Friday, December 05, 2008
Movie Review: Transporter 3
I managed to get down to the multiplex tonight to catch the new Jason Statham flick Transporter 3. It should be said that I am a huge fan of the first two, as pure popcorn camp fun. Seeing these movies I don't necessarily look for a plot or great acting, not all films should be judged on that. Sometimes a fun campy action film is just what the doctor ordered to take the edge off the day and to have a good time with something that doesn;t require any more thought than drive, punch, and shoot.
Transporter 3 finds Statham reprising the role of Frank Martin, an ex-Special Forces officer who is now a professional driver and delivery man. Any package, any time, he is the man for the job. After the exploits of the first two films, Frank has returned to France to hang out with his French police lieutenant pal when he is drug into delivering package he doesn't want to deliver. An old acquaintance and fellow transporter shows up at Frank's house with two things, a Russian beauty and bracelet wire to explode if he gets more than 75 feet from the car.
When the guys chasing Frank's friend arrive at his house, they capture him and force him to deliver the package, by attaching the bomb to him. Forced to drive against his will, Frank plays both the kidnappers and the merc's who want to take the girl away against each other, and try to figure out how to get rid of the bomb.
Let's start with the good. Statham embodies the role of macho action hero. He is great in the fight scenes and is creating a niche for himself with roles that were once so prevalent in the 80's, like Stallone and Schwarzenegger, here in the 2000's. It has some great chase sequences and fight scenes. I especially liked the sequence which Statham has to overtake his own stolen car on a bicycle. The fight direction is comperable to the first film in creating one versus many encounters and in using the environment around Statham as a weapon, including many times his own clothes.
Another note is on the Russian kidnapping victim, Valentina, played by newcomer Natalya Rudakova, she is rocking a very different look for movies. With heavy freckles and heavier mascara, she goes from a girl who at first isn't that hot, but the more you are around her the better looking she becomes. She is no great actress by any stretch, but she is the type of character you would look for in this kind of story. Angry at first, then spoiled, then falls into the predictable, but not unwanted, love story/sex scene with the star. I like that the film makers went with a different look for the movies love interests, it created a very different vibe.
I have to admit that I was a tad disappointed in the story. There was to much! Transporter 1 established the over the top fight scenes and paper thin plot that made the film successful. Transporter 2 amped up the adrenalin and stunts to an even greater level. Less plausibility but greater spectacle. In the third film they actually rein it in to have a much tighter script (though far fetched), and though they push the envelope of believability, it is far more grounded than the first two films. I actually thought that the people (like me) who want to see this action flick, don't care how unreasonable it is as long as you keep up the sights and sounds.
Here is the bottom line, Transporter 3 is a fun flick, but not great. It doesn't equal the same levels of cheesy camp and over the top zealotry of the first two, or in the likes of Crank and Shoot'em Up. I'd say wait for DVD and that hurts a bit because I wanted to see this movie a lot. I knew it would be bad, but in that good way, and instead I found it was just a little to good to be bad enough for me to like it. I thought it was funny that my room mate, who hated the second one for its over the top appeal, liked this one better for its more plausible story and character development. All the while me liking it less for the same reason.While I would not say that this film is a bad choice, it just didn't live up to my expectations. It was actually better than I wanted it to be. I hope that makes some kind of sense. This was an instant where I wanted quanity over quality, something I don't think many movie goers look for all that often.
Transporter 3, starring Jason Statham and Natalya Rudakova, directed by Olivier Megaton, and written by Luc Besson.
End of Line.