As entertaining as I found these movies, part of me feels bad that I never went to see them in theaters. Still, I had no problem renting them and enjoying them from the comfort of my home. I think part of it is that the trailers honestly never really appealed to me, even though I liked the movies after the fact. That goes with today’s movie, as I honestly didn’t have any burning desire to rush out and see it. So let’s finish this series with a bang as I watch today’s movie, Transporter 3.
The plot: As a freighter heads towards port in Marseilles, France, two of the crew members sneak down to the cargo hold and open a container that is supposed to be carrying booze but instead, has drums of toxic waste. When an alert sounds throughout the ship, the captain investigates and finds the two crew members dead and has their bodies disposed of. Meanwhile, an Audi pulls off of a ferry and makes it’s way through the security checkpoints but when one checkpoint tells the driver to get out of the car, and to wake the girl asleep in the back, the driver speeds through the check point, initiating a police chase. Elsewhere, Frank Martin is fishing with Inspector Tarconi when Tarconi gets a call about the car chase, and tells Frank that they wanted him to question Frank but he will be able to give him an alibi. Meanwhile, in the Ukraine, the Environmental Agency Minister, Leonid Tomilenko, receives a phone call from a man named Johnson, telling him to reopen negotiations with Ecocorp, having sent photos of his captured daughter Valentina to force him to comply. That night, Frank is watching TV when the Audi crashes through his living room. When Frank goes to check on the driver, he recognizes him as Malcom, another transporter and one he recommended for a job he refused to take. Frank calls the paramedics and as they load Malcom into the back of the ambulance and start to drive off, Frank notices Valentina in the back seat. He starts to move her but she tells him not to move her from the car, showing a bracelet that is around her wrist. Recalling that Malcom had one on as well, Frank rushes outside to stop the ambulance only for it to explode and as Frank goes back inside to ask the girl what is going on, he is knocked unconscious. When Frank comes too, he is approached by Johnson, who tells him that Malcom was not capable of finishing the job and forces Frank to complete it. Johnson shows that he brought Frank’s car to him, though they removed all of the weapons from it while installing a pre-programmed GPS. He then explains about the bomb in the bracelet on Frank’s wrist, hands him a phone with his number programmed into it, then sends Frank on his way. At Frank’s house, Tarconi is inspecting the scene and has the car moved from the living room to the lab but as the car is towed away, it is stopped by two men from the Ukrainian secret service, who kill the driver and steal the GPS from the car. After leaving France, Frank contacts Johnson, who gives him the code for the GPS and Frank learns he is to head to Budapest. Frank tries to get some information from Valentina but she is reluctant to say anything. Meanwhile, Leonid meets with the people from Ecocorp, who tell him that they have 8 ships containing the toxic chemicals they wish to dispose of that needs his approval to enter the country. Leonid stalls them by saying he needs 24 hours to go over the paperwork but after they leave, he contacts the secret service, who are heading to Budapest and Leonid tells them they have 24 hours. After talking to Valentina for a bit, Frank makes a detour off the programmed course and goes to see Otto, a mechanic friend of his, to see if he can help remove the bracelet. Otto explains what he knows about the bracelet and begins searching for the transceiver in the car when Johnson’s men, who Johnson had sent after Frank, show up at the shop. Frank deals with the men as Otto locates the transceiver but tells Frank he can’t remove it without it exploding. Frank leaves the shop and contacts Johnson, saying he wants to arrange a meeting and Johnson says he will call once Frank arrives in Budapest. When Frank gets there, he receives a call from a pay phone close to the car but Johnson had merely called to get Frank out of the car so that one of his men could steal it. Frank manages to follow after the car and get it back, then contacts Tarconi to get his help in the matter. Frank contacts Johnson again, saying they are even now and should start with a clean slate, and Johnson gives him new coordinates to Bucarest, saying they will conclude their business there. After hanging up with Johnson, Frank speaks with Tarconi, who was patched into the call so they could trace it, and he says he will work on locating Johnson. As they make their way to Bucarest, Frank stops for gas and Valentina begins teasing and flirting with him while she heads into the station to use the restroom and get some food and a bottle of vodka. As he is filling up, Frank notices the car with the secret service pulling over close by, having been warned about