Theatrical Review: Transporter 3

Yet again, transporter Frank Martin finds himself in another dangerous situation, this time holding the daughter of a Ukrainian Prime Minister in tow, while an “evil corporation” is negotiating with him (the Prime Minister) to store their environmental waste, against his wishes, of course. The only catch, Frank and the girl, Valentina both have explosive devices attached to their wrists triggered to go off if they go further than 75 feet away from Frank’s car.

Now I really like the first two Transporter movies from director Louis Letterier and producer/writer Luc Besson, they’re just some good mindless fun, and for the most part, so is Transporter 3 this time with director Olivier Megaton (that’s his name) helming the action. And the action here is pretty darn good for the most part, but this film does have it’s draggy moments.

And most of those moments involve Frank’s “package,” the girl, Valentina, who is strictly his opposite number, a party girl who wants Frank to satisfy her in what she believes are her final moments alive. She’s pretty much the typical Luc Besson “heroin chic” type of girl, and this might not be so bad if the actress involved had any charisma or actual beauty to her, but mostly she comes off as an annoying skank, except for the final scene in the film.

Jason Statham reprises his role as Frank Martin and as always, Statham is solid as a rock. I make no apologies, I’m a huge fan of the guy and he’s had a pretty good year, not only being in this and Death Race, but also in what is one of the very best movies of 2008, The Bank Job. He’s always fun to watch and pretty much, if he’s in it, I’ll probably see it. François Berléand is back as Frank’s friend, Inspector Tarconi, and he’s solid as well. New to the series this time is Jeroen Krabbe (who I haven’t seen in anything in quite awhile, it used to be every time I was turning around he was in something- most notable in The Fugitive) as the Ukrainian Prime Minister, and the always reliable Robert Knepper as Johnson, the man pulling the strings on Frank, our villain of the piece. Most know Knepper as Tea-Bag each week on Prison Break and he’s just a great character guy and I hope he ends up in more movies. But as I said above, the biggest problem here is the actress who plays Valentina, Natalya Rudakova, who just has zero charisma, stilted English that sounds more like reading lines than anything else, and in my own opinion, just not that attractive at all. Some scenes in particular, especially when she’s trying to distract Frank from doing his job, you just want him to knock her out so we can get back to the action.

It’s not bad in the end, but it’s probably the weakest of the Transporter movies thus far, but hopefully it’ll still do well enough so that Luc Besson and company will still keep making them. If you like these movies, I expect that you’ll probably like this as well, though your mileage may vary with the Valentina character.

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

30. November 2008 by Darren Goodhart
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