The Transporter, starring Jason Statham, has spawned a TV show that features Chris Vance. Do the fights in the series match the fights in the Luc Besson films?

In the never-vacant category of “TV shows based on hit films, either in development or on the air,” there are currently 35 entries. One of the newest is Transporter: The Series, which plays on TNT in the United States. It’s derived from Luc Besson's Transporter movies, which featured Jason Statham as Frank Martin, a freelance courier whose driving style is as fast and powerful as his fighting style. Unfortunately, the key to the films' success — Statham's ability to deliver the goods in frenetic, Hong Kong-style fight scenes that were choreographed by Cory Yuen Kwei — is absent from the series. So just how do the resulting TV battles compare to the film fights? There are three reasons the fights in Transporter: The Series fall short. First is the star. Chris Vance as Martin resembles Roger Moore's debonair Simon Templar in The Saint TV show (1962-1969) more than he does Statham’s portrayal of Martin. Suffice it to say that Vance’s martial arts skills could use some work, as well. Second is the choreographer. Mohamed Elachi's fight scenes are like a seesaw. In other words, the action goes up and down. It’s bad most weeks, but sometimes it gets better — although it’s never really great. Third is the fact that the fights in the series are not as important to the plot as Besson demanded for his movies. None of this means that Transporter: The Series sucks; it just means the fights need work.


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The first episode, which aired in late 2014, showed Vance using weak boxing stances, performing one-step-sparring moves with big windups, and doing silly things like stepping onto a car hood and then jumping into the air (not very high) before executing a simple punch. The second episode tried to conceal Vance's skill level by using shifty camera movements — aka the “earthquake cam.” Interestingly, this technique was used often in samurai movies from the 1970s. In the ensuing weeks, Vance's signature movements became apparent: the head butt, the noggin smash into a wall or plate glass, the step-jump that leads into an attack and a front kick that’s reminiscent of Kwai Chang Caine.

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On the positive side: An episode that aired in January 2015 had Vance fighting the Chinese Triads, and the star actually did a ton of decent martial arts moves. Making it even better, the choreography involved more props, incorporated the environment, and used wider angles so viewers could see — and appreciate — the combat. Such is the nature of seesaw choreography. Sometimes, the first season of any TV series brings with it a learning curve that challenges the choreographer, the stuntmen and the actors. They’re tasked with developing a fight rhythm so that by the time the second season is under way, everyone is in sync and the choreographer knows how to work with non-martial-arts-practicing actors. That seems to be the case with Transporter: The Series. Because the choreography and camerawork in Transporter: The Series can change from episode to episode, it’s hard to predict whether a particular installment will feature good fights. With any luck, the cast and crew will find the right balance that will keep everyone happy. (Photos Courtesy of TNT, Cauvin-Chognard/CCSP) Go here to order Dr. Craig D. Reid’s book The Ultimate Guide to Martial Arts Movies of the 1970s: 500+ Films Loaded With Action, Weapons and Warriors.
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Dustin Poirier has knocked out Conor McGregor in the second round at the UFC 257 Main Event. This spoils McGregor's long-awaited UFC return after his win over Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone last January. Poirier hinted after the match that he would be open to another bout against McGregor, as this fight brings their rivalry to a 1-1 record. The impressive wins of Poirier and Michael Chandler on Saturday night set the UFC's lightweight division up for a very exciting future.

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Black Belt Magazine is proud to announce the NEW Member Profiles feature for the Hall of Fame. At the time of this article, the online records account for every inductee from the inaugural year of 1968 all the way through 1990 (upwards of 200 martial artists). The page will be updated continuously and will include every inductee through 2020 in the near future. For now, you can enjoy images and facts about the legendary members for each induction they received before 1991. Take advantage of this never-before-seen opportunity to learn about many of the martial artists who contributed to the lifestyle, culture, and community that every martial artist experiences today.

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The UFC returned to American network television for the first time in more than two years Saturday on ABC while former featherweight champion Max Holloway returned to his winning ways following two straight losses, earning a unanimous decision over Calvin Kattar in Abu Dhabi. Holloway showed he still has plenty left as a fighter dominating Kattar from the opening bell of the main event with a mix of punches and low kicks.

It appeared as if the former champion might stop his opponent in the fourth round landing a series of vicious body blows followed by hard elbows to the head as a bloodied Kattar sagged against the fence. But Kattar somehow survived managing to keep himself upright through the fifth stanza as well, only to lose a lopsided decision. After dropping his title to Alexander Volkanovski and then losing a controversial rematch, Holloway may have put himself in position for one more crack at the championship following Saturday's impressive performance.

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Jessie Wray's Virtual Fight Tour brought the heat in their fifth promotion with a call-out match, massive "Draft Edition" team fight, and a surprise bonus bout to bring sport karate fans an action-packed event.

The call-out match featured the Canadian veteran Ben Stewart as he challenged Black Belt Magazine's #3-ranked point fighting heavyweight in the world, Anthony Merricks of Team Next Level. After a new Virtual Fight Tour record was set in that bout, the action just kept getting more intense as Team Jadi Tention took on Team Richard Plowden in twelve total rounds of team fighting. Even after a thrilling team fight with numerous momentum shifts, promoter Jessie Wray still brought out one last fight to keep the fans happy. Keep reading to find out how it all went down at Virtual Fight Tour V: Draft Edition.
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