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Thereís an amazing thing that happens if you go to see Transporter movies in the theatre.  All the films are packed with their standard over-the-top car chases and crashes galore, loads of martial arts mayhem and guns, guns, guns, the stuff usually reserved for male gratification.  What makes Transporter films such a rare and unique phenomena is the fact that the majority of the yelps and howls of approval for the rock-em, sock-em action manly-man action are elicited from the fairer sex, who turn out in droves for these movies.

Mayhaps itís because of the inclusion of the fittest man in England, Jason Statham, as the seriesí star.  Knowing better than perhaps even the movie studios, director Olivier Megaton (- who will henceforth be called Megatron) features plenty of shots of Stathamís perfectly sculpted, fuzzy torso appearing at all sorts of unexpected moments.  Whether heís using his shirt to get out of a badly outnumbered dispute or doing a striptease to finagle his precious car keys away from an overheated hostage, clearly the motivations of any scene in Transporter 3 is ďShow more of Jasonís pecs.Ē  Well, if you really must Ö

Really unnecessary rundown:  In this third outing of the franchise, Frank Martin is still a very expensive delivery boy.  He runs his high-speed courier act at his leisure, choosy with his clientele.  Sometimes there are jobs you canít quite get away from and one such refused opportunity literally comes crashing through his front wall.  A job passed over to a colleague has gone terribly wrong and a powerful cadre of evildoers that wants it completed.  Cue exploding bracelets!  Yes, hereís your big Survivor Challenge ripped straight off the screen from Our favourite ode to nihilism, Battle Royale, if Frank or his hostage steps out of range of the baddiesí GPS tracker or 100 feet away from Frankís supercharged Audi, they go boom.  Thereís also some noise about political manoeuvring and the environment and such, but whatever, itís all about Jason and the car.

Funny how many of James Bondís leftovers the Transporter series has claimed.  The humour gone from the now terribly dire 007 is here, the signature car (- the Aston Martin does return in Quantum of Solace, though with none of the cool tricks Frank Martinís Audi performs), and thereís even a ďQĒ of sorts, a technophile mad scientist employed by Frank to remove the boom-boom-bling. 

Of course as in every Bond film, thereís the girl. This yearís model has got me reconsidering the merits of Porcelana.  Spangled in more dots than a Dalmatian convention, the extreme freckle-age of Natalya Rudakova is a fashion statement of its own.  Pity this would be one instance where the series is less in the mode of the current Bond; this chapterís ornament is no less irritating than her predecessor from the original Transporter.  This Eurotrash nitwit seems to never grasp that her life is in jeopardy and takes up precious time either tripping on Ecstacy, moping about how she and Frank are going to die, urinating on convenience store floors (- donít ask),  or trying to get Frank to have sex with her.  Now I canít hate on the girl for that last bit, but even so, sheís choke-worthy and their chemistry together exists only in the writerís fevered imagination (- I have my theories about that convenience store scene, Luc Besson.).  Just as with Transporter 1, the girl is the package Frankís meant to deliver, though it takes him ages to realise it.  Hey, looking that good, I can forgive Frank for being a little slow on the uptake.  Once again, Frankís fudging of his own set of iron clad (- ha!) rules gets him into trouble.  If heíd only delivered the obnoxious girl into the hands of the bad guys heíd be fine and free of any exploding bracelets.  But no, Frankís gotta stick his lovely nose in and not only save the life of the exasperating bint, but the whole world as well, when that environmental MacGuffin I mentioned earlier plays out.  (- Exactly how many environmental MacGuffins have there been in the movies this year?)  Also, thereís the whole you didnít ask him nicely thing that rubs Frank the wrong way about the entire operation.  Personally, Iíd be more cheesed about that than concerned for saving the annoying girl, although the bad guy did stick Frank with her in the first place, so heís to blame for that, too.  Man, thatís low.

However, besides the utter irritation of the dumb chippy, my other gripe is strongly against a technique that rates in the cinematic sewers alongside shakycam abuse:  If youíve heard me whinge about it once, youíve heard it a thousand times.  Back that thing up, camera people!  For serious, why does any director or cinematographer think you want to see quick, choppy cuts during a fight scene?  Bless dear Statham for not only looking deadly in a suit, but actually seeming to have trained well enough to be quite believable in his fight sequences; always a key component to any Transporter film (- and lately any Jason Statham film, check out The Bank Job for some perfunctory, tacked-on bum-kicking).  I mean if it was a Steven Segal movie, where theyíre trying to convince us the man is a lethal weapon while he moves with all the speed of a beached whale, I could understand.  Jason Statham is not Orca; heís got moves and seems to be able to handle the pace.  Also, Megatron has hired Corey Yuen (- who directed Transporter 1) to choreograph his fight scenes.  Why bring in the man who directed both Jet Li and Jackie Chan, if youíre not going to shoot his work properly?  If Yuenís not insulted, I am!  Really, non-Asian directors, you wonít lose the audience if they can actually see whatís going on during the fight scene.  Trust.

Even with these gnats of irritation flying around, Transporter 3 is a raucous good time.  Check your intellect at the door and prepare for some loud, boisterous movie fun.  If only the seats in the movie theatre had shaken with the action, Iíd say it was just like being in a video game like Grand Theft Auto or some such.  Even without the motion sickness-inducing furniture, Transporter 3 is a great ride.  The car chases are a thing of beauty and the oh-no-he-didnít climax onboard a train will illicit those feminine yowls I mentioned earlier (- not only from the women).  Toned to perfection and dressed sharp as a tack, Jason Statham once again proves why heís the last action hero left and his utterly British deadpan charm and rough and tumble alpha male swagger show heís loving every minute of it.  So am I.  


~ The Lady Miz Diva

November 26th, 2008






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