Saturday, November 19, 2016

Transporter 3 (2008) Review:

There's just something about trilogies that are difficult to pull off. When it comes to making a story extend past its initial rooting, writers need to think outside the box and contemplate what new directions can the characters be taken. For Jason Statham's Transporter series, which started in 2002, there seems to be a lack of interest with the sequels that came after. Although Transporter 2 (2005) was arguably on par with its original, it was The Transporter (2002) that helped excel Statham's name to the level he is at today. Surprisingly with this understanding, one would expect to treat the franchise the same way. Never forget your beginnings. Yes there are cases like Sylvester Stallone's Rocky (1976) films where they took a dive but that spanned many more decades. This series has made three films in under a decade. Times don't change that drastically in order to change the vision of the film. This may be why this sequel is just dull but it’s difficult to say. There are things that fit and others that are just mehhh.

Statham was dabbing before it was popular I guess.....
Written once more by the regular duo who penned the last two films were Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. The story this time follows Frank Martin (Jason Statham) being brought back in to deliver a package because the driver he had take his place, didn't do perform to the standards he expected. The package of concern this time is Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) the daughter of a Ukranian government official known as Vasilev (Jeroen Krabbé). Hiring Martin to deliver Valentina is a man named Johnson (Robert Knepper). All the while Inspector Tarconi (François Berléand) gives advice to Martin along his journey. Is this particular premise any different from the last two entries? No. It practically has the same setup. The only noticeable difference is the running time is longer because like many trilogies, producers want to get bigger and better. Unfortunately by that, many misunderstand that as the production’s look over quality. This is kind of what happens here. The overall story and execution is just "been there, done that".

Directed by Olivier Megaton, the same guy who would later head Colombiana (2011), Taken 2 (2012) and Taken 3 (2014), the run through of predictable scenes are as easy to guess as they come. One of the reasons why the running time is longer than the last two is because of a subplot dealing with toxic waste being dumped once a special document is signed. This really doesn't make a lot of sense however because the people looking to dump the toxic waste are not on the same team as Johnson. Johnson's motivations are explained later on but are quite vague leaving a lot of ground left uncovered. Of the characters themselves, Jason Statham of course is the best part. He still has a number of good lines but his lack of creativity is a bit obvious. François Berléand as Inspector Tarconi isn't involved as much as before but he too has the expected humor that he normally brings to the role. Even Robert Knepper as generic as his casting is, he at least presents himself as someone not to be challenged. Although making him fight Statham seems unfair.

Jeroen Krabbé as the Ukranian official was a surprise to see although his participation was more a plot device than anything that improved the story. The reason why it might throw some people off is that the man has been in plenty of films but most would probably best remember him from Dolph Lundgren's The Punisher (1989) as Gianni Franco. That's two decades from the last big well-known production. However, of all these actors the one that is the least interesting and entertaining to watch was Natalya Rudakova. Being that this was her theatrical debut, it is understandable that her acting may not be as good as the others but that's not even the problem. Rudakova's character is written so blandly that it becomes too difficult to feel anything for her character. And like most females in action movies, she becomes enticed by Frank Martin. Just another cliche that makes her even more boring. For action, there are a number of entertaining scenes but most of them felt clean compared to the grittiness of the original.

Natalya Rudakova
There is one sequence that's out of place and that being car chase. It goes on way too long and looks too much like something from The Fast and the Furious (2001) franchise. The hand-to-hand combat action is great though. For camerawork, Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci's cinematography is alright. There's nothing that's too jarring or shaky to get frustrated with. However it is difficult to determine his credibility based on past experience because most of his filmography are in foreign films. Lastly for music, the film score composed by Alexandre Azaria is sadly forgettable in several ways. Even though Azaria produced the music to Transporter 2 (2002), there has been no improvement between the two entries. The tracks themselves do fit with the scene at hand but there's nothing about it that stands out with any unique cues. The sound itself is mainly orchestra with occasional electronic synths but again there's nothing to recall. It is all very stock sounding when it comes to creativity. Not much else to say.

Most third films to a series are the biggest and over the top and carry very little of what made its original so fresh. This sequel is no different. It's okay to pass the time with but it enhances nothing about Frank Martin and his profession nor does it develop him in any new way. It's all more of the same and that's fine for viewers that like that. Overall it's not good but not bad either.

Points Earned --> 5:10

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