I have to say that despite being a big fan of action, b movies and straight to DVD fair, I haven't seen and I don't own many examples of it. I would like that to change though because really it's obviously where all the fun is being had. The action films I have mainly seen tend to belong to Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Wilis and of course I had come across Van Damme, Segal and even Norris in the past. Since websites like Hulu and Crackle have been set up I have been able to watch a few more of these types of films along with more Eastern fair with Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Chow Yun Fat. I am aware there is still a ton I need to learn on the subject and hopefully I can make this a goal for the future.
Now, to the films in hand. We watched the films as a double bill and first up was The Transporter, which I really enjoyed. The action, in particular, seemed inventive and varied, the plot, and this is usual in this sought of hokum, seemed particularly but gloriously contrived and the production values were pretty amazing considering the modest budget. They even quite effectively blow up a lighthouse in one ridiculous but fantastic scene.
Jason Statham, despite is beginnings with Guy Ritchie (who is not my favourite person) is incredibly watchable and a tremendous fighter, I am just not sure what accent he is doing in this film. The few long periods of talking he does have it seems to veer all over the place from cockney, American, Australian via Irish and back again. Considering his back story is not explored hugely does it matter? They should've had him talking normally. The other stand out member of the cast is the police officer played by François Berléand, who is splendidly French in everything he does and a surprisingly welcome all for our hero. The woman is annoying though and you don't fully buy their romance or her story but that's fine, for these sorts of things we suspended disbelief. Overall I really liked this movie and will definitely watch Transporter 2.
Luc Besson has been churning these little France based action flicks out for some time (more recently Taken and From Paris with Love) and all of them seem to be just tremendous fun, the one thing you have to sort of tune out is the soundtrack. The soundtrack for The Transporter is abysmal and Kiss of the Dragon is not much of an improvement.
So that leads us, quite nicely if I do say so my damn self, to Kiss of the Dragon. Out of the two movies I still preferred this one but not by a huge margin (and I think that's mostly to do with how bad the soundtrack was to The Transporter). Again the plot is pretty ludicrous but it's nice to see all the chop socky action play out with Paris as a back drop and despite not having much to really do but play your typical prostitute with a heart of gold in distress, it's always nice to see Bridget Fonda in something.
It's also incredible that in a French produced movie there is not really one nice French person in it, they are all scumbags. The lead scumbag of course coming in the form of the gloriously over-the-top, Gary-Oldman-in-Leonesque Inspector Richard. His tremendously craggy face, like an Easter Island head come alive, dripping with every ounce of venom and malice he can muster. Also, it is wonderful to see Burt Kwouk in this film. The action, of course, is first rate and Jet Li is a captivating screen presence. The video game/Enter the Dragon ending where he must face one foe after another, each more menacing and hard to beat than the last, is terrific and features an entire room of karate black belts and some enormously muscular, white haired twins.
The reliance on his magic little acupuncture pins may seem a little far fetched for some but, I think, anything like that just has to be accepted and gone along with.
So while neither of these would ever make my list of top 10 action movies of all time (a list I have yet to compile actually but I will one day) they are both really enjoyable; throw away yes but well worth a look, or a second look.
The Transporter - 7 out of 10 cups of coffee
Kiss of the Dragon - 7 out of 10 cups of coffee
Points from The Misses:
The Transporter - 6 out of 10 cups of coffee
Kiss of the Dragon - 8 out of 10 cups of coffee