Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, Fran¨ois Berlˇand, Robert Knepper, Jeroen Krabbˇ, Alex Kobold, David Atrakchi, Yann Sundberg, Eriq Ebouaney, David Kammenos, Silvio Simac, Oscar Relier, Timo Dierkes, Igor Koumpan, Paul Barrett
Written by: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, some sexual content and drug material
Running Time: 104
Date: 11/26/2008

Transporter 3 (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Surprise Package

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Most film trilogies usually drop the ball on the third entry, but if you want to see it done right, check out the fun, unpretentious Transporter 3. Our driver Frank Martin (Jason Statham) returns. He refuses the job of transporting a kidnapped girl from Marseilles to the Black Sea, but unfortunately the villains have other ideas. He wakes up and finds an insidious device strapped to his wrist: if he moves within 100 feet of his car, he blows up. (Shades of Crank!)

Worse, he begins to like the trouble-making girl, Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), with her red hair, raccoon makeup, adorable freckles and alternately frightened and devil-may-care attitudes. But if Frank can avoid all the assorted bad guys, survive all the outrageously fast-paced chase and fight scenes, then he can keep the girl's father, a Ukranian official (Jeroen Krabbˇ) from signing some important document that will no doubt set the world's eco-movement back several decades.

It's all pretty ridiculous, really, but the fun is watching the great Jason Statham ease back into this comfortable fit of a character once more, totally deadpan (no wisecracks allowed) but still occasionally funny. He also brings a working-class aura back to the action hero, rather than artificial superhumans like Stallone and Schwarzenegger.

Olivier Megaton signs on as the third director in this series, and his action sequences are well-designed, if sometimes a little too fast (he plays with film speeds in-between the fast cuts). Fran¨ois Berlˇand returns as Inspector Tarconi, now Frank's buddy. Luc Besson once again takes on writing and producing chores.

Lionsgate released the 2009 double-disc DVD, with an audio commentary track, lots of featurettes and a digital copy of the film. See also The Transporter and Transporter 2.

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