Move over, Vin Diesel, because The Transporter, Hong Kong action veteran Corey Yuen’s English-language directorial debut, is revving up to steal your thunder. As the other top-billed action star to emerge in 2002, British hunk Jason Statham–previously seen in Snatch, Ghosts of Mars, and The One–plays a hard-driving courier for well-heeled underworld clients. He follows simple rules: (1) Stick to the deal; (2) Don’t ask names; and (3) Don’t look in the packages he transports. All’s well until he violates rule 3, discovering a Chinese beauty (Qi Shu) in the trunk of his tricked-out BMW, and foiling a deadly plot to smuggle Chinese slaves through the port of Marseilles. The first hour is ass-kickin’ fun, and the stuntwork is impressive throughout, even as the plot degenerates into a predictable series of bone-breaking showdowns. Statham boasts an appealing combination of brains and brawn, suggesting the suave versatility of a promising career. Coproduced by action auteur Luc Besson and filmed on dazzling French locations, The Transporter is an action fan’s delight. –Jeff Shannon
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