‘Transporter 3’ Promotes Shirtless 1-Man Army

Isiah Reyes

Anyone familiar with the “Transporter” series knows all about the high-speed car chases, loud explosions and, of course, the shirtless one-man army that have become staples in this over-the-top action series. The third installment is no different.

“Transporter 3” does not disappoint in delivering the action. Directed by French director Olivier Megaton (“Angie,” 2007), the film follows the same format as the previous two films: to make the impossible seem plausible.

The movie begins with Frank Martin (Jason Stratham, “Death Race,” 2008) sitting around his house all alone after a day of fishing. As he gets up for a drink, a car suddenly drives straight into his living room. Not even slightly disturbed by this sudden turn of events, he quickly gets knocked out cold behind the back of his head and is delivered to an unknown location.

As he regains consciousness, Frank finds himself shirtless in an empty room and notices that a metal bracelet has been attached to his wrist by the evil mastermind, Johnson (Robert Knepper, “Hitman,” 2007). This metal device prevents Frank from moving 75 feet from his car or else a bomb attached to him will explode. Now Frank has to make a difficult choice: accept to deliver the package for Johnson, or else he must. die.

It seems pretty straight forward, so Frank decides to deliver the package. Being electronically rigged by the metal bracelet, Frank must stay close to his Audi A8 W12 while accompanied by the Russian redhead, Valentina (Natalya Rudokova). Later in the film, it turns out that she is the package that Frank must deliver. Let’s just say that he opens his package early, if you know what I mean.

During his delivery route, Frank maneuvers death-defying stunts to avoid danger. One particular stunt involves Frank in a fist-fight against a group of thugs while using articles of his clothing (leaving him shirtless). Another time, Frank must tilt his car sideways (two wheels on the same side grounded) while driving over 80 mph in between two big rigs that are driving closely together solely for the purpose of performing this stunt.

Most of the film is quite unrealistic, and anyone who watches a “Transporter” film should expect no less. But sometimes, it gets a little unbearable to watch.

For example, everyone knows that Frank is an expert driver who has a multitude of skills that have helped him maintain a 100 percent delivery rate ratio. But who knew that Frank was skilled as a BMX bike rider? That’s right, in this film, Frank shows off his bike skills by grinding down rails and bunny hopping into windows all whilst chasing and pinpointing the location of the thug who stole his car.

Not cheesy enough? What about the acting by that Valentina character? Her lines are so stale and tasteless that I actually recoiled from how bad it was. Like remember that scene mentioned earlier where Frank beats everyone up while removing his clothing? After he destroys everyone in the room (about 10 physically stacked men including one 7-foot guy), she walks out the car and very blandly says, “You fight good.” That was just awful.

I’ll cut her some slack because this is her first film ever, but it wasn’t just that one scene. For the first half of the film she is really “annoying,” for lack of an insulting word. Luckily, during a car chase, she takes an ecstasy pill and suddenly becomes a delight. All in all, her only redeeming factor is her physical appearance. Her acting skills were not impressive.

The action scenes, although not believable, are done well in terms of cinematography. The explosions, car crashes and exploding car crashes look and sound decent. The sound in the film fulfilled its intention, though it wasn’t that memorable.

Another thing I noticed was that Frank always finds a way to get himself into a shirtless situation. What is up with that? Where’s the female transporter when you need one?

Speaking of transporters, the plot really doesn’t make any sense when you actually pay attention to it. Why does Johnson need to hire a transporter to deliver a package when he could very easily hire armored vehicles that will most likely not deceive him as Frank did? I think this whole “transporter” profession has become outdated.

Overall, the film is very outlandish, but in a good way because that’s what this series is all about. Stratham’s acting is great and the film was very enjoyable, but the whole love interest between Frank and Valentina is ridiculous. No one will believe that the near-invincible Frank Martin would fall in love with the witlessly annoying Russian girl. If the casting were done better to replace Rudokova, then the film would have definitely been better.

The bottom line is if you’re looking for a film with a deep storyline and lots of characterization, then search somewhere else. But if you’re looking for 100 minutes of mindless fun and crazy stunts, then that’s exactly what you’ll be getting. Just enjoy it for what it is.

“Transporter 3” is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, some sexual content and drug material. Distributed by Europa Corp., the full runtime is 100 minutes.

My rating is 3 out of 5 stars.