Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Transporter 3, Audience 0

Another one from the shelves of the L.A. Library

Transporter 3 (2008)

This third go round of the Transporter series clearly shows the franchise is outta gas (or petrol). The Transporter movies were inspired – or more to the point, ripped off – the BMW short film series, The Hire, starring Clive Owen. The simple premise of a driver who will take on any transporting job exists only so they can hang countless car chase and martial arts fight scenes. Think of it as Car Fu meets Kung Fu.

Jason Statham is back of course as Frank Martin, the man with the bland name in the fancy car (a top of the line Audi sedan). This time he is in the company of a very annoying Russian chick, Natalya Rudakova. Here’s the thing: what is with these movies? Salma Hayak was an unknown until she made Desperado, so you think the Transporter filmmakers would want some hot starlet - surely there are some in Europe - just about to explode in each of their movies, instead they choose ugly, skinny Euro-chicks or in this case an ugly (I’m sorry, but her sprayed-on-with-a-clogged-air-brush freckles - plus runny eye shadow - are NOT sexy) skinny Russo-chick. She’s not pretty. She doesn’t have a sexy voice. She's not a good actress (any girl from The CW can out act her). She’s a total zero. (IMDb says producer Luc Besson found her out walking and he gave her acting lessons. That 'splains it.)

Who cares about the plot to force a country’s minister to sign some agreement to let a big powerful company pollute Europe. (They do it by kidnapping Russo-girl, having Frank drive her across Europe only to deliver her to...themselves? Stupid.) As in a Jackie Chan movie, the plot is only there to hold together the action scenes.

Louis Leterrier directed the first two films, but turns the director’s chair over to some other Luc Besson protégé, a dude named Olivier Megaton. (Think he’s hiding some shortcoming?) Say what you will about the previous Transporter flicks, but at least they were fun and breezy. Megaton does absolutely NOTHING cool or original as far as the car chases (in this post-Bourne age, shame on you!). They were all staged like stuff we’ve seen before (they try to hide this by speeding up the film and with constant hyperkinetic editing). Also they were NOT helped by the new vogue thing to do in editing by randomly “jump cutting” (cutting out a few frames in an action to speed things up). It’s almost like a bunch of students are playing with all the digital tricks you can do with Final Cut Pro. Kids, just because the gadgets are there does NOT mean you should use them.

The other thing about this movie is that there is no real humor, either with/by Frank or in the several kung fu scenes with the many bad guys (a white British guy doing Chinese kung fu against French/Euro-hoods and there's NO humor?).

So, boring car chases, dull fight scenes, and no laughs make this movie as much fun to watch as getting your oil changed.

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