Transporter 3

Director    Olivier Megaton
Starring    Jason Statham, Robert Knepper, Natalya Rudakova, Alex Kobold, Eriq Ebouaney
Release    26 NOV (US) 5 DEC (UK)    Certificate 15
2 stars


11th December 2008

The Transporter series can be summed up pretty easily. Jason Statham, a glorified courier in a suit, drives about delivering various unmentionable items. He gets in a few scraps, he has a couple of car chases, he takes his shirt off on more than one occasion, deals with some uninspiring cock-tease and Audi sell a few more cars. Transporter 3 pretty much sticks to that formula.

The Stath, slipping on the driving gloves of Frank Martin for the third time, is assigned by a terrorist named Johnson (hur hur) to deliver human cargo Valentina (Rudakova), the kidnapped daughter of the head of the Ukrainian Environmental Protection Agency - cue an arse-numbingly long drive from Marseille to Odessa with a few punch-ups along the way. What's new for our muscle-bound courier? Well, it goes a little Speed-meets-Battle Royale as - and you'll like this - Frank and his slutty new friend have these fancy bracelets on that will blow up if he or she goes more than 75-feet from the car. Oh yeah, there's something to do with blackmail, pollution and ships in there too. I know - exhilarating stuff!

Jason Statham, sounding more and more like Phil Mitchell with every film, has become the go-to guy if your movie requires a tough 'n' gruff Cockney. However, screenwriter Luc Besson attempts to humanise Frank Martin somewhat, and things get a little sentimental as a result. Not only is he a keen fisherman (he even has fishing DVDs), but he only goes and falls in love! However, that doesn't mean he's any less of an 'ard nut and can still overcome a garage full of generic thugs coming at him one by one. But why he decides to de-robe while overcoming these ruffians is anyone's guess. Before you know it, he's down to his slacks, hitting a bloke with his belt. Thankfully we're spared the sight of a pant-less Statham stuffing his socks down the henchmen's throats.

Valentina, the 'package' Frank has to deliver, is a confusing character. She transforms from a sulking mute who's convinced she's going to die, to a vodka-chugging, pill-popping party animal with little self-respect. But somewhere in between, Frank falls for her. It must've been those long, detailed speeches about dinner that did it: it seems everything she says is about her stomach. Despite her annoyance, she does make the journey more interesting for the gents, and those freckles? Pretty sexy.

New director Olivier Megaton (a better name even than Part 2 director Louis Leterrier) doesn't really bring anything new to the table. The fight scenes are over choreographed and defy logic and reason, while the car chases just seem to fizzle out. In a world of disturbingly realistic scraps (Bond, Bourne etc.), Transporter 3's punch-ups border on lunacy.

One highlight however, is watching Stath chase after his car on a kids' bike through Bucharest's sweatshop district. So, not only is Frank Martin a fine driver and a skilled fighter, he's also pretty handy on a BMX. But if Jason Statham wants to be taken seriously as an actor, riding around on a kids' bike isn't the way to do it. Still, there's always Crank 2: High Voltage... God help us all.

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