunately, these laughs may make the film even more appealing to young audiences.
By the close of the credits, what The Transporter 2 really delivers is another blow to the MPAA rating system. The PG-13 classification provides no restrictions to the age of attendees, yet is becoming home to a greater number of violent films. With the potent mixture of sex, guns, and laughs, this slick production's only positive point is Frank's determination to save his young charge. However, he won't offer your children the same protection or respect.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Transporter 2.
Aside from the portrayal of lives lost in this film, there are dozens of cars destroyed and millions of dollars in property damage. But, no consequences are seen. How do movies use audience sympathy for a young child to justify these actions? How do these “setups” allow us to be more willing to like our hero?
Frank has the uncanny ability to dodge bullets at close range. He also can maneuver his vehicle in incredible ways, far beyond probability. Why do audiences enjoy these superhero traits? What impossible feats do you wish you could achieve?
Actor Jason Stratham (who plays Frank) is trained in various forms of fighting and performs most of the stunts himself. In many scenes he is attacked by a group of fighters, yet they each approach one at a time. In movies portraying heroes resisting a large group of attackers, it’s interesting to watch what the background guys are doing while they are waiting for their turn “at bat.” How do you think these choreographed actions compare to what might happen in reality?