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Review: Transporter 3 (2009)

Directed by: | 103 minutes | action | Actors: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, François Berléand, Robert Knepper, Jeroen Krabbé, Alex Kobold, , , , David Kammenos, , , , , Paul Barrett, , , , , , , , , , Martial Bezot, , Julien Muller, , Guillaume Nail

Why make it difficult when it can be done easily? The makers of the Transporter series have not bothered to come up with a flashy subtitle for the third part. Just stick a 3 behind it. It is typical of the simple and unpretentious approach of the Transporter films. The first two parts consisted of little more than fight and race scenes, doused with some postmodern irony. It resulted in entertaining action films of reasonable quality.

In the third part, most of the elements from the previous parts return. The protagonist is still the impeccably dressed Frank Martin, parcel deliverer, stunt driver, fighting specialist, childhood friend, hero against will and thanks. Frank still wants nothing more than a quiet life on the Côte d’Azur and he is still not allowed to do so. So we see a lot of crooks firing tens of thousands of bullets without hitting anything. Fortunately, Frank once again performs the most impossible stunts with his car, being on the road as often as in the air. And after Marcel Proust was unexpectedly involved in the conversation in previous episodes, Dostoevsky now comes along. And yes, that’s funny.

Still, part three is of a slightly lower quality than the previous parts. This is partly due to the romantic Frank discovers in himself. It produces scenes in which there is plenty of chatter about restaurants, beautiful cities and other sensitive matters. Those romantic scenes are as inappropriate here as a shootout in a cream bowl. Moreover, they get the momentum out of the story. While the first parts were one constant adrenaline rush, here is too often slowed down. It immediately explains why this part clocks well above an hour and a half, while the predecessors stayed neatly below it.

The more conventional narration also works against the film. The story again is not much – something about biological waste that can destroy half a continent – but it is now taken much more seriously than the previous times. Together with the romantic scenes, this makes ‘Transporter 3’ much more conventional. And therefore less attractive.

Fortunately, the difference in quality is not insurmountable, so that viewers who enjoyed the first two parts can safely buy a ticket for this third part. But for action movie enthusiasts for whom Bond or Bourne is the standard, this is seriously questionable. Hopefully, next time Frank will just start shooting women again, instead of hanging out the romantic with them. That quiet life on the Côte d’Azur was not there anyway.

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