Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here.

Vern is the greatest writer about film writing about film anywhere that film is written about. If you disagree, I will pay a big guy to punch you in a soft place.

I haven’t seen TRANSPORTER 3 yet, but thanks to this review, I feel like I have. Every word’s a gem, Vern. Thanks for the huge Friday morning belly laugh.

Check it out. Tell me I’m wrong.

Here’s a test for you. How many times did you rewind the part in TRANSPORTER 2 where he sees in a reflection that there’s a bomb on the bottom of his car so he drives the car off a pile of junk, flips, successfully hooks the bomb onto a nearby crane and lands the car safely?

If you answered 3 or more, like me, then you will probaly be disappointed in TRANSPORTER 3, like I was. If you prefer part 1 then all bets are off, but me, I’m strictly a part 2 man. The first one had some good action scenes, like the sliding-around-in-oil-on-the-ground fight. But it put too much emphasis on the melodrama. I don’t care how cool he looks in a suit, that’s not gonna make it interesting to hear him keep talking about his fucking “rules.” Oh geez I wonder what would happen if he ever broke one of those rules he won’t fucking shut up about, I guess it’s kind of a moot point though because obviously he would nev– WHUH? He broke his own rules? What’s gonna happen now? We’re through the looking glass, people.

Transporter 3Part 2 was a work of beauty though, a complete re-engineering that chops out everything that was dull and fills the empty space with added awesomeness. They still have the elaborate Hong Kong style fights, they raise the level of preposterous stunts/effects shots, they introduce more colorful characters. They got all kinds of crazy shit: a skeleton thrown at a guy, a firehose as a weapon, a car straddling two buildings. Frank jumps a jetski onto a street, jumps over two colliding cars, has a kickboxing match inside a spinning plane. How many movies have a female assassin in a sexy nurse costume, garters and Tammy Faye style smeared makeup driving a stolen police car? Not many. Later she is impaled on a wall of spikes in her boyfriend’s apartment, which in my opinion was an unsafe thing to have but I guess that’s easy for me to say, I wasn’t there. Hindsight is 20/20. Anyway, the point is that I love unapologetically over-the-top action when it’s well executed, and TRANSPORTER 2 delivers.

(get it, he is delivering a package, that was a Gene Shalit line. But I meant it.)

The less talk, more rock approach works so well I was convinced it was half an hour shorter than the first one, but IMDb says it was only a few minutes shorter. This one is about ten minutes longer, but with less content.

At the beginning we find Frank Transporter apparently retired. He enjoys fishing with his wacky French inspector pal and watching fishing programs at home. But then suddenly a car crashes through his living room driven by a guy who he suggested for a job he turned down. The guy is wearing a bracelet which causes him to explode when he is taken out of the car. Then Frank gets knocked out and forced to take over the job, which involves driving some freckle faced Ukrainian gal who for some reason he thinks is supposed to be his partner but everybody knows is really “the package,” the kidnapped daughter of an EPA commissioner being blackmailed to sign over something or other to some industrialists who want to dump toxic waste or some shit.

Okay, so the BATTLE ROYALE 2 type gimmick with the exploding bracelet is ridiculous, I give them points for that. But the standing-around-talking-about-shit-nobody-cares-about to entertainment ratio is unbearably high, not just compared to part 2 but even compared to the first one. In the best scene another driver takes Frank’s car, which means he’ll blow up when it gets 75 feet away. So he steals a bike and rides it through a factory, jumps through a window and back into the car. There’s also a funny car-onto-train jump, a part where he gets thrown through a brick wall like it’s a cartoon, and a fight where he takes off his jacket, shirt and tie and uses them as weapons. There are definitely some good moments, but they are spaced apart by, you know, other types of moments. Lots of them. When you finally get to the crazy shit it kind of feels out of place.

The director is newcomer Olivier Megaton. It’s a great name but he doesn’t live up to it with this movie, he MAYBE directs like an Olivier Halfastickofdynamite. Let me give you an example. There’s a scene where the girl can’t reach the gas station restroom without setting off the bracelet, so she brazenly pees on the floor. Right after that some enemies drive by… and then there is a car chase. If this was TRANSPORTER 2, and maybe even if it was THE TRANSPORTER, there would’ve been a huge fight and somebody would’ve slipped in that puddle of piss, I guarantee you. In this one there’s not as much action and there’s not as much gags in the action. It seems lazy compared to the other two. The fights are still choreographed by Corey Yuen, but he doesn’t do as many, and some of them are hard to make out because of that chaotic editing and shakycam virus that his been infecting all the modern action movies.

