Transporter 3

Posted on: 9th December 2008  |

Director: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Jason Statham, Robert Knepper, Natalya Rudakova
UK Release date: 5 December 2008
Certificate: 15 (100 mins)

Mourn for Eurovision and the loss of Terry Wogan!  There shall be much missing of his superior sneer that has dictated the way we see that great event that celebrates the best, and much more often, the worst European culture has to offer. Graham Norton, who is set to replace him, might just push the camp factor of the occasion into overdrive. Thank goodness we’ve got Luc Besson to produce the potty Transporter films as a masculine celebration of all things Europe, though when I say “Europe” I mean it in the Antoine De Caunes (of Eurotrash fame) sense of the word.

For starters, the film has an American baddy who plots environmental disaster for Europe and the world (no, it’s not Bush; it’s a guy called Johnson). The transporter Frank Martin (Jason Statham) has to deliver a mysterious package from the French Riviera, to various Eastern European locals. Annoyingly for Martin, he is lumped together with a size-zero Ukrainian e-head model (Natalya Rudokova) who constantly natters on about food (poor girl, she is clearly starved). Martin can not leave her or the car that they are travelling in behind as both he and the girl wear explosive bracelets that are wired to blow up if they leave the vicinity of the car. These extreme measures are somehow related to some sort of extortion plot involving an environment MEP and a shipment of nuclear waste. The connection is the film’s major plot twist. I am very tempted to unleash it on you now, but only because it is bleedingly obvious from the beginning of the film. However, on principle I shall not be revealing anything, just in case the viewer is incredibly dense, which, let‘s face it, to be watching this film one needs to be.

Let us forget the rest of the plot because that is not what these films are about. In fact this movie is primarily a very long commercial for the Audi A8, and with all the stunning chase sequences you learn inside out what this car can do. Sadly, in terms of cinema, this is not Vorsrprung durch Kino.

Besson’s films are supposed to specialise in the action slapstick perfected by the jester superstar Jackie Chan. At the starting line there are adequate levels of bang and boom for your buck and the finish is suitably explosive. In between, Statham’s talent as an action star is sometimes on spectacular display, fuelled by his muscle and wit. He should have been the Bruce Willis of the noughties. He, for example, has managed to find alternative uses for every tool that one might find in a garage. Sadly, there are also very long periods of inane dialogue and attempts at  non-physical humour that fall flatter than a baddie’s tire after a stupendous car chase.

Recoil in horror now for I am about to tell you that there is an attempt at a “love story” . Oh, how one missed the authenticity of Nicole in the Renault Clio ads! The love interest is the most horrid female specimen ever put to film, being 1 part moody cow to 2 parts airhead, played by an actor who clearly has no idea what the words she splutters out mean. And though this is clearly Statham’s type of woman (cough cough Kelly Brook), we could hope that our hero Frank Martin had more distinguished tastes. Luc, what happened to your classic action femmes fatales? Where is Natalie Portman’s clever Lolita in The Professional? What happened to the personification of Love that is Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element? Helpless damsels-in-distress characters just will not do. The action genre must not devolve into 80s Van Damme and Seagal action miseries. Remember Buffy and Lara Croft! Women are supposed to kick ass!

Alas, the real love story here is between a man and his car. Leave your soul and brain in the boot for this one. Instead why not take Jeremy Clarkson out for dinner and a movie? But bring a copy of Top Gear magazine and a flashlight for the lovey-dovey bits. Or better yet, wait for the DVD and watch the version with the Terry Wogan voice over. Now that would be truly va va voom.

Stefan Garcia SJ

 Visit this film's official web site


Transporter 3 - trailer 2


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