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Transporter 3 (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Run Time 100 Minutes.

Anybody who doesnít know what theyíre getting when they enter the theater for this movie canít complain. Youíre getting Jason Statham driving a car and vanquishing hordes of armed bad guys with martial arts, all without working up a sweat. If thatís not your cup of tea, stay away. But if it is your cup of tea, this doesnít need any honey to make it palatable. But, if it did, itís got its honey in the person of Natalya Rudakova, who is a honey if I ever saw one.

As fans know, Frank Martin (Stathan) is a driver with amazing skills in martial arts. Here he is recruited to work for the bad guy, Johnson (Robert Knepper) to drive Valentina (Rudakova) from Marseilles to Russia. There is something to do with a contract Valentinaís father is being blackmailed to sign and some ships with toxic waste in them whose relevance seemed obscure. But the twist is that both Frank and Valentina are wearing bracelet bombs that will blow them to smithereens if they venture 75 feet from Frankís car.

Statham captures Martinís devil-may-care attitude much better than Daniel Craig does for James Bond, so this movie is a lot of fun. The fights are ridiculous, but thatís par for the course in all these martial arts movies. At least Stathan shows heís hardly serious about it all.

There are some pretty good car chases and stunts, all ludicrous, but what I really appreciated is the way director Olivier Megaton (the third director in three tries for the Transporter series) choreographs them, with such quick cuts that the unbelievable moves and results are just too quick for the eye to transmit for the brain to comprehend. So they are over quickly and we arenít left much time to ponder how Frank could really overcome 12 armed men.

This is a silly film, but all martial arts films are silly. What sets this apart is that it doesnít take itself seriously for even a nanosecond.

November 27, 2008