Tuesday, July 15, 2003


For some reason, in their daily recommendation of occasional classics and occasional kitsch, the Internet Movie Database has selected director Corey Yuen's THE TRANSPORTER, which was one of the most unintentionally funny films I've ever seen.

From the archives, here is my original "review" of it. I think Amazon removed my review of it from its site after thinking some comments I made were in bad taste. Whatever.

Date: 4 November 2002
Summary: Dude, this was so damn funny. Take a friend. (SPOILERS)

Oh my God, THE TRANSPORTER was incredibly funny. CROSSROADS funny. ORIGINAL SIN funny.

It works like a parody of one of those '80s action movies, where the villain has henchmen who shoot machine guns at the hero but don't hit him. Meanwhile, the hero finds ways to effectively use a random object, like a sweatshirt, to subdue large groups of people.

Seeing Jason Statham in SNATCH and LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, I was not prepared to see him completely ripped, cool and awesome. And the whole movie plays like one of those Clive Owen BMW ads, except without the deep emotional resonance or without the obligation of having to make any sense.

After the first two action scenes, including the kickass opening chase scene, I looked over at Kacoon and said, "My God, I want that man ... now."

Unfortunately, in the movie, his love interest is Miss Horrible Asian Stereotype (whom he gives noodles and, strangely, chopsticks when he first entertains her at his home).

She apparently can read and follow an English cookbook recipe despite not being able to read it aloud. Her broken English line-readings are, I think unintentionally, the funniest damn thing in the film.

"That ... is ... point of romantic swim, no? No ... witnesses..."

There are also the typical moments. The cheezoid rap music that segues into the romantic violin music when a fight scene ends with the hero encountering Miss Asia. A villain walks into every scene with the same facial expression. A cop walks away from the hero's seaside home castle but isn't able to hear or return to the scene when it's attacked by a barrage of cruise missiles and machine-gun fire two minutes later. (When the first missile flies toward the house, I laughed out loud.)

Then comes the scuba-diving escape scene. Kacoon told me that the hero probably keeps two full diving suits and equipment under his house for just such an occasion. I told Kacoon it was lucky that Miss Asia was a certified diver.

We were 40 minutes into the movie, and Kacoon turns to me and says, "You know, we still haven't figured out what the hell this is about."

Soon, another guy shows up in the film, wearing so much pancake makeup that I told Kacoon he looked like Little Richard.

When you do realize the plot, though, it's so wildly implausible that I was asking Jessika. "OK, so the hero's trying to stop people from smuggling illegal Asian slaves in the back of MACK trucks through the French Riviera? Where are they going? Who keeps Asian slaves in Europe? I thought Asia was the only place where they could employ Asians under deplorable conditions at a slave wage."

(Later, I mentioned to Kacoon that the scene where Miss Asia frees the slaves reminded me of the time when Catherine Zeta-Jones saved Mexico single-handedly in THE MASK OF ZORRO.)

At one point, during one of the hero's slow-motion, shirtless running scenes, I pretended to be running with him. And Kacoon howled.

"No, it gets more gay!" Kacoon said to me. "Soon, he's going to be covered in oil!"

It did. At one point, the hero, shirtless and doused in barrels of oil, deeply kisses a dead man underwater - to stay alive. (Yeah right.) I almost fell on the floor I was laughing so hard.

This reminds me, where can I hire myself an evil henchman? You know, someone who only exists to run at my more heroic enemies only to get killed?

And the ending, when Miss Asia frees the slaves (while I was wondering why they weren't all sick from being stuck in the back of a truck during an elaborate, multi-accident chase scene), also has her deliver what must be the worst line in the history of film.

Kacoon and I laughed so hard that we both cried. We're going to gather a group of people to see it again later this week. I suggest you do the same.

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