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  Transporter 3 Movie Review (2 1/2 Stars)
      Michael Phillips Reviews Transporter 3 with Jason Statham

 

Transporter 3 Movie Review

Jason Statham stars as Harvey Transporter 3 in the film Transporter 3
Jason Statham as Frank Martin in the movie Transporter 3

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"Transporter 3" -- the latest installment of cinema's extended meditation on the hidden perils of overnight delivery -- stars bullet-headed Jason Statham, who bears the mark of the Modern Bond, which is to say his veins are pumped with ice water and his soul is in perpetual traction.

His character's straightforward name, Frank Martin, is just as chilly and soulless.

You picture him driving a Lincoln Town Car with a cracked dashboard, not a peppy Audi. And you don't picture him living in France, or anywhere east of Brighton, or wherever producer Luc Besson lives.

If you have not seen the "Transporter" pictures, I would like to say there is so much mythology here you'll need an explainer and flow chart. But everything is as evident as it sounds, and that, alas, is the appeal of the franchise. In an age of HBO series with plots of Dickensian complexity and "Twilight" and action heroes so coiled into a hot rage they can barely stoop to quip, Frank Martin is the no-bones Teamster of action heroes, doing the same job always, moving new packages by old rules.

But one question: Why hire Frank Martin?

In this newest "Transporter," he is not out of work or tired, but he is fishing a lot.

He watches fishing on TV when he is not fishing. Bad men who want to move a bad package come to him, but he refers them to one of his associates, who is killed because of incompetence (and drives into Frank's living room to let him know the job isn't going so well).

The leader of the bad men, meanwhile -- balding, leering, vaguely Eastern European, somehow connected to the environmental movement, blackmailing a French official somehow connected to the environmental movement and cargo ships full of a chemical waste -- goes directly to Frank and demands that he deliver the package instead. Frank is beaten up when he resists. His wrist is strapped with a bracelet that explodes if he strays 75 feet from his car, which holds the package. The package, we learn, is Ukrainian beauty Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), who is also outfitted with one of these bracelets. But things go awry.

Which brings me back to: Why do Europeans still refer to Frank Martin as the most effective express-mail service on the continent?

This is the third "Transporter" movie. Beyond their impressive ability to double as greatest-hits packages of contemporary action-flick clichés -- cameras racing close to the ocean, then angling upward; aerial shots of gilded saints at the top of church spires in mountainous towns; etc.--and the lingual contortions some of their casts perform to say things like "conglomerate," these films are reminders not to hire Frank Martin. If you hired him, there is a good chance you have exploded by now. He killed you, or the package was damaged, or your insurance company is asking about that train car you vaporized.

I have a theory: They enjoy the company of Statham. I certainly do. "Transporter 3" isn't much of anything, but two or three times it thins into a diced balletic aria of clipped pretzeled kicks and punches (choreography by Cory Yuen) in which a dozen men take on Statham, surrounding him with lead pipes in hand, patiently waiting their turn to take a swing. It's hard not to smile.

The best sequences involve Frank's inventive ability to stay within 75 feet of his car, but otherwise, it's the charismatic, unruffled dexterity in the face of impossible odds that rivets. Indeed, Frank says it better: A friend explains their love for Jerry Lewis, and Frank counters: "Anyone can fall down and get a laugh, but a real genius does it while drinking and smoking." Oui.

 

Transporter 3 starring Jason Statham Movie Trailer

 

MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sequences of intense action and violence, some sexual content and drug material).

Running time: 1:40.

Starring: Jason Statham (Frank Martin); Natalya Rukakova (Valentina); Francois Berleand (Tarconi); Robert Knepper (Johnson).

Directed by Olivier Megaton; written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen; photographed by Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci; edited by Camille Delamarre and Carlo Rizzo; music by Alexandre Azaria; produced by Besson and Steven Chasman. A Lionsgate release.

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Transporter 3 starring Jason Statham Movie Review | Michael Phillips Reviews Transporter 3
Transporter 3 Movie Review & Movie Trailer
Transporter 3 stars Jason Statham (Harvey Transporter 3); James Franco (Scott Smith); Josh Brolin (Dan White); Emile Hirsch (Cleve Jones); Diego Luna (Jack Lira); Alison Pill (Anne Kronenberg); Victor Garber (George Moscone); Denis O'Hare (John Briggs).
Transporter 3 in Theaters this weekend Transporter 3 movie review and movie trailer