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Transporter 3

Movie title: Transporter 3 (2008)
Grade: F (0 stars) The Best of the Worst of 2008!
Rated: PG-13
Director: Olivier Megaton
Producers: Luc Besson, Steve Chasman
Starring: Jason Statham “Frank Martin,” Natalya Rudakova “Valentina,” François Berléand “Inspector Tarconi,” Robert Knepper “Johnson,” Jeroen Krabbé “Leonid Vasilev,” Alex Kobold “Leonid's Aide,” David Atrakchi “Malcom Manville.”
Genre: Action
Summation: Frank Martin puts the driving gloves on again, this time to deliver the kidnapped daughter of a Ukranian government official, but he is caught in the middle of two struggling powers who seek to intercept the girl’s safe delivery.
Spoilers ahead: No

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When I sat down to watch Transporter 3, naturally, I had my suspicions that it wasn’t going to pan out to be much of a movie. How good can a “tough guy” movie really be, right? You either like mindless, macho, against-all-odds action or you don’t. But this addition to the Transporter series sucked in quite a big way, which is to say, it sucked even by the standards of “tough guy” movies.

The plot is there, but it’s dangerously skinny and seldom focused on. A powerful environmentalist figure (Leonid Vasilev) is being blackmailed by industrialist thugs who called upon the services of organized crime lord (Johnson) to kidnap the man’s daughter and deliver her to him only after papers are signed that would allow for the passage of eight toxic waste vessels into Ukrainian waters. The blackmailers contact Frank Martin to get the job done.

As stated, the plot is there, but it isn’t to be taken seriously. It’s really just an excuse to get to the action, which consists of the usual unbelievable transporter-style cheese of car chases and multiple opponent fights that climb to the top of Mount Improbable.

There are those clichéd tough guy lines: “First time for everything.” “My boss doesn’t take no for an answer.” Then, there is the mean, obsessed, and powerful crime boss that will go to mental lengths to get what he wants, even shooting his own men for questioning him. That’s real unique, isn’t it! But little things like these would scarcely be mentionable were it not for so many other, more glaring faults, including dragging and pointless dialogue, very little of which actually contributes to the plot.

Poorly selected background music was noticeable, but not as bad as the typically fidgety and hard-to-follow fight scenes where thugs get sent to whip butts with pipes, chains, and crude weapons—they don’t use guns because that would ruin opportunities for Statham to fight shirtless in lustful view of a cute red head!

The badness only gets worse. After a fight scene in a garage, a big “boss enemy” pops in to finish the job, and he throws Statham through solid thick-bricked walls that would easily make bug-splatter of a human being. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought we were passed the days of Double Dragon where a hunky green Obobo comes out of the next room when Billy Lee finishes up with the little guys!

To me, Martin carrying spare shirts in the trunk of his car to be put on after fight sequences is a little odd. Other oddities come in the form of little known science facts—did you know that a person sitting in a car in a busy marketplace can hear a pay phone ringing from 35 feet away with the windows rolled up? I did not know that! Another thing I didn’t know is that Frank Martin was an expert in the art of underwater tire breathing!

We have Statham on a bike chasing someone who stole his car, taking shortcuts through factories, and then dropkicking the car thief through the driver’s side window and back out onto the street. This is only one of many outrageously unbelievable action scenes, but most assuredly not as unbelievable as the kicked-out window of the car being unbroken by the very next camera shot and for the rest of the movie!

A number of plot-hole problems exist. Why Johnson couldn’t just detonate Martin’s bracelet to blow him up and be done with him when he no longer served a purpose is a mystery. Supposedly, Johnson was using “hush, hush” Pentagon secret technology. He boasts in the film of the virtues of progress and efficiency as opposed to waste, and yet ironically, he preferred to do things the less efficient way.

Choppy camera work is standard, even during hand-to-hand fighting exchanges. Just when you begin to appreciate a scene, the camera convulsively flips off it. The car chases can’t be appreciated for the same reason. Not a single action sequence in the entire film can be enjoyed because of the horrible cinematography and choreography. Why so many directors have taken such a liking to shaking the camera to intensify action is beyond me!

The failed stints at humor are surpassed in repulsion only by the constant references to food and gourmet cuisine. Other oddities catch attention, like driving on two wheels, off-road racing in German sedans, and conveniently placed cliffs to end car chases in a typically exploding crash scene. The romance in this film is insulting, not to mention forced. Take it out of the film and you’d have 35 minutes of extra film time to play with.

Let’s see…what else do we have? Oh yeah, we have villains having their faces spat upon and then gracefully wiping it off. Oh, now that’s never been done before!

It takes a very undiscerning and immature mind to appreciate this. The most diehard Transporter fans will no doubt be disappointed in this sorry sequel. Though expectedly lacking in quality and intelligence as most Van Damme-ish fighting flicks are, Transporters 1 had at least a little substance to it, and Transporter 2 less so. Not this one. This one is crap and claims its prize as the best of the worst of 2008.

(JH)

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