Dumb but fun, over the top with never a stop, super-duper thriller “Transporter 3″ is one long caricature of everything and everybody it touches.
Some of its derring-do gives new meaning to “ridiculous.” And as to Jason Stratham’s Frank Martin who’s being compared to Daniel Craig’s James Bond, he’s got the bod but not the face. A partially balding nondescript can’t really compete with large high cheekbones.
Now, as to the roaring action, it’s generally quite original in concept but also original in its brazen indifference to physical improbabilities, or even possibilities. These aspects, needless to say, are good for more than a few laughs. Some of the through-the-air action even comes off in slight skips of motion suggesting that the digital editor just couldn’t pull it off seamlessly.
In one sequence, Martin shows you how to get yourself and your car surfaced from the bottom of a deep river while you’re down there. (Umm . . . not advisable.) Then he shows you how to drive a car off a bridge and onto the roof of a moving train, then off the train roof into the gap between separated cars and into the interior of the car.
We also get to see our hero decking a dozen burly assaulters in one attack.
To its credit, the film does have some decent dialogue and well-established evil in the villains.
Well, OK, plot . . .
Here goes Frank Martin again into manly martial arts adventure and smite-the-baddy capers. He’s that intrepid hired person-transporter whose profession it is to get an assigned individual from one part of the world to another even as baddies galore are pursuing them with lethal intent.
These bad guys, in this case, want to bring eight container ships carrying toxic poisons into a Ukrainian harbor as they await super profits on the shipment. Trying to thwart this shipment is Leonid Vasilev (Jeroen Krabbe), the head of the Ukrainian Environmental Protection Agency. Trying to thwart Vasilev are the villains who have kidnapped his daughter Valentina (Natalya Rudakova). Trying to thwart the thwarters is a blackmailer who grabs Valentina. Enter The Transporter, Frank Martin (Jason Stratham), who’s in the middle of it all against his will. The latter villain, now in charge, forcibly lock an electronic bracelet onto a wrist of Martin and of Valentina. It is cued into a device on the Mercedes BMX they’re to be driving. If the wearer moves further than 75 feet of the auto, s/he blows up.
Martin is to transport her from Marseilles through Stuttgart and Budapest all the way to the Black Sea to the international intrigue town of Odessa.
And, what d’ya know — cynical, uncooperative Valentina will fall into a mutual romance relationship with Frank.
All the Euro kicks are there, including a car chase between an Audi S8 and Martin’s BMX, the latter item being virtually the film’s co-star.
The movie does maintain a strangle-hold on your senses. You can’t be bored. But there are many lapses in logic. If undiscriminating brute action is your thing, this is right up there with the most energetic. It has both respect and contempt for your intelligence, generally favoring the latter.
“Transporter 3″ (quality rating: 6 out of 10)
Director: Olivier Megaton
Screenplay: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Cast: Jason Stratham, Natalya Rudakova
Time: 1 hr.,43 min.
Rating: PG-13 (intense action and violence, some sexual content and drug material)