Transporter 3 (2008)
Do I really need to present you with some sort of plot synopsis for Transporter 3? No, I didn’t think so. More of the same as Frank Martin (Jason Statham) and his police chum, Inspector Tarconi (Francois Berleand) become embroiled in yet another high-octane escapade. There's fights, car stunts, exotic international locations and a strong sense of humour. This time, the disposable love interest is a Ukrainian girl named Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) who fulfils her role succinctly. The film benefits by being set back in Europe, after the mistake of basing Transporter 2 in the US. This time, the story takes us to such locations as Budapest and Odessa. The international film crew once again bring a veneer of panache to the production that is conspicuously absent in US action movies. For a modest budget fil, Transporter 3 it looks very good. Again the proceedings are given a boost by a pertinent soundtrack by Alexandre Azaria and a selection of European “tunes”.
The fight scenes and car chases are well crafted and pitched at the right level for a PG-13 rated action-fest. The devil is in the editing, which is done in a very modern idiom, as you would expect. It is this fast pace style that allows the film to be get away with some of the content. The violence is strong but not dwelt upon. There are also some subtle references within the fight sequences to other classic films. Particularly Fist of Fury and Game of Death. Film buffs will know them when they see them. The dry banter between Statham and the sundry heavies he dispatches works well and embellishes the action. The franchise by this instalment has developed a sense of self-parody and there’s an amusing scene in which Frank give chase, not via some high-performance car but by bicycle instead. The joke works well, which is a surprising for a film that is derivative of a genre, that in itself, is self-plagiarising.
Transporter 3 has no pretensions to be anything else, other than what it is. It is very dumb, stylised and no cliché is left unturned. Its tone is pitched just right for this sort of movie. There is a running joke about Frank not liking to get his suit dirty when fighting and his disrobing becomes a potential weapon. The underlying homoeroticism of previous movies is openly explored this time (“You’re the gay?”) and is rather amusing. All in all, this film delivers perfectly what you expect in such a genre offering. Director Olivier Megaton (Taken 2 and Taken 3) thrives on this sort of material and seems to know inherently how to handle it. For once the movies rating and content do not work against it. The Transporter franchise may well be commercial and disposable, but it is also very entertaining. This in some respects, is the best sequel. The TV series that followed was lacklustre and the 2015 reboot failed to ignite audiences’ interest, despite Ed Skrein doing his best. The shadow of Jason Statham looms large in this franchise.