Saturday, March 14, 2009

447 - Transporter 3 review



I’ve seen three films starring Jason Statham in the past year year, and it surprises me that I only hated one of them. To my surprise, “Transporter 3” wasn’t that one. There’s a bizarre feel to it that caught me by surprise; while watching it unfold, I made snide remarks about the cardboard plot and shook my head at the absurdity of it all. But after it was over, I found myself smiling at that same absurdity, at the performances of the hero and villain, at the film’s unadorned desire to kick some ass and have fun doing it.

Statham, that balding Brit actor with the Cockney accent and ridiculously sculpted abs, reprises the role of Frank Martin, a wealthy underworld driver famous for being able to transport anything anywhere. If I could afford his fee, I’d have him transport my beer cans to the redemption center.

His peaceful existence on the coast of France is briefly interrupted after he is captured by Johnson (Robert Knepper), one of those movie villains who accomplishes miscellaneous tasks for whoever pays him the most. Johnson slaps Frank on the wrist with an explosive bracelet that will detonate should our hero travel more than 75 feet from his beloved Audi, although this distance seems to expand to half a mile or so when the script requires it.

So Frank is tasked with driving to the Ukraine, with a hot redhead (Natalya Rudakova) in tow. Why did the bad guys decide they needed an outside contractor to drive across Europe? Well, he’s a swell driver, I guess. Couldn’t one of their own goons have done it? Maybe, if you like your kidnappings boring and uneventful.

Frank keeps busy over a day or two, engaging in car chases and fistfights periodically. Luckily, he knows karate, or kung fu, or some Asian teachings that enable him to beat up multiple attackers at once. Frank’s secret combat method involves him taking off his clothes and using them to strangle his opponents, which will perhaps help sell a few suits to martial arts enthusiasts. He does find time to do some banging in-between his death defying scrapes, which at least reminds us that even pro bono transporting can have its perks.

So it’s essentially a film written by 7th graders and made by adults. The production values are good and it serves its purpose, nicely enough and without apology. Did I actually like it? Sure, although it’s difficult to admit as much. These sort of movies are so much easier to hate than to like, aren’t they?

1 comment:

Heidi said...

At least it provides laughs, even when it isn’t trying to be funny. I liked the first two T3 movies better. I thought Miller’s car has more personality than he does in this film. Plus, T3 stars one of the worst actresses to ever hit the big screen. I don't think we'll be seeing Natalya in any more movies. Though I was excited to see a freckly redhead as the hottie in a film! Score for us freckly redheads!!!