Jason Statham - Frank Martin
Francois Berleand - Inspector Tarconi
Natalya Rudakova - Valentina
Robert Knepper - Johnson
Justin Rodgers Hall - Horatio
Eriq Ebouaney - Ice
Jeroen Krabbe - Leonid Vasilev
David Atrakchi - Malcolm Manville
Genre - Action
Running Time - 100 Minutes
Score - 2.5 Howls Outta 4
Jason Statham has had a pretty up-and-down 2008 when it comes to movies. He started out the year with Uwe Boll's IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE that ended up being a lousy flick with Statham being the best part of it. Then we had the action-drama, THE BANK JOB, which was a good film with a very good performance from Statham. Unfortunately, no one went to see it until DVD. Then we have the remake of DEATH RACE 2000 titled DEATH RACE, which was a decent action flick.
And now we have TRANSPORTER 3, which is supposed to be the "final" film in the trilogy of Frank Martin. Combining the story element of the first part and the over-the-top action for the second part, TRANSPORTER 3 attempts to be the best of both worlds for action fans. Unfortunately, TRANSPORTER 3 is just another in the line of three-quels that ends up being more disappointing than anything. While still an entertaining film carried once again by Jason Statham, TRANSPORTER 3 shows that this franchise may be out of gas.
Frank Martin (Jason Statham) gets called on another job. This time, it's to transport some red-headed annoying Russian bimbo named Valentina (Natalya Rudankova). However, something's weird about this mission. One, no destination is set to leave Valentina. Two, Frank has to waste gas by driving around for hours while his GPS is updated to tell him his next move. And third, the guy who hired Frank for this mission, Johnson (Robert Knepper), doesn't trust people with his packages. So to make sure everything goes as planned, he makes both Frank and Valentina wear these bracelets that will explode if either one of them is more than 75 feet away from the car. How will Frank and Valentina get these things off? What is Johnson's true plan? And why is this Valentina bitch so damn annoying? Transport her ass six feet under, Frank!
TRANSPORTER 3 is a hit-and-miss with me. I was entertained by this sequel, but it just wasn't as fun as the first two installments. Maybe that's because we've pretty much seen this film twice before. Maybe that's because the action isn't really all that spectacular or even frequent. Maybe that's because one of the actors in the film gave me a headache. I dunno. But TRANSPORTER 3 tries to mix the best qualities of the first two films into a single film and pretty much loses what made these films so good to begin with.
The story was probably the worst of the three. I understood it. It had entertaining aspects to it. But for the most part, it did nothing for me. The whole anti-environmental scheme in these action flicks is getting old. And then the love interest sub-plot between Frank and Valentina was grating, especially when this was pretty much 65 percent of the film. While I think Statham and Rudakova look like a hot couple, they just annoyed me together. The constant sparring is supposed to be charming and a turn-on. Here, it just made me want to rip my hair out of my scalp. And then when the seduction stuff does happen, it was more weird than anything. I dunno, I thought Frank had more chemistry with Shu Qi and Amber Valletta in the previous flicks. The love angle didn't really work for me here but at least Frank got some!
Anyone looking for character development will surely be disappointed. Not that I think anyone would expect that in a film called TRANSPORTER 3. But if you were looking for some deep stuff here, go see AUSTRALIA or something and leave me alone!
The action, while not as frequent as in the other TRANSPORTER installments, still manages to get the job done. We get cars parking on trains. We get Statham ripping his clothes off [again] and using them against his adversaries. We get some driving on two wheels and cutting through tractor trailers. I also liked the chase where Frank's car was stolen and he had to catch up before he blew up. The action is great here [again, nice choregraphy by Corey Yuen] and I wish there was more of it instead of having the romance sub-plot be the true focus of this film. I don't care if Frank gets poontang! I want to see him kick ass!
The direction by newcomer to the series, Olivier Megaton, does decent. His directorial style is very in your face. Lots of close-ups. Lots of jump cuts that work for some scenes but totally destroy the effectiveness of the action sequences. The camera shakes quite a bit as well, which is somewhat annoying here. I understand Megaton is trying to set a quick-paced atmosphere here, but I actually want to see the action go on. You could do it in a way that works, like in the BOURNE sequels. But it's just distracting in TRANSPORTER 3. But I liked that the 100 minutes never felt long and the cinematography was pretty cool too. Not as good as Louis Letterier, but decent enough.
The acting...well, you're not watching these flicks for the thespian work, are you? Jason Statham is still one of the coolest motherfuckers on the planet and could play Frank Martin in his sleep. He carries this film single-handedly and is the only real reason to watch this sequel. He gets more to do dialogue-wise than he did in TRANSPORTER 2 and does it quite well. He's the star of this film and makes sure everyone knows it. Natalya Rudakova, unfortunately, is the total opposite. She's pretty good-looking but recites lines like she's reading off of a cue card. She says things without showing any sign of personality [not like the character has any to begin with but at least attempt it]. She whines a bit. She's just grating and irritating to watch. A WAY better actress could have taken this nothing character and at least made her somewhat interesting. Rudakova doesn't even bother and she makes the viewers suffer for it.
Robert Knepper, who stars on FOX's Prison Break, did nothing for me as Johnson. The villain is totally one-note and is never really creepy or evil. And it's sad because Knepper does both well on Prison Break. And Francois Berleand is still cool as Inspector Tarconi. Unfortunately, he doesn't share all that many scenes with Statham that I would have liked and is again underused as far as I'm concerned. But I still enjoyed him here nonetheless.
TWO THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE ACCESSORIZING MY KILLER BRACELET WITH MY BEDAZZLER
- Frank and Valentina were trapped wearing bracelets that would explode if they were 75 feet away from their vehicle. Not only did this rip off SPEED, but was it really necessary to rub the whole bracelet thing in front of Statham's friend, Guy Ritchie? I mean, that's why Ritchie stayed with that nutty Madonna all those years, right?
- The Russian Valentina annoyed me with her harsh English and her dull personality. It just made me want to t.A.t.U. my foot print in her ass for "All The Things She Said".
THE FINAL HOWL
If you liked the first two TRANSPORTER flicks, you'll find something to like about TRANSPORTER 3. It's not a horrible way to spend 100 minutes, but there was a lot of potential here for a better sequel. I hope this is the last TRANSPORTER flick because I think the series has finally run its course. But I can't say I wasn't entertained by this installment. I still get a kick watching cars doing death-defying stunts and a single man taking down an entire group of fighters by himself. Leave the brain at home and try not to be annoyed by that Russian broad. You'll be fine. My bro-mance with Jason Statham continues on.