The train stuff made me laugh, but as a finale it seems a little weak. We’ve seen similar train-related ludicrousness in TORQUE and (yes, I have to say it) UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY. I don’t think Luc Besson’s heart was in it when he wrote this one. Maybe he’s lost his creative focus because he’s still upset about the Weinsteins redubbing his fairy cartoon with Snoop Dogg’s voice.

The character of Frank Transporter does evolve slightly. At no point does he seem weirdly racist. (Somebody told me those were young coconuts he used as boxing gloves against the black guy in part 2 but they sure look like watermelons to me.) Also he becomes an ex-gay in this one. He actually denies being gay while turning down heterosexual advances, but it still has the same kind of subtext as in part 2 so I’m gonna still consider him gay. He’s clearly thinking with his dick though, I really gotta question his judgment falling for this particular transportee. The scene that brings him back to the vagina is also the scene that made me start to hate the female lead. This is a crazy bitch who has been lying to him and treating him like shit, then she pissed on the floor and stole some vodka, she gets all giggly and steals the keys to the car, dances around threatening to blow them both up and forces him to take off his shirt and kiss her. Yeah, great catch there, Frank. Totally worth it.

Yeah I know, some talkbacker will say some cliche about how “crazy bitches are better in bed, heh heh heh,” but come on. Is that worth cleaning up after her when she pisses in his car? This is not a decision that’s gonna work out in Frank’s favor. Plus if he likes em crazy he should’ve gone for Lola in part 2. She was way hotter and had better hygiene.

I consider TRANSPORTER 3 an underwhelming installment. Too bad, because we could really use a good silly action series in the 2000s. But he’s only on strike 2, so I guess I’d watch a part 4 if they make one. I have a rule against watching the sequels for movies I didn’t like in the first place, but rules are meant to be listed, bragged about and then broken.


Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/39184

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008 at 4:40 am and is filed under Action, AICN, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

30 Responses to “Vern Vs. TRANSPORTER 3!!”

  1. Just watched it and didn’t like it. (I wasn’t a fan of the series anyway, but I watched it because a.) I like Robert Knepper and b.) the DVD hits stores over here on friday and I had to review it for a website.)
    Despite all its obvious flaws, there is one thing that seriously bothers me: Why the fuck did the two men who were supposed to save the politician’s daughter shoot a policeman and stole his navigation system? Did I miss anything?

  2. So I’ve just seen the first episode of the Transporter TV-series (co-produced by HBO and a bunch of international channels), and it’s pretty dire stuff. Post-action all the way. Apparently, they hired Cyril Raffaelli to choreograph the fights, but I guess they could’ve saved that cash and just asked the actors/stunt people to wave their hands around in wild haphazard fashion since all we see of the action are shaky, disjointed snippets. The car chases are repetitive, sluggish trawls, and it seems like the people running this thing decided what people really liked about the Transporter property were the bits of story connecting the action, so the focus is most definitely on them.

    The films were never great to begin with, but the premise could’ve yielded something with at least a smidgen more punch that this tepid bullshit delivers.

  3. Does it have any dialogue like “I want to feel sex one last time?” Because that would be tv gold.

  4. Sadly, no.

    There’s plenty of daftness in there, but nothing of that calibre.
    The girl Frank Transporter’s meant to protect flashes her tits n’ arse about two seconds after she’s met him and, one car ride later, feels that there’s a thing between them. Cue requisite sex scene. Also, the villain is this German sad-sack called “Frieder Trumpf” who tells a handful of boring stories about his child-molesting pa who used to be a conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He later threatens the girl with said conductor’s baton.

    It may sound entertainingly stupid, but it really isn’t.

