Let TNT’s ‘Transporter’ Take You on a Wild Ride
I love action films and all the craziness that happens in them. The days of John McClane (“Die Hard”) waltzing around Nakatomi Plaza and John Matrix (“Commando”) defeating an entire army single-handedly is now possible on the small screen with the increasingly large budgets of television programs. Naturally, when I heard they were making a TV series based on the “Transporter” films, I was very excited.
TNT’s recent order of “Transporter: The Series,” is a French-Canadian production set after the original trilogy of “Transporter” films and, as such, orients itself on lots of slick action. Starring Chris Vance (replacing Jason Statham) as Frank Martin, the eponymous Transporter who will deliver any package at a price, “Transporter: The Series” allows viewers a casual glimpse into the life of Frank Martin and his numerous contracts that always seem to have strings attached.
In this world of package delivery that is more extreme and faster than the USPS, Martin has to deliver his packages according to contract terms and try to abide by his three rules: 1. Never change the deal, 2. No names and 3. Never open the package. Of course, these never last long as Martin is forced to break them, time and again.
The first four episodes have taken us everywhere, from Martin delivering a car engine in Paris, a rendezvous with an old CIA mentor leading to a conspiracy, transferring a USB drive while under siege from a hit squad and a blood diamond trafficker and a race between two other transporters to get a lucrative contract. This highlights the show’s episodic format with a general narrative centering on Martin’s crew, allowing anyone to pick it up easily, without prior knowledge of the show or its source material, and enjoy.
The series also stars François Berléand as Inspector Tarconi, a French police officer who reluctantly helps Martin with plausible deniability, Andrea Osvárt as Carla Valeri, Martin’s reliable computer and information expert, Charly Hübner as Dieter Hausmann, his trusty tech expert and mechanic and Delphine Chanéac as Juliette Dubois, a DCRI agent tracking down transporters. The cast all work well together, clearly fulfilling their different roles in the overall narrative and generally helping Martin along the way.
It is not without its faults, however. Like most other action-adventure series, the main characters have some character development, but the minor characters tend to be stoic, uninteresting at times and sometimes even moronic.
Additionally, the dialogue is rather simple and to the point, which depending upon your view, may be a positive or a negative. The humor is delivered with irony and sarcasm, with the occasional cliché joke or pun. But these things happen on all shows, even classics like “The A-Team” and “24.” One final thing to note about the series is that you can clearly hear and see the obvious censorship by the FCC.
The end result is a show with high production value that draws from the classic action movie genre, complete with explosions, gunfights, car chases and fist fights, along with a side of humor and humility.
RECOMMENDED: If you like action, cars and simple yet entertaining fun, “Transporter: The Series” will take you on a ride.