It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Reviewing "Transporter" in 2002, I expressed doubt that some of the action sequences were possible. "Transporter 2" sidesteps my complaint by containing action scenes that are even more impossible. For example: Seeing the reflection of a bomb in a pool of liquid under his car, and knowing that the bad guys will not explode it while they're standing right next to it, the hero races the car out of a garage and up an incline, spinning the car neatly through the air, so that it makes one complete rotation and the bomb is pulled off by a hook on a crane, exploding harmlessly as the car lands safely. Uh, huh.
I could observe that this is preposterous, but the fact is, I laughed aloud. Other stunts and computer-generated effects, were equally impossible, as when Frank Martin (Jason Statham) flies a jet ski onto a highway and jumps from it into the back of a school bus. And when he uses a fire hose to immobilize a posse of killers. And when he escapes from a plane that has crashed into the ocean. And when he leads a police pursuit up the ramps of a parking garage and then crashes his car through a wall of the garage, and it flies a couple of hundred feet through the air to a safe landing.
Either "Transporter 2" is wall to wall with absurd action, or it's not a sequel to "Transporter." And in fact the sequel is a better film than the original, as if writer-producer Luc Besson had a clearer idea of what he wanted to do (and didn't want to do); the direction is by Louis Leterrier, whose "Unleashed," released only three months ago, had that savage chemistry between a gangster (Bob Hoskins) and a fighter (Jet Li) he had raised like a dog. That movie was also written and produced by Luc Besson, who is the hardest-working man in show business. Look him up on IMDb.com if you want to feel tired just reading about his plans.
"Transporter 2" is better for a number of reasons, one of them that is has an ingenious plot that continues to reveal surprises and complications well into the third act; this is not simply a movie where the good guy chases the bad guys, but a movie where the story turns a lot trickier than we expected. It begins with Frank Martin helping out a friend by filling in for a month as the driver and bodyguard for a cute kid named Jack (Hunter Clary), whose dad Jackson (Matthew Modine) heads the United States narcotics agency. The kid is kidnapped in a bizarre scheme involving a phony doctor, and then he's recovered too quickly, and without the ransom money being picked up, and it turns out the kidnapping -- well, you'll see for yourself. Let me just observe that the methods of the kidnappers involves scientific ingenuity raised to evil genius. Not recently have I seen a movie with a better reason why the worst bad guy cannot be allowed to sink to the ocean floor along with the crashed airplane.