Riding on after the fun and at times hilariously over-the-top "Transporter 2", Jason Statham is back as Frank Martin, aka, The Transporter in "Transporter 3." And, if you enjoyed the previous films, I can guarantee you will love this ride of mayhem.
This time around, Martin has been kidnapped and forced into his new job by Robert Knepper's character, the villain known only as 'Johnson.' Johnson has slapped a chemical-bomb-bracelet onto Martin which will explode if he strays from his car by more than 75-feet- an insurance policy to make sure he completes his task- transporting a sexy young woman named Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) and two mysterious bags throughout parts of Europe, for reasons unknown. There is a plot involving Valentina being kidnapped, and being used by Johnson to blackmail her powerful father, but it isn't very important to the overall story, it is just there to justify the action.
And action is something this movie doesn't skimp out on. While not as show-offish as the previous film, which had action in every-other-scene, this entry in the series definitely has its share of fist-fights and car-chases, explosions and gun-battles. Director Olivier Megaton (no, I'm not making that up), takes over for Louis Leterrier (co-director of the previous two entries) and does a good job at maintaining the mood set by previous films, and he does great with the action. Though I will say the camera-work is sometimes sub-par, and sometimes a little too "Jason Bourne Shaky." But overall, if I wasn't told any different, I'd assume Leterrier was still directing, which is good, because a series like this should generally feel consistent.
The story itself (written by "Transporter" and "Transporter 2" scribes Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen) is halfway decent for a silly, PG-13 action-fest, and ends up being much better than most will give it credit for. I've already seen the comments of the film being bad, but we all know that those aren't the type of people to be listening too. If someone accuses the third film in a silly franchise like this of "sucking", and then complains about the plot or the characters, then that person is taking it too seriously. This ain't a serious movie, this is a "brain drain" movie... where you let your brain shut off and you drain your IQ for the 100 minute running length while letting yourself be thrilled, before exiting the theater and turning the ole' noggin back on.
This is "dumb fun" at its finest.
Also returning as Inspector Tarconi is Francois Berleand, now given much more screen time as the comic relief and the guy who gets to piece together the story for the audience. He does wonderful, as always.
A large portion of the film involves the love-story between Martin and Valentina, and this is where the movie may become hit-or-miss for the fans. Essentially, Valentina is the "Anti-Frank Martin"- she is fun-loving, spunky and very open to anything. Frank finds her annoying at first, but you can tell he almost envies her lifestyle compared to his own strict life, which he now is starting to realize has been holding him back. You can tell they are a good match for each other because they even each other out. And Rudakova does a good job with the role, though the audience may think she goes a little too far during certain scenes, where her antics go wild. Still, she adds a lot to the plot, and keeps the story fresh- after all, we can deduce that Frank was never able to keep his connections with Lai, or "go anywhere" with Mrs. Billings from the previous films. And hey, Rudakova made me fall in love with her (and her character), so thats gotta count for something.
One last comment on Jason Statham, the star of the film, before I wrap this up. I truly think this series has proved he has what it takes to make it as a big-time star. He has had to show emotions through a character that likes to ignore or disregard them, and he has proved himself physically. He's also a decent actor. I think this series, and particularly Statham, are not getting the attention they deserve.
All-in-all, I liked "Transporter 3", it was a great ride filled with good action, cool characters and a silly but decent, clich?-ridden story. And hey, clich?s are clich?s, but they work! I give it, as a fan, an 8 out of 10.