I have a confession to make. I am a huge fan of the first two Transporter films, and Jason Statham films in general. However, this film made me second-guess my fandom… well, maybe for a minute.
The film runs along the same basics as the previous instalments. Frank Martin (Statham) gets handed a job against his choice, and has to deal with it to the best of his great wealth of abilities. The classic Transporter features are all present: the flash cars, the sexy lady, his nice suit, the sinister bad guy and François Berléand as the helpful Inspector Tarconi. This time, the plot is reliant on Frank staying within 75 feet of his car, while keeping the damsel in distress (Natalya Rudakova) safe, and keeping on the road to an undisclosed location.
Where the first film was funny and action packed, but lacking substance, the second film was perfectly rounded, with plot, humour and action. The third however, creates a new set of problems. The action is played down and the romance is played up, unfortunately to an unbelievable extent. The actress who plays Valentina is so bad that I almost fast-forwarded through any scene where she has dialogue. Which isn’t fantastic because it makes up a considerable portion of the film. However, Statham falling for her is inevitable from the first scene they are in together, and it’s played quite well, mainly by Statham.
On the other side of the coin, you have the action man Frank Martin who kicks a huge amount of arse. The fight scenes are as good as ever, with the garage fight ranking as high as any in either of the first two Transporter films. Statham is the British equivalent of Tony Jaa with the style and flair of Jackie Chan; his fights are flawless, intuitive and ruthless without being needlessly destructive. He also uses his skill set to get in a double barrel of great car chases, including one where he chases down his runaway car on foot.
There are two films going on here, the love story and the action one. While we have come to expect the action one, and are quite happy to see it, the love story is much less welcome and having a terrible actress in the role doesn’t help. It also doesn’t help that the two halves of the films only collide well at the very end, leaving an awkward pacing problem throughout the film. When Inspector Tarconi says, “Am I detecting a little attachment? That is not the Frank I know,” his words match my sentiment exactly, as Frank’s actions to fall for this girl seem so odd, it has changed him and the pace of Transporter films to be almost unrecognisable.
Still, there is enough here to keep the blood pumping. The action is still as good as ever and the back and forth between François Berléand and Jason Statham is well worth it. It may be the least impressive of the three, but it’s still got an impressive amount of awesomeness.