Transporter 3 (2008) – Olivier Megaton

Transporter 3 should work. Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is back in Europe, there’s a solid actor, Robert Knepper, as the film’s villain, there’s a solid supporting cast including Jeroen Krabbe and Francois Berleand returning as Tarconi, but this one just feels like it flounders.

Part of that problem, sadly, rests on the casting of Natalya Rudakova as Valentina. There just seems to be a lack of chemistry between her and Statham, which is unfortunate as they are stuck in a car together for most of the film, and we’re supposed to buy a blossoming romantic connection between them. And her acting choices aren’t solid.

And, oddly enough, at almost an hour and forty-five minutes, it feels overlong. It’s just not as captivating as the first film, or even as ludicrously entertaining as the second.

When Frank turns down a transport job from Johnson (Knepper) he offers another driver up as a possibility. That driver and Valentina end up in a car crash in Frank’s living room. Johnson bullies and treatens Frank into taking over the job, and Frank finds himself racing to a conclusion that will have political ramifications, as we learn that Valentina is the kidnapped daughter of a Ukranian government official, Vasilev (Krabbe), who is being manipulated into okaying a number of transport ships into offloading their containers of waste on and near the Black Sea.

The fight sequences are fun, if predictable, and Statham does have a charm which helps to carry the film, but after two outings, maybe this particular story has already outlived its time. It’s the same beats from story to story so you know how things are going to play out. Perhaps that’s why I only tend to remember the first film.

I know it’s about the car, the driving, the suit, the attitude, and the fights, but you still could do so much with the world Frank Martin inhabits, but it always ends up being variations on a theme.

Apparently Statham recognized that, which coupled with the film production’s company balking at his requested payday for a fourth film, caused a recasting and an immediate flop with The Transporter Refueled.

It wasn’t a bad movie, Transporter 3, but as soon as it was over I couldn’t tell you what happened it. The only thing I could say was that I didn’t love it. I would have paid Statham is amount, written a really stellar script this time around, and gone out to relaunch the series.

It’s a fun idea, but after the first film the other entries just become forgettable.

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