Frank (Statham) is a retired SAS officer, living a quiet life in the South of France, making spare money as a "transporter" who will carry anything anywhere as long as three simple rules are followed: never change the plan, no names and no looking in the package. When he violates the third rule and finds a squirmy young woman named Lai (Qi) inside, the story takes off in unpredictable directions with a vicious thug (Schulze) intent on obliterating Frank from the planet to protect his evil plan. Soon Frank and Lai are on the run and fighting like mad to save themselves ... and others.
The film looks great and is full of terrific little touches of suspense and humour that keep us entertained and deftly avoid the standard Hollywood formula (for the most part). Massive action sequences punctuate the film; like thriller porn, they come along at regular intervals accompanied by cheesy action-music.
Statham is quite good in the centre, playing the strong, silent type to great effect and maintaining a wry sense of humour. He strips off his shirt several times for no reason at all, and there's some hilarious subtext in a fight in which he uses buckets of oil as a weapon. This is a very physical, heavily choreographed film, not terribly well edited; continuity and coherence seem less importance than getting really cool images on screen. There's one mind-numbingly illogical stunt sequence at the end, and the romance itself is rather ludicrous. But it's still enjoyably watchable and surprisingly unpredictable, with just enough silliness to keep us laughing at it, not with it.
dir Cory Yuen|
scr Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
with Jason Statham, Shu Qi, Francois Berleand, Matt Schulze, Ric Young, Doug Rand, Didier Saint Melin, Tonio Descanvelle, Laurent Desponds, Matthieu Albertini, Vincent Nemeth, Jean-Yves Billien
release US 13.Sep.02; UK 27.Dec.02
Ooh he's so buff! Of course, Frank (Statham) needs to strip off his shirt and flex those muscles in order to fight the baddies....
|"Absolutely fab. Jason Statham is amazing; what is he doing next? He can do me anytime." --anonymous, web 12.Jun.03|