The Transporter appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Although much of the transfer looked very good, some minor but nagging issues occurred.
Most of those connected to sharpness. I noticed moderate and persistent edge enhancement through much of the flick, and that led to decreased definition in the wide shots. Those took on a mildly blurry appearance. Other elements were accurate and distinctive, though. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed virtually no print flaws. I saw one or two specks and that was it.
Unlike many ultra-stylized action movies, Transporter stayed with a reasonably warm and natural palette. The colors came across as lively and rich. Blacks were nicely deep and dense, while low-light shots offered good clarity. Really, the edge enhancement and the softness it created was the only thing that kept this from becoming a great transfer.
This release of The Transporter included both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. The DTS version was mastered at a slightly louder level and demonstrated marginally stronger low-end response, but overall, the pair seemed very similar. The DTS edition would get the minor edge from me, though it wasn’t enough of a difference to merit an alternate grade.
With all its combat and vehicular mayhem, the audio gave the soundfield a lot of room to move. We ended up with a consistently involving piece that used the various channels well. Music offered strong stereo presence while effects were appropriately placed and blended concisely. The cars and other vehicles transitioned cleanly across the speakers, and the track used the surrounds to good effect. They supported both music and effects well and offered plenty of unique material to create a vivid soundscape.
Audio quality impressed as well. Speech betrayed a smidgen of edginess at times but usually came across as crisp and distinctive. Music showed nice presence, with tight highs and warm lows. Effects added a strong impact. They were clean and accurate, and they demonstrated solid power from the low-end when necessary. Overall, the audio worked nicely.
For this “Special Delivery Edition” of The Transporter, the extras launch with an Audio Commentary from actor Jason Statham and producer Steven Chasman. Both men sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion. They cover subjects such as locations, stunts, characters, driving scenes, and casting. They also toss out a lot of praise for the flick and all involved, and the track frequently presents many moments of silence. In fact, Statham even apologizes for the quality of the commentary at one point. It’s a shame, for the actor seems like he’d be a fun guy with whom to chat at a bar, but this track lacks much to make it informative or engaging.
Next we get some Extended Fight Sequences. We get longer versions of “Wall Street’s House” (three minutes, 50 seconds), “Container Fight” (3:47) and “Bus Station/Oil Fight” (7:29). The scenes got cut mostly for rating issues, so they’re a bit more violent here. We can watch the sequences with or without commentary from Statham, Chasman and director Cory Yuen. Statham and Chasman dominate; translated remarks from Yuen pop up sporadically and come from a different session. They give us a few notes about shooting the sequences and trimming them, but don’t expect a lot of strong information.
Two featurettes follow. Behind the Scenes… The Transporter runs 34 minutes and 52 seconds. It mixes movie clips, behind the scenes bits, and interviews with Chasman, Statham, artistic director Lois Leterrier, car stunt coordinator Michel Julienne, stunt coordinator Philippe Guegan, special effects supervisor Georges Demetrau, first assistant director Stephane Moreno and actors Qi Shu, Matt Schulze and Francois Berleand. The program digs into shooting stunts, Statham’s physical preparation, the fights, challenges for non-English speakers, visual effects and post-production.
While “Scenes” includes a few interview bits and movie snippets, footage from the set strongly dominates the show. We get quite a lot of good material in that setting. The program lacks a coherent flow, as it skips from one topic to another without much logic, but all the nice shots behind the scenes make it quite interesting.
Called Making of The Transporter Original Version, the second featurette goes for 12 minutes. It includes remarks from Chasman, Statham, Yuen, Berleand, Qi Shu, and Leterrier. The program covers general notes about the movie’s origins, the cast and their work, shooting the action, and Luc Besson’s involvement. I expected this to be a bland promotional program, but it actually provided a pretty tight little featurette. It covered some of the same territory examined in “Scenes” but managed enough new shots and notes to be interesting. It’s definitely worth a look.
After this comes a Storyboard-to-Film Comparison that allows you to use the “angle” feature on your remote. You can flip from an actual side-by-side comparison of the boards and the final flick or look at either of them on their own. This is a decent little feature.
The DVD includes some trailers. We find ads for The Transporter and Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior along with a general promo called “If You Liked This Movie, You May Want to Try…”; it offers text ads for a few flicks.
Finally, Inside Look offers the expected preview of Transporter 2. In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a 10-minute and two-second “Behind the Scenes” glimpse of the flick. We get comments from Chasman as well as actors Amber Valletta, Jason Flemyng, Alessandro Gassman, Kate Nauta, and Keith David. As one might anticipate, this show conjures up a lot of promotional fluff. We don’t learn much about the production, though we do see some decent shots from the set. Nonetheless, it exists to tout the movie, so don’t expect more than that.
(By the way, am I the only one who thinks Kate Nauta is a dead ringer for singer Pink? I thought she was Pink when I saw the previews. And is it just me, or does Keith David look like he’s ready to star in The Barry Bonds Story?)
How do the extras on this “Special Delivery Edition” of The Transporter compare to those of the original DVD? It replicates everything on the old set but adds the “Behind the Scenes” featurette, the Storyboard-to-Film Comparisons, and the “Inside Look”.
While it mostly takes place on wheels, The Transporter reinvents none. However, it doesn’t need to, as it offers a pretty tight and enjoyable – though derivative – action flick. The DVD features good picture and audio plus a decent set of extras. I’d recommend this one for a mindless rental.
To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of THE TRANSPORTER