The Transporter series, now on its third outing, is never going to be confused with Shakespeare. The movies, which star Jason Statham as the charismatic but deadly chauffeur for hire Frank Martin, are not about plot, or dialogue or character development. Nope, they’re about ninety minutes of non-stop crazy action geared toward men who want to see Statham bust heads in inventive ways and women who want to see Statham bust heads in inventive ways while shirtless.
In the new film Martin (Statham) is coerced into driving Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), the daughter of a high ranking Ukrainian government official from Marseilles to Bucharest and then onwards to Odessa on the Black Sea. His mission is complicated by high tech wristbands both he and his “package” are forced to wear which will blow up if they stray more than seventy-five feet from the car and hired thugs brought in to retrieve Valentina. Worse still may be Valentina herself, who presents a problem Martin has never had to deal with before.
Transporter 3 is to its franchise what Godfather III was to Coppola’s mafia series. It looks like the first couple of original movies, has some of the same actors and a recognizable story but something is off. In Transporter 3 the story is thrown out of whack by the addition of too much dialogue. These movies have traditionally had a low dialogue to action ratio and when that quotient is thrown out of balance the audience suffers. Usually I’m all for more story, but there isn’t any more story here than usual, just really bad dialogue that seems like bridges to the action sequences and nothing more.
Statham is best when he’s in motion and when he is kicking-butt the movie flies along. The action scenes are wild, there just aren’t enough of them. The excellently named director Olivier Megaton tries to work in some more personal stuff into the script, but that’s not what the Transporter movies or the character Frank Martin are about. Fans of the series want their eyes to dance; leave character development for Meryl Streep. The character of Martin has rules—never get personally involved, don’t ask questions—not personality. He should be left to do what he does best—drive and fight—and forget all the other stuff.