Luc Besson co-wrote and produced this fun entry on the 101 Action Movies list which stars the very cool Jason Statham as Frank Martin, an ex-military type who hires himself as a driver to transport different materials for the right price. A deal is a deal, he never wants names, and he never looks in the package. These are the rules he lives by, and that makes him very popular with underworld types.
After an opening sequence that shows off Martin’s driving skills, and the very fun tone that the movies wants to set, the story kicks into high-octane overdrive, launching a fun, speedy and light story. Shortly after the opening sequence the world-weary police officer, Insperctor Tarconi (Francois Berleand), comes to have a look at Frank’s car, which matches the one involved in the getaway.
I quite like the relationship these two have, it’s one based on mutual respect, and there’s a friendship there, despite the fact that they are both aware they are on opposite sides of the law, though Tarconi can’t necessarily prove it.
Frank is hired to transport another package to someone referred to only as Wall Street (Matt Schulze) – see rule number two, no names. On the way, while changing a flat tire, he makes the mistake of violating one of his own rules, never look in the package.
In this case there is a young woman inside, Lai (Qi Shu), and after Wall Street makes an attempt on Frank’s life, for allegedly looking in the package, not to mention tying him up as a loose end, Frank and Lai find themselves wrapped up in a human trafficking scheme, which serves as a back drop for some excellent fight and driving sequences, for which Statham did almost all of his own stunts.
The plot is admittedly paper-thin, but that doesn’t detract from the sheer fun the film wants to imbue, so much so that it created 2 sequels and a spin-off television series (I’ve not seen this, anyone watch it?).
Statham settles into the action hero role very nicely, enough so to be recognized by Stallone and be cast in The Expendables 1 & 2 alongside some amazing action, and acting, legends.
My personal favorite moments, after the opening bank robbery sequence, is the bus garage sequence with the oil and the bicycle pedals. Nuff said.
This is not much more than a glossy looking action film, no different than the run-of-the-mills action films of the 80s, but that is where the appeal lies, it’s just a goofy, fun film, with well-crafted fight sequences, and synth soundtrack by Stanley Clarke. If you dig on those kinds of films, and you haven’t seen this one, it’s definitely worth a look.
This one, and its two sequels are movies I can just throw on for a rainy day, or a quiet evening when I don’t necessarily want something I have to be too much attention to, and just relax with a book or something as well.
They’re fun, entertaining, and never claim to be anything more than that.
What do you think of them?