Transporter 3
dir Olivier Megaton
scr Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
with Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, François Berléand, Robert Knepper, Jeroen Krabbé, Alex Kobold, Yann Sundberg, Eriq Ebouaney, Timo Dierkes, Silvio Simac, Farid Elouardi, Paul Barrett
release Fr/US 26.Nov.08,
UK 5.Dec.08
08/France Europa 1h44
Transporter 3
Take it off: Statham with random goons (above) and Rudakova (below)
Transporter 3
The Transporter (2002) Transporter 2 (2005)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Transporter 3 Unbelievably, Besson and Kamen somehow make a film that's even dumber than part 2, which really takes some doing. But they've still got the superbly watchable Statham at the centre, so the script is fairly irrelevant.

Mercenary driver Frank (Statham) is enjoying his retirement near Marseilles with cop pal Tarconi (Berleand) when he's dragged back into action by the nefarious Johnson (Knepper), who's intent on blackmailing a Ukrainian politician (Krabbe) by kidnapping his daughter Valentina (Rudakova). For some inexplicable reason, Johnson invests millions in technology and a staff of burly goons to force Frank to drive Valentina from France to Odessa for the big hand-off. But of course, Frank doesn't follow anyone's orders. Heck, he doesn't even follow his own simple rules.

From the start, two things are clear: the story has absolutely no logic, and director Megaton (great stage name) is trying to distract us from this fact with a whirling flurry of editing gimmicks. There's hardly a single shot that's held on screen without some sort of jittering visual trickery, and each fight scene is made up of so many shots that it feel almost like stop-motion. This looks pretty cool on screen, especially when combined with gleaming cars and grunting meathead thugs, but it makes it very difficult to see Cory Yuen's inventive fight choreography.

What makes the film a guilty pleasure is the dry, likeable Statham, who's become so outrageously ripped that when he flexes his back we're sure it's a digital effect. He happily gets his shirt off for no reason, including a fight in which he uses removed clothing to vanquish each attacker. Rudakova is a typical Besson babe: she looks exotic and enticing, and doesn't need to be able to act. And Knepper makes such a decent villain that afterwards you'll swear he was twirling a moustache.

Meanwhile, the blunt, meaningless dialog batters us into submission (with welcome respites during unsubtitled French-language scenes). And most of the utterly random action sequences look terrific, with audacious wit that lets us accept the sheer preposterousness. But from the beginning, we can't escape a nagging sense that the entire set-up is a joke, especially in one desperate chase that blurs the line with Statham's Crank franchise.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 24.Nov.08

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© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall