The Transporter Refueled
The third time is not the charm for the action franchise, with Jason Statham merely going through the motions as the implacable, unstoppable Frank Martin, to whom bad things always seem to happen.
After surviving the running, jumping, shooting and chasing from the first two Transporters, Frank Martin (Statham) once again finds himself mixed up in mayhem. The latest "package" he is to deliver consists of Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), the kidnapped daughter of a powerful European politician (Jeroen Krabbe), who is being blackmailed by bad guys. Unless Frank delivers Valentina to those aforementioned bad guys, he'll go boom! See, he's been outfitted with a metal bracelet that will blow up if he strays too far from his beloved BMW. But, as you might expect, Frank is not one to take this sort of thing lying down, and it's not long before he's turning the tables on his tormentors. What follows is the expected barrage of fisticuffs (choreographed by Corey Yuen), firepower and ferocity, but all of it seems arbitrary this time, as if the filmmakers are merely fulfilling a contractual obligation. The first Transporter was passable junk, but the sequels have just been junk. Even fans may be turned off by the sheer, overwhelming sense of familiarity.
Statham is as buff and tough as ever, but even he appears weary. Frank Martin is not a role with much depth or dimension, which is patently obvious the third time around. Francois Berleand is also back as Inspector Tarconi, by now Frank's bosom buddy but always bringing up the rear. As the principal villain, Robert Knepper scowls, growls, glowers and delivers the immortal line: "My name is not important." Neither is the film he's saying it in. Saving the worst for last is newcomer Rudakova, making as inauspicious a screen debut as any actress in recent memory. With way too much eye shadow, this freckle-faced beauty pouts, purrs, bats her eyelashes (all the better to emphasize the eye shadow), and gives her terrible role the performance it deserves. Krabbe, who's played his fair share of heavies, picks up an easy check for basically showing up.
There's only so much former graffiti artist-turned-filmmaker Olivier Megaton brings to the party -- and it's not a lot. After the first two films, no one's likely to tamper with the formula and Megaton doesn't even try. The only surprising thing about the film - and it's a mild one, to be sure - is that it received a PG-13 rating given the incessant violence. Given the abundance of CGI visual effects on display here, it's entirely possible that the bloodier bits were digitally erased. Undoubtedly, an unrated "director's cut" DVD will soon be lurking on video shelves, which is where this Thanksgiving turkey belongs.
Hollywood.com rated this film 1 star.