Jason Statham returns in the second unnecessary sequel in his Transporter series, this time with a new director and an environmentally conscious plot - sort of.
Transporter 3 takes a page from Statham's other series Crank and puts Statham's Frank Martin in a quasi race against time as he is fitted with a personalized bomb that will detonate if he gets further than 25 feet from his car. Considering that he absolutely loves his car, there's not much conflict here, but when he is forced to transport - and then protect - the drugged-out daughter of a Ukrainian politician, some action ensues.
Neither of the first two Transporter movies are exactly the beacon of high-quality entertainment, but both have their appeal. As far as intentional B-grade fare is concerned, the Transporter movies do what they have to do, offering plenty of macho man scenes and ludicrous, non-stop action.
Unfortunately, relatively new director Olivier Megaton isn't up to the task. Transporter 3 lacks the thrills and excitement of the previous films, resulting in a bland, unoriginal and uninteresting finale - hopefully - to the trilogy. While still watchable due to the fact that one can never expect too much out of a movie such as this, there are much better action movies out there, including several that star Mr. Statham.
Aside from lacking any discernable plot, there are two big problems with the movie: the action and the female lead.
The action is inconsistent, both in volume and quality. While there are a couple decently choreographed fight scenes, the action is too scripted and orderly. Frank rarely finds himself in a situation that worries him, which is important because he's Mr. Tough Guy. Without sweating a drop, he takes down 30 guys at a time with succinct precision, one after the other. It's like watching a good Jackie Chan fight, only without the painful injuries, props and Jackie Chan.
The movie also doesn't seem as fast paced as the others. Megaton, who really doesn't weigh that much, sidetracks the action to progress the nonexistent plot, stopping for such things as a completely unbelievable [PG-13] sex scene and some other aimless plodding. When all is said and done, Transporter 3 is neither smart not action-packed, and that's not a good combination.
As to the sex scene in the movie, the problem with it is that the female lead, played by Natalya Rudakova, is not very good at all. As she is both central to the presumed plot and the love interest, this is not good. First off, while she's a good-looking girl, she is not nearly as smoking hot as the script treats her. Without those incredible looks, it's hard to figure out what Frank ends up liking about her, considering that she's a drug-using drunk who does stupid thing after stupid thing and acts like a 12-year old brat.
Robert Knepper also doesn't play a very convincing bad guy.
Inadequate action, poor casting and a nonexistent plot are just a few of the problems with Transporter 3. It still has its moments and should satisfy the truly diehard Transporter fans, but everyone else should, sadly, look forward to Crank 2.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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