Luc Besson wowed me when I was younger with “The Professional.” At thirteen, I thought it was fantastic; and now that I am older, it is still a great movie. Now, Besson is back in the producing and writing chair with “The Transporter,” starring Guy Ritchie’s favorite man, Jason Statham.
Released simultaneously is the modern ‘gangster-style’ film, “Knockaround Guys,” with an ensemble cast. Ever since “The Godfather” I have been uncontrollably drawn to any film involving organized crime, and although most modern attempts to portray mob life on film or HBO is catastrophic, there are some like “Knockaround Guys” that do not get out of hand.
Both of these films are entertaining. Although they are not great examples of what a good film is, the entertainment value helps substantially.
“The Transporter” begins with a car chase that rivals anything you will see in Bond, which is ridiculously exciting. It then gives a good overview of the way this ‘transporter’ lives his life. The entire set up is spectacular. But his life is turned upside down when he breaks his own rules to transporting and in result the man that hires him tries to kill him by blowing up his car.
It continues very strong until, that is right, they introduce a love interest. I am sick of this formulaic attempt at film. My feeling is if it’s going to be an action film, be an action film; if it is going to be romantic, then be romantic; quit mixing genres. From that the plot is spoiled, but it remains intense, which keeps the grade strong.
“Knockaround Guys” is more low-key action entertainment. The wise guys look at Matty, played by the surprising talent of Barry Pepper, as a man not cut out for the life. But when he gets a job and hires his friends to help, things go awry. The mobsters are then pulled out of the woodwork in a small Montana town in a desperate search for a bag of money that Marbles (Seth Green of “Austin Powers”) lost.
The dialogue was strong, the story was interesting and they incorporated just the right touch of action. Vin Diesel (“XXX”) delivers everything he can, but I still believe that if he is going to be in a film, he should not talk. Or at least, his dialogue should be minimal, like it is in “Knockaround Guys.” Diesel, in my opinion, has not had a good performance since “Boiler Room.”
Jason Statham in “The Transporter” has a calm and yet intense presence about him that makes him, what I see as, an up-and-coming action star. Hopefully he continues to choose decent scripts, unlike Van-Dam did when he started becoming famous. I also hope we see more of Statham in comedies like “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” If you have not seen him in these movies, you MUST go rent them.
Barry Pepper seems to be growing rapidly in the craft of acting, which means we should be seeing more of him in the years to come. His supporting cast of Dennis Hopper and John Malcovich definitely aid Pepper, but Pepper seems to be able to carry this movie along with an action script that actually takes the time to develop its characters.
With the strong leads of the two separate films, they both remain strong and entertaining. Both films are given a B- and I hope you all enjoy them.
As always I am willing to argue my case on all films I review and you can write me either care of the Collegian or at Erniehem2@hotmail.com under the subject line of MOVIES!