  5. Just watched Transporter 3 and was sad to realize that it’s total dogshit because I really liked the first two. I had a bad feeling during the first fight when the camera was shaky as shit and there were 4 cuts for every punch thrown. And then when he is riding a bike, he rides up a truck and there is literally like 17 cuts in 5 seconds. I mean, why not just show him riding the goddamned bike up the truck in one clear shot? It really sucks because there were some good flashes of what made the other two good but they were totally ruined by the shitty direction.

    Also, I *hated* the chick in this one. She was even uglier than the “sexy” nurse from part 2.

  6. Let me know how the fourth one is. Was going to watch it until I saw you were rewatching these.

  7. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 6th, 2017 at 4:20 am

    HALLSY, that’s Olivier Megaton for you. He did the exact same thing in TAKEN 2 and COLOMBIANA. Probably my least favorite director I can think of, as he’s being given decent concepts for films that could be fun/good and he turns them into unwatchable crapfests every single time. With TRANSPORTER 3 especially you can tell they shot good, exciting material, but he fucks it up on purpose in the editing. Should legally be considered a crime imho

  8. Woah, I had no idea they even made a fourth one until you said that. I think I might give it a pass though – 15% on RT. Maybe I will just finally get around to watching BLITZ instead.

    Gaul – I will definitely avoid this guy’s other movies. It’s painful to watch.

  9. Transporter: Refueled is actually not that bad, it has an interesting plot and some cool action scenes. Of all the places I guessed they would take the Frank Martin character, “getting into a wacky, bickering adventure with his dad like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, would not be high on the list. Even stranger, they take away any impact or novelty of introducing Frank’s dad by recasting Frank with someone almost 20 years younger than Statham and got someone Statham’s age to play the dad. So basically it should have just been a new character or series, but if you can get over that, it’s not terrible.

    And yes, it’s definitely a step up from 3 and benefits from not being directed by Olivier Megaton. As said earlier, he may be the worst director working today – at least Zack Snyder and Michael Bay can direct the hell out of an action scene (in Bay’s case, sometimes). At least Paul W.S. Anderson seems to have some kind of vision behind what he does. At least Uwe Boll movies are kinda funny. Any “worst directors EVER” list that smugly puts Brett Ratner or McG on it and doesn’t mention Megaton is immediately invalid in my eyes.

  10. McG is disqualified for worst director because be filmed one of the greatest one takes in history.

  11. After Vern’s kind reply to my recent comment under the MECHANIC: RESURRECTION review, I’m going to share a few more thoughts as I continue through my Summer Jason Statham Retrospective (don’t ask, it’s A Time in my life). Last night I went for TRANSPORTER 3, so this time I’m commenting on a movie a mere 14 years after it came out. I’m not doing the TRANSPORTERS in order because a recent screening of TRANSPORTER 2 on UK TV actually kicked off this whole retrospective. That was as brilliant as ever. TRANSPORTER 3, however, was worse than I remembered. And I really didn’t like it the first time I saw it. Still, I’m committed to this exercise, so I gave it another chance. There will not be a third.

    As a ride-or-die Statham fan, it gives me no joy to say that there’s very little to recommend watching this if you missed it first time round – even if you, too, are doing a Jason Statham retrospective. As soon as it started, with those godawful Avid farts (thank you Vern, for the terminology) applied even to the most mundane moments, like a car driving off a ferry, my heart sank. Then came the horrible spectacle of Frank Transporter fishing in a bucket hat. And, worst of all, the unintelligible chopped-up action scenes, so disappointing after the TRANSPORTER 2’s superb water-hose fight (which I show to anyone who dares to mock Statham to my face).

    None of the fights are especially memorable. The car chases were also pretty lacklustre. I have no problem suspending my disbelief for these movies, especially when it comes to physics, but I did not enjoy the scene where Frank drives his car at an angle between two trucks. I think I would have enjoyed it more if the car had moved between the trucks more quickly, but it went soooooo slooooowly and just looked terrible. I’m sorry to say even the BMX scene was a dud for me. I just don’t see the Stath as a BMX guy. It felt a bit like pandering to the young’uns somehow, like that skateboarding scene in xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE that made me cringe myself inside out. So, I looked up when BMX first became an Olympic sport because I remember everyone going crazy about how cool it was – and sure enough, it was in 2008, the same year that TRANSPORTER 3 was released. Maybe a coincidence, but my cynical alarm went off big time.