them by Tarconi, and as he struggles with Valentina to get back in the car, the secret service spot them and start to give chase. As they are driving, Frank contacts Johnson, thinking it is more of his men, but Johnson assures him he has nothing to do with it and tells Frank to drive faster while he checks into it. Frank manages to evade the men, putting his car on two wheels at one point to squeeze between two tractor trailers, then detours through the woods, where he finally manages to run the car off the side of a mountain pass. Valentina continues flirting with Frank, grabbing the keys and forcing him to do a strip tease in order to get them back and the end up having sex. Afterwards, Valentina explains how she ended up being captured by Johnson’s men and placed in the car with Malcom. Frank begins heading back to Bucarest but Johnson calls him and redirects him to the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Meanwhile, Tarconi arrives in Odessa and speaks with Leonid, explaining what he knows and Frank’s involvement in the matter and they agree to work together to locate Johnson and rescue Valentina and Frank. Johnson directs Frank onto a bridge, where he is ends up being boxed in by Johnson’s men. Johnson tells Frank to send Valentina out and Frank tells her to go, saying the need her alive, and she kisses him goodbye before exiting the car. When she reaches Johnson, he removes the bracelet from her and takes her to his car, ordering his men to kill Frank. Johnson’s men begin shooting at Frank and Franks drives off the bridge into the water below in order to escape. As his car sinks, Frank contacts Tarconi to tell him where he is, then uses the air from his tires to fill up some waterproof bags in order to float the car back to the surface. When Tarconi arrives with the police, he sees Frank being towed back to shore and they work on getting his car running again while Tarconi explains what is going on. Johnson and his men board a train and then Johnson contacts Leonid to have Valentina speak to him but she tells her father not to sign the papers. After getting his car started and learning where Johnson is, Frank head off after the train and manages to jump off a bridge and land his car on top of it. Frank makes his way inside and begins killing Johnson’s men while Johnson chases after Valentina, who had managed to escape. As Frank approaches Johnson, he gets to far from the car and can’t advance further while Johnson begins taunting Frank, then uncouples the car from the rest of the train. Frank heads back up to his car and drives it off the car into the rest of the train, then begins fighting with Johnson. Frank eventually gets the upperhand and unlocks his bracelet, then places it onto Johnson while putting his car into reverse, causing it to fall off the train and Johnson screams out before he explodes. Frank checks to make sure that Valentina is ok and the two kiss while Tarconi contacts Leonid to tell him she is safe. Leonid rips up the papers he was about to sign for Ecocorp and heads to a conference to speak out against them, while police board the freighters that are carrying the toxic waste and arrest the crews. Some time later, Tarconi and Frank are fishing again and Tarconi comments about the changes in Frank’s life, just as Valentina wakes up from her nap and hugs Frank before asking about lunch.
Transporter 3 met with poor results from the critics, holding a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “This middling installment in the Transporter franchise is a few steps down from its predecessors, featuring generic stunts and a lack of energy.” All of the car stunts were performed in real time with no models and almost no CGI, which ended up providing a different set of difficulties for the stunt team. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $108.9 million off of an estimated $30 million budget, making it the highest grossing film in the series, and the only film in the series that was nominated for an award, though it didn’t win.
This was a good way to end Jason Statham’s run in the series but I will admit it is a little weak compared to the other movies. The acting was ok, with Jason Statham and Francois Berleand doing a good job reprising their roles of Frank and Tarconi respectively. I thought Natalya Rudakova did a good job in her debut role as Valentina while Robert Knepper made a pretty convincing villain in Johnson. The story was a little weak in my opinion as it didn’t feel as compelling as the previous movies. However, I did like the idea about the bomb-laden bracelets and it being linked to the car, as it made it keep the action tied to the car and driving. The action sequences were pretty good while the stunt driving was also good but a definitely a little more unbelievable than in the previous movies. Also, I have to admit that the scene with Frank underwater and lifting his car using the air from his tires was a load of crap. Still, it was some mindless entertainment that is sometimes all you need in a movie.
Rating: 3 out of 5