Blu-Ray Review: ‘Transporter 3’ With Jason Statham Speeds to High-Definition Nowhere

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HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – If you’re a big Jason Statham fan, you can move on to another Blu-Ray review. After the pain inflicted on critics in 2008 with the trifecta of “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale,” “Death Race,” and “Transporter 3,” you won’t read many kind words about him in this one. Yes, “The Bank Job” almost makes up for it but that film really just further proves that Jason can actually act when he chooses to and makes his films that much more intolerable when he speeds through them like “Transporter 3,” now on Blu-Ray.

The thing that blows me away about “Transporter 3” is the producer’s refusal to do ANYTHING new or interesting. If you’ve seen the first two movies, it’s literally more of the same. It’s like a band who just remixes their own songs and tries to sell it to their fans as something new. Practically anyone who has seen “Transporter” and “Transporter 2” could have written something more creative than “Transporter 3”.

Transporter 3 was released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Transporter 3 was released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Photo credit: Lionsgate Home Video

The critical villain of 2008 returns as Frank Martin, the legendary driver-for-hire. In the third movie, Martin gets stuck in the middle of a plot-hole-riddled scheme to kidnap Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), the daughter of the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Leonid Vasilev (Jeroen Krabbe).

Transporter 3 was released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Transporter 3 was released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Photo credit: Lionsgate Home Video

Both Frank and Valentina are strapped with explosive devices that go boom if they get too far away from Martin’s vehicle and then they are sent on a ridiculous wild goose chase from Marseilles through Stutttgart and Budapest to Odessa on the Black Sea. It’s an interesting travelogue, but a stupid plot.

It turns out that an American (Robert Knepper) is behind the kidnapping because he is trying to get the EPA to allow toxic waste into a foreign harbor. Why the American had to come up with a ridiculously complicated scheme involving Martin and a trick explosive is not very clear. Along the way, the kindly Inspector Tarconi (Francois Berleand, an excellent French actor who actually puts a little effort into his part) tries to save Frank and his package, by which I mean Natalya, of course.

It’s all just a set-up for martial arts choreography by Corey Yuen, ridiculous car chases that are harder to follow than watching someone play a racing game through a dirty window, and a semi-hot Russian girl to flirt with Frank and eventually fall in love. Yawn.

The action in “Transporter 3,” the only reason most people are going to rent or buy it, is all something that you’ve seen before and done better (except for perhaps a car meets train scene at the end of the flick).

Statham is as boring as he was in the first two movies - long gone is the actor who showed actual range in “Bank Job” - and Rudakova is simply awful. She’s so grating and obnoxious that every line of hers brings the film to a halt. I kind of wanted Frank to stop driving and for them to explode just so she would shut up. A scene where she gets high and chatty is among the ten worst of 2008.

Transporter 3 was released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Transporter 3 was released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Photo credit: Lionsgate Home Video

Yuen does bring the film to occassional life with a tongue-in-cheek sequence of punches and kicks and the movie is never so bad that it’s offensive (like the other two entries in Statham’s trilogy of 2008 junk). It’s just forgettable.

Action always does well on the home market and Lionsgate knows that “Transporter 3” will be one of their bigger titles of the season, so they treat the film well on Blu-Ray. This is another case where the Blu-Ray treatment of a movie is better than the film itself.

“Transporter 3” is presented in 1080P HD and with a booming English 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio track. The audio is spectacular. These reviews are meant to judge the Blu-Ray, not just the film. A ratings point and a half for the final grade of “Transporter 3” is literally just for the audio track. If you have neighbors that make you angry, turn this one up loud. It’s the only way to watch a movie like it.

A nice collection of special features include “Special Delivery: Transporters in the Real World,” an audio commentary with director Olivier Megaton, “Behind-the-Scenes Bonus Footage: Storyboards - Sets/Production Design - Special FX,” “Making of Transporter 3,” MoLog (a BD-Live functionality that allows users to insert and animate shapes, test, audio, and other graphics right into the film), and a digital copy of the film.

Good video, great audio, and as extensive a collection of special features a fan could possibly ask for. If you like Jason Statham, “Transporter 3” will probably appeal to you. But, then again, if you like Jason Statham you probably haven’t read this far.

‘Transporter 3’ is released by Lionsgate Home Video and stars Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, Robert Knepper, Jeroen Krabbe, and Francois Berleand. It was written by Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen and directed by Olivier Megaton. It was released on March 10th, 2009. It is rated PG-13.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Anonymous's picture

BRIAN TALLERICO

You’re a jackass.

Anonymous's picture

I cannot believe you did not

I cannot believe you did not cite one of the biggest problems this new Transporter has: the photography. Although the director fortunately had the sense to not shake the camera about like a drunk, as other directors often do in order to hide the martial inability of their actors, the constant edits during the action sequences really nail down the coffin lid on this one. If you watch the first Transporter again you notice a great poetry to the martial arts sequences, some of which are quite inventive. For all I know, Statham could have used his jump-kick two people at once trick in this film, but the constant jump cuts never let one actually see it. In fact there is one fight where the director cuts to change angle or simply remove frames from the fight so often that were it not for the fact that Frank is automatically supposed to win anyway, one would have no idea in hell what is going on.

I loved the original Transporter, but the two sequels have shown nothing but contempt for the audience. Unless the fourth is an improvement on the original on the level of Aliens over Alien, I think this series is pretty much done. The least they can do is hire a director who knows how to stage and shoot a good action sequence.

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