Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”

By now the James Bond formula has become so rote that writers can apparently reproduce it in their sleep, which would explain this movie. There's the unflabbably cool hero and his European sports cars and fine attire, with the good woman and the bad woman dueling for his affections, and the colorful villain who combines the mad scientist with the cold strategist. Add a tacky musical number over the opening credits and you don't even need the Broccoli family.

Jason Statham is every bit as electric a lead actor as Pierce Brosnan, but that may be the film's only strength; not even Bond movies with their corny one-liners and plastic sex kittens are this downright stupid. With dialogue so terrible that not one word need be changed to spoof it ("I'm afraid your flight's been canceled." "I'm afraid you've been canceled!"), the film contains not one single convincing moment between plausible adult characters; everyone is a brain-dead action figure and/or an ugly ethnic caricature. Perhaps the self-admitted lack of wit befits the film's orgy of physically impossible action scenes, but it makes the cartoonish original film look like a model of naturalism. The action scenes themselves are mostly satisfying, including a third-act battle that evokes Jackie Chan's show-stopping gang battle in "Rumble in the Bronx," as Statham improvises weapons out of fire hoses and pieces of scaffolding, but even this high point has no sense of pacing or blocking, becoming dizzying where Chan was dazzling. You'll find your action-spectacle fix in "Transporter 2" if that's what you're after, but you'll have to sit through wince-inducing dialogue and an avalanche of tired genre conventions to get it. (Note: This movie, with its close-up cinematography and B-movie plotline, might play a lot better on DVD than in theaters.)

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