Review: Transporter 3
Plot: Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is back, and this time, he has to transport a mysterious Ukrainian girl named Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) from Marseille to Budapest. As an added incentive, Martin has an explosive bracelet locked to his wrist which will explode if he moves more than 75 feet from his signature Audi.
Review: I really liked the first TRANSPORTER film. It was a rock solid b- movie that showed Jason Statham had the chops to make it as a leading man, and I was as happy as anyone when the film ended up raking in the dough on DVD, guaranteeing a bigger and better sequel. Alas, that was not meant to be, as the sequel, while bigger, was hardly better. It changed Stathamís Frank Martin from a hard edged anti-hero, into a generic super hero capable of defeating armies of villains without breaking a sweat, or defying the laws of gravity with his seemingly magical Audi.
Thankfully, producer Luc Besson, perhaps sensing that he went a little overboard in the last installment, has brought THE TRANSPORTER back down to earth, and this feels a lot more like the first film than it does the second. While some scenes are still a little hard to swallow (heís still capable of making his Audi do anything, including driving onto the top of a speeding train), I appreciate the fact that theyíre at least trying to make a somewhat grittier film.
That said, thereís still a lot wrong with this movie, which is very disappointing as, after a relatively disappointing Bond entry with QUANTUM OF SOLACE, it would be nice to see a great action flick in theaters this holiday season. Sadly, TRANSPOTER 3 is far from being a great action film, and is rather a fairly mediocre one.
I think the big fault here lies with the choice of Olivier Megatron as director. While he certainly has a badass name (with a name like that, I bet no one picked on him in high school), heís nowhere near as good an action director as Louis Letterier, who helmed the first two films in the series, but has since moved onto greener pastures (literally, as he recently helmed THE INCREDIBLE HULK).
Megatron makes all the same mistakes Xavier Gens made in HITMAN last year (which, coincidentally or not, was also produced by Besson). The editing is way too frenetic, and the action scenes are cut so tight that itís nearly impossible to tell whatís going on, which is a real shame as Statham is a terrific martial artist, but is not able to show off the extent of his abilities with this style of editing.
Another huge problem with the film is the pacing, which at times is almost leisurely. It takes about a half hour before the first real fight scene, which is an eternity in action movie time. In a film like this, plot is not especially important, but so much time is spent establishing the non-existent chemistry between Statham and his freckled leading lady, Rudakova (who Besson reportedly discovered walking down the street one day, and on the spot decided to put her in his next film). Luckily, despite the horrendous editing, some of the action scenes are pretty cool- especially an awesome bicycle chase, which is like a parkour sequence, but with a bike instead of legs.
Statham is as cool as ever as the titular TRANSPORTER (and dude is cut!), but after his great performance in THE BANK JOB, itís obvious that heís capable of much more than he does here. While all in all, I still enjoyed the film on a B-movie level, itís nowhere near as good as it could have been. If the franchise continues, Besson should do what he can to get Letterier back on board. If youíre looking for a solid action film, see the underwhelming, but still solid QUANTUM OF SOLACE. This is strictly a DVD rental.