    Finally, far be it from me to be a bad ally to my fellow ladies, but Valentina – sorry girl, you’re a nightmare. I mean, behaving like pissing on the floor of a grotty service station is the most alluring thing a girl can do to attract a mate is bananas. And yet, it kinda works on Frank! Maybe I just haven’t lived enough. One thing about watching these movies back-to-back, though, is that I realised it’s the second time Frank has a lady ‘package’ who gets him into strife because she needs to pee, which gave me a good laugh. It’s like the franchise’s leitmotif. I wonder what it symbolises?

    I don’t enjoy trashing movies, I know how much hard work goes into making these things, and I always like to pull out a few moments that I genuinely liked, but it’s slim pickings with this one. I think the Stath plays exasperation really well in the service station scene, him signalling silently through the window at Valentina’s nasty antics was pretty funny. I also enjoyed how angrily he took off his tie in the striptease for the keys scene. But when those are highlights in a frickin Statham film, you know something ain’t firing properly. Luckily I don’t hold a grudge, because I’ve got a shitload more films to get through and thankfully this one is behind me now. I forgive you, Jason.

  12. Thanks for this! I think the one I really need to rewatch is the first one. I know I was kind of mixed on it back in the day, but I only remember the positive stuff now, and I bet I would be less picky about the other stuff in my old age.

  13. Have you seen the 4th one without Statham, Vern?

  14. Yeah, from what I remember I didn’t hate it, but it obviously didn’t make enough of an impression for me to complete a review of it. Have you seen it? Any thoughts?

  15. I still haven’t forgiven the first one for putting a scene where someone fires a rocket at Statham, and he deflects with a silver tray on the trailer and then they cut it out of the freaking movie. I mean COME ON!

  16. I didn’t hate it, Vern. It’s harmless and a step up from 3.

  17. That was my takeaway, as well. It’s far better made than 3 but still not very memorable overall. Skrein isn’t a bad replacement for Statham and has a fun dynamic with Ray Stevenson.

  18. “I want to feel sex one last time.” I once interviewed Robert Mark Kamen and he confirmed that line was in the script and she delivered it as such.

  19. I am going to be the minority opinion i bet, but i really enjoyed THE GRAY MAN last night.

  20. I had a similar experience. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I had a good time watching it.

  21. The Prague Park attack sequence was really good in my opinion.

    This won’t replace the MI series anytime soon but i wouldn’t mind seeing another GREY MAN film. The ending sets it up anyway.

  22. It kinda struck me as a Ghost of Christmas Future to the James Bond movies, just too late to convince Eon to make Daniel Craig smile once in a while. “Here’s what it would look like if Bond were just an emotionless brooding machine with no interest in wine, women, or song.” And I know Ryan Gosling is good at playing emotionless brooding machines, but you’ve got to give him *something* to be centered around other than an algorithm-mandated cute little girl to protect (or a cliche-mandated abusive childhood to… remind him of Chris Evans? Huh?).

    Though I suppose I should give props for giving The Mandalorian And Cub a sincere bond instead of a snarky post-modern bantering back-and-forth relationship, like in Iron Man 3 and Deadpool 2 (“We know it’s totally lame and cliched to give our badass antihero a little kid sidekick, so let’s make a bunch of jokes about how lame it is instead of coming up with some not-lame material to film.”), but that comes off not as a willful choice, but as more blandness. Like “yeah, we’ve spent five whole minutes on their bond, should we really develop them more than that?”

  23. Sorry…I didn’t hate it….enjoyed parts of it…but for a movie fundamentally about a super assassin being hunted by scores of other super assassins…this should have been at a JOHN WICK-ian level of bat shit crazy…instead you get some FAST & FURIOUS vibes throughout, with overly CGI-ed, and frantically cut PG-13 action sequences most of the time. I never realized a torture sequence involving pulling off a man’s finger nails with a plier could generate zero tension, but the Russos pull it off with aplomb.

    Chris Evans is a lot of fun and very popular South Indian film star Dhanush gets a brief but cool role (but his character’s about-face is deeply stupid) . But the BRIDGERTON dude and THE IRON FIST chick are wasted. Ana De Armas is always watchable but provides further proof this movie’s over-stuffed with characters (based on the 1st of 11 GRAY MAN books to date, the novel was a lean, stripped down affair.).

