Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, François Berléand, Robert Knepper
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some sexual content and drug material.
Parental Notes: This is a pretty standard PG-13 film. The violence is cartoonish and not particularly bloody, the sexual content is mild, and the drug material consists of a couple unnamed pills and some vodka.
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* December 1-14, Camera Cinemas Sing-Along Nights, The Sound of Music. See www.cameracinemas.com/singalong.shtml for details.
* December 17-18, Glenn Beck’s “The Christmas Sweater” broadcast in local theaters. See www.fathomevents.com for details.
* December 20, The New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Thais” broadcast live in local theaters. See www.fathomevents.com for details.
* January 7, The New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of Massenet’s “Thais” broadcast in local theaters. See www.fathomevents.com for details.
* January 10, The New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of Puccini’s “La Rondine” broadcast live in local theaters. See www.fathomevents.com for details.
* January 15-21, Berlin and Beyond Film Festival. See www.berlinandbeyond.com for details.
* January 16-17, Midnight Movie Madness: “Army of Darkness.” Midnight screenings at Camera 7 (Friday) and Camera 12 (Saturday). See www.cameracinemas.com/midnight.shtml for details.
* January 21, The New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of Puccini’s “La Rondine” broadcast in local theaters. See www.fathomevents.com for details.
* January 23-February 1, Noir City Film Festival. This year’s theme is newspaper noir. See www.noircity.com for details.
* January 24, The New York metropolitan Opera’s production of Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” broadcast live in local theaters. See www.fathomevents.com for details.
“Transporter 3” is precisely what you would expect from the Transporter series: car chases, hand-to-hand combat, Jason Statham shirtless while fighting people, and some spiffy explosions. Is it great art? No. But it isn’t trying to be. This is a big action movie that missed the standard summer season for its genre. We’re not looking for character development, we’re looking for Frank Martin (Statham) to be awesome.
There’s a straightforward action story, involving Frank being strong-armed into taking a job and equipped with a manacle that will explode if he leaves his car (leading to a fantastic scene where he chases his own car on a bicycle, pedaling furiously to stay in range of the sensor). But the story isn’t important. The centerpiece of any big action movie, and of the Transporter films in particular, is the action, and “Transporter 3” doesn’t fail in that regard.
Cory Yuen is back to handle the choreography, and while there’s a bit too much frenetic camera work for my tastes, the fight scenes are still thoroughly entertaining. Statham specializes in a sort of cross between down and dirty street fighting and efficient martial arts, and he’s in fine form here. As usual, he manages to get his shirt off during some of the fighting, on one memorable occasion in order to use it as a weapon.
The car chase scenes are good, though in a few spots the film was pretty obviously sped up. Frank doesn’t do anything quite as ludicrous as the car-jump-past-a-crane-to-remove-a-bomb in the last film, which may be a good thing or a bad one, depending on your tastes. We do get to see him put his beloved Audi A8 up on two wheels to drive between a pair of passing semi trucks, which is pretty awesome, and he comes up with a novel way to handle rescuing the girl from a speeding train without leaving his car behind.
The secondary characters are pretty solid for an action flick. We have a villain who chews the scenery just the right amount (as opposed to the villains in the last Transporter film, who left the sets in little piles of sawdust) and a girl who has moments of being more than just a fluffy romantic interest for Frank. And, thankfully, Frank’s pal Inspector Tarconi (François Berléand) is back with his dry wit and amusement at his friendship with a known criminal.
“Transporter 3” promises action and delivers in spades. It’s perfect for those mourning the descent from summer action season into the depths of winter dramas, but should be avoided by anybody looking for scintillating plot, intelligent dialog, or layered characters. This is a movie about attractive people doing things involving fast cars and cartoonish violence, and it doesn’t try to be anything else.