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September 13, 2017

Transporter 3 (2008) --- "Exploding Shackles May Cause Serious Harm. Here's How To prevent Such Injuries."

Plot Summary
Mob courier Frank Martin's (Jason Statham) latest assignment pairs him with Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), the cynical daughter of a Ukrainian official. While her father ponders what to do with three boatloads of toxic waste, Frank must guard the problematic woman and prevent her from wandering too far from his vehicle or risk triggering the explosive shackles they both wear. (1) 

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     I enjoyed the first two Transporter films with the Transporter 2 (2005) being my favorite but I found Transporter 3 (2008) to be the weakest in the series. The reason why this film was not as enjoyable as the first two is because of the tone which is primarily affected by the over-dramatic soundtrack and a generally abysmal script. The tone in the first two films made a point to be humorous in its comic-book like presentation and stunts, whereas this film is trying to be an overly serious action film by removing the humor from some potentially humorous moments. It seems like the tone of the film is trying to set itself apart from the first two films but this makes it confusing. Were they trying to appear more like a James Bond film?

     I did notice a bit of a pattern in this film which seemed to try a James Bond type of movie. Not only do the films themselves have similarities but the main characters share some similarities as well. First are James Bond and Frank Martin’s (Jason Statham) persona of a British rogue strongman who has a proclivity for wearing a suit into ‘battle.’ Second, are their cool cars. While Bond prefers an Aston Martin and a BMW, Frank also prefers his BMW’s and now an armored Audi, which carried over from the second film. In addition, the film also follows the Bond formula of introducing a new attractive female character in each movie. For example, The Transporter (2002) had Qi Shu portray the vixen who traded her body to convince Frank to take the job. Then The Transporter 2 (2005) had a good girl-bad girl combination with Amber Valletta and Kate Nauta respectively. Here in Transporter 3 (2008) we have Natalya Rudakova who continues from where Qi Shu left off by being the flower vase who does not speak fluent English, although this is fine considering that their mother countries main language is not English. I think it adds a sense of “Je ne sais quoi” to their characters. However, there is way too much dialogue between Frank Martin and Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), and while Statham is a capable actor the script falls short here. I thought we had already established that The Transporter films were about more action and less about dialogue and characters.

     The plot of the film is average and is used more as an excuse to put Frank Martin behind the wheel again. This time around he is more laid back and has now befriended French Detective Tarconi (Francois Berléand), that is until his reputation catches up with him and as a result, has to do what he does best. But one thing we have learned from the last two films is that the plot is not the main selling point of the film, instead, it is the action. However, there is not really any of that adrenaline pumping action that we would have expected nor is there anything new. In fact, some scenes are reminiscent of the first two films and while there is more dialogue here that leaves little room for cool fight sequences. The few fight sequences that we do see are the familiar one guy against a horde of thugs and somehow he manages to beat all of them up. Martial Arts Choreographer Corey Yuen (Directed 2002’s Transporter) needs to rejuvenate his action choreography instead of doing the same old routine of the usual car chases and standard camera shots.
     Overall, The Transporter 3 (2008) is an entertaining movie but it’s not something I haven’t already seen before. I guess they tried to be more realistic this time around but that proved to be too little too late. Since there have already been three different directors for each Transporter film, perhaps it is time to change the action choreographers so as to show some deeper or a different side to Frank Martin. And if they decide not to change the action choreographers then they definitely need to add in some new ideas. There was a bit of humor but there were quite a few moments that had the potential to be humorous and were not.

"Let me guess, your the smart one."
- Frank Martin

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  3 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  3 of 5 stars

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Cast & Crew
Directed by Olivier Megaton     
Writing Credits: Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen
Produced by Luc Besson and Steven Chasman
Music by Alexandre Azaria         
Cinematography by Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci       
Film Editing by Camille Delamarre and Carlo Rizzo
Casting by Swan Pham    
Production Design by Patrick Durand          
Art Direction by Arnaud Le Roch and Patrick Schmitt
Set Decoration by Cécile Deleu
Costume Design by Olivier Bériot       

Jason Statham                 ---     Frank Martin
Natalya Rudakova          ---     Valentina
François Berléand          ---     Tarconi
Robert Knepper               ---     Johnson
Jeroen Krabbé                  ---     Leonid Vasilev
Alex Kobold                       ---     Leonid's Aide
David Atrakchi                 ---     Malcom Manville
Yann Sundberg                ---     Flag
Eriq Ebouaney                 ---     Ice
David Kammenos           ---     Driver Market
Silvio Simac                      ---     Mighty Joe
Oscar Relier                      ---     Thug / Driver
Timo Dierkes                    ---     Otto
Igor Koumpan                  ---     Cop Ukraine
Paul Barrett                       ---     Captain
Elef Zack                             ---     Mate
Katia Tchenko                  ---     Leonid's Secretary
Michel Neugarten           ---     Assassin Driver - Sergueï
Farid Elouardi                 ---     Yuri 

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