    The problem is Gosling. Having read a few of the books, he’s woefully miscast for me. The movie doesn’t attempt to harness Gosling’s brooding persona to a cold, calculating killing machine, it attempts to sand off Court Gentry’s lethal edges to fit Gosling’s no doubt considerable sex appeal and laidback charm. It’s an Assassin Thriller meant to bring in THE NOTEBOOK crowd.

    Book Gentry is the the 80s/90s definition of an Action Hero. He’s taciturn, cold, brooding and hyper focused but with a strong Moral Center. Film Gentry is that now familiar Creature of 21st Century Action movies: He’s glib, sardonic, skilled but sensitive and 2 quips away from nailing a Marvel Audition. Other items on the Politically Correct Checklist are present and accounted for. Interrogation Sessions between people who plan and execute the taking of human lives on a daily basis have references to Sexual Harassment and removing oneself from someone’s Personal Space, because what Stone Cold Masterminds of Subterfuge, Espionage and Mass Murder fear most is a HR disciplinary hearing.

    I counted 2 decent fight scenes and 1 okay-ish shoot out. But the rest is strictly “One Time Watch” stuff.

  24. It probably didn’t help that I caught the JOHN WICK 4 teaser the same day , saw it 3 times and wished I didn’t have to wait 8 months to see it

  25. I wait for Vern’s review (If there will be one), but my watchlist is too long to waste another 2 hours on an action movie from people who can’t do action movies.

  26. Was amused by how, unlike in Bourne Identity and Bond, where at least some of the high-ranking government officials look like Brian Cox or Tommy Lee Jones, here *everyone* is a perfect 10 sorority girl or frat bro (except for a few walk-ons that blow themselves up as quickly as possible). It’s like The Tudors’ sexy-sex approach to history, only without the parts where they actually get naked and jump into bed.

  27. Oh, that’s right! I do remember being annoyed that they couldn’t just let Stevenson be the Transporter.

  28. “Was amused by how, unlike in Bourne Identity and Bond, where at least some of the high-ranking government officials look like Brian Cox or Tommy Lee Jones, here *everyone* is a perfect 10 sorority girl or frat bro (except for a few walk-ons that blow themselves up as quickly as possible)”


    So called “Dad Movies” get a ton of shit these days, but it’s refreshing to go back to something like HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and see actors that ACTUALLY look like they belong in the positions they are, their lined, craggy faces convincing you of the thousands of hours they spent acquiring their skills and navigating the treacherous politics of Bureaucracy on the way to becoming seasoned pros. Not Glam Pots who looked like they got hired directly after their 10 AM Vogue Shoot.

    And I’ll also agree, that you put this many good looking bodies in one movie, they best be ripping each others’ clothes off and banging each other senseless at 30 minute intervals (something the great Paul Verhoeven figured out 25 years ago in STARSHIP TROOPERS)

  29. Yeah, and Bond is a fantasy. They’re not trying to be realistic, but they still have plenty of middle-aged, average-looking characters like M, Q, Moneypenny, most of the villains (no offense, Jonathan Pryce). Here, they’re going way more Tom Clancy, yet every character is Alicia Vikander in Jason Bourne. Except for Billy Bob Thornton, who is supposed to be a retiree with one foot in the grave… he’s actually a year younger than the real-life director of the CIA. Come onnnn.

  30. Yeah, but given they’re an agency that specialise in infiltration efforts, it makes sense they’d have people who take care of themselves and just look like they’d be the type hang out in a high end nightclub and the like. Also with Regé-Jean Page’s character, I definitely think his youth and lack of blemishes is meant to count against him and reinforce him being an ruthlessly ambitious little shit who doesn’t like to get his hands dirty. When he throws his bowl against the window at Six not following a direct order early on, I think it’s meant to show he’s a bit of a petulant asshole used to getting his way.
    Joe Russo was playing the CIA higher up in the debriefing/hearing thing at the end though, even though I wish he’d stop giving himself speaking parts in his movies. At least his brother was content to be gagged in his cameo.

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