For the first half of Transporter 3, the character of Frank Martin (Jason Statham) comes about as close as he ever does to being the person that he’s built up to be in the first scene of the first Transporter. He’s cold, detached, and just wants to get the job done. Unfortunately, this, once again, is disregarded when a love interest shows up, and the film takes a hit because of this decision.
The time around, Frank winds up being captured and forced to transport something for a villain named Johnson (Robert Knepper). He has a bomb attached to his wrist that will detonate if he finds himself 75 feet away from his car. He really doesn’t have a choice here, and decides to just go with the flow, all while looking for a way out. Things don’t go as planned, as they never do, and he ends up involved in a bunch of car chases, fist fights and other action scenes. He has a passenger too, named Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), who ends up being the aforementioned love interest, despite her never doing anything but whine or mope about her situation.
The plot, this time around, focuses on blackmail and a company that may not be in the best interest of global health. We cut to shots of some ships off the coast, which need permission to dock. Or something like that. It really didn’t make all that much sense, and it’s all just a reason to have Jason Statham driving fast and punching some people in the face. Action scenes dominate this picture, but unfortunately they’re not all that interesting, entertaining or creative.
There isn’t a single action scene in Transporter 3 that you haven’t seen before, and done better. While the chase scenes are still somewhat thrilling, the fights aren’t. They’re full of quick cuts which make is somewhat difficult to tell what’s going on, and apart from one that has a slightly creative use of clothing, they’re all fairly mundane as far as these things go. But then again, he uses the clothing this way similarly to how the fire hose was used in Transporter 2, so I suppose it’s not that creative here anyway.
However, the fight scenes don’t make much sense from the bad guys’ perspective either. They attack Frank one at a time, even if there are 15 men surrounding him. they have weapons, he doesn’t, so why don’t they swarm him? Well, because that would inconvenience our hero, I guess. But it makes it feel unauthentic, and yes, I say that in context of a film that has a car drive on its side to pass two trucks on the road.
Like the first Transporter, the soundtrack is terrible and doesn’t fit the action on-screen whatsoever. It’s noisy, noticeable and a nuisance, distracting us instead of immersing. It’s like listening to someone who has just recently discovered that music can be put on top of footage, and they forgot to select appropriate tracks or use the volume feature. As a result, you almost feel the need to turn the volume down, but stop because then you won’t get to hear Jason Statham talk — he’s such a quiet action hero.
At least he’s slightly charismatic, even if he rarely shows emotion. His ride-along partner is worse. She’s annoying, shows even less range than Statham (is that even possible?) and serves simply to make you want to kick her out of the vehicle. Natalya Rudakova is a newcomer to the acting world, but despite getting months of acting lessons, still cannot act. She often looks lost, and her character was written poorly. When the bad guys show up with “all the guns”, I wanted her to take a bullet to the brain. Somehow, Frank Miller fell in love.
In action scenes, we need something apart from the action to hold us. The first Transporter didn’t give us anything supplementary, and it failed as a result. Transporter 2 did, which allowed it to be a lot of fun. Falling into the traps of the first film, Transporter 3 has nothing else to hold or involve us, and since the action scenes are not well-made, you’ll likely get bored instead of having fun. If an action film is not fun, it’s not doing its job well enough.
There are only a couple of ties that this film has to its two predecessors. The first is Frank Martin, and the second is the inclusion of the French police officer, Tarconi (François Berléand). For (hopefully) the final time, this character serves little purpose and just pads the runtime. He is always one step behind Frank and the villains, and even when he does catch up to them, he does nothing.
The reasons one would want to watch this type of film are obvious. You want a quick adrenaline rush, you want to watch Jason Statham have his shirt torn off a few times, or you want to watch poor filmmaking in action. If you are not wanting to see one of these three things, then you might as well just skip this film, because you’ll take absolutely nothing from it.
Transporter 3 is not a good action film. It has absolutely nothing going for it, except for maybe Jason Statham in the lead role. Apart from that, the action scenes are difficult to watch, the plot is there just to set-up action scenes, there aren’t any good characters, and I found myself wanting to press “mute” whenever music started playing. I didn’t care about anything that was happening, and found myself glancing at the clock, hoping that it would end soon. Thankfully, it’s a short film, so you won’t have to endure it for all that long.