[box cover]

The Transporter: Special Delivery Edition

Do you need to move something from Point A to Point B, but don't want to attract attention? Find Frank Martin (Jason Statham). You see, Frank's a "Transporter" — a top-notch driver who will move any kind of package, as long as it comes with cash in an envelope. A retired British paratrooper living in the south of France, Frank does business with a criminal class that he quietly dislikes, but still profits by. He also protects himself by a strict adherence to "rules," among them "Never alter the deal" and "No names." But rule #3 — "Never look in the package" — is one he breaks when he discovers a duffel bag in the trunk of his 7-series BMW is moving. Determined to complete his mission, but compelled by his natural sense of concern, he opens the package to find Lai (Qi Shu), who has been abducted and is to be sent to American gangster Darren "Wall Street" Bettencourt (Matt Schulze). Frank finishes the job, but Wall Street thinks he's been double-crossed, prompting him to put out a hit on The Transporter — which misses the mark. And after Lai escapes and hooks up again with Frank, the pair find themselves on the run for their lives. Produced and co-written by Luc Besson, The Transporter has all the hallmarks of a stylish European action flick — sun-soaked locales, a multinational cast, and plenty of slick car chases, gunplay, and fistfights. It's bolstered by Jason Statham in the lead role — the actor who make his mark in Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch shows he has the charisma to carry an action film, and while The Transporter didn't make enough money ($21 million domestically) to propel him into Vin Diesel territory, we're bound to see more of him down the road. It's also nice to have a movie where the Brit gets to be the good guy while the villain is a Yank — Matt Schulze as "Wall Street" dives into the role with smarmy offensiveness, while French police detective Tarconi (François Berléand) reluctantly comes to our hero's aid. And let's be grateful there's no wire-fu to be found; there must have been some temptation to indulge in the trendy high-wire technology, but all of the fights are rock-solid, down-to-earth kung fu brawls. Of course, The Transporter can't help but have drawbacks: Qi Shu in the female lead is too much of a damsel in distress, Frank literally outfights a dozen men at a time (although one scene where he evens the odds by tipping a barrel of oil is clever), and the John McLane rule of action cinema is broken — our hero really doesn't get the shit beat out of him enough (Frank saves the day with little more than a bump on the noggin). But it's no matter in the end — for those looking for the perfect beer-and-popcorn spin, The Transporter will not disappoint.

*          *          *

Fox's second DVD release of The Transporter, tagged as a "Special Delivery Edition," features the same anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) and drops the pan-and-scan option, while audio gets a boost with the original Dolby Digital 5.1 and a new DTS track. Returning from the first disc is the laid-back commentary track with star Jason Statham and producer Steven Chasman, the original "making-of" featurette (12 min.), three extended fight sequences with commentary featuring Statham, Chasman, and director Corey Yuen, and the theatrical trailer. New to this edition is the featurette "Behind the Scenes… The Transporter" (35 min.), a storyboard-to-film comparison, and a preview of The Transporter 2 (10 min.) under the main menu's "Inside Look" link, which also includes the sequel's theatrical trailer. Keep-case.

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