Transporter 3 (2008)

transporter_three_ver3_xlgFrank Martin is back and is in deep doo doo for the third go around in the “Transporter” series. Now retired and taking a long needed vacation, fate comes crashing down his doors as he’s confronted with a colleague who is killed in the middle of what was supposed to be his job all along. When Frank is taken off guard he awakens to learn that he and his car can not be separated or else he and the enigmatic women in his co-pilot seat will go up in a burst of flames. “The Transporter” series has been one of my favorite knock offs of “The Driver” this millennium and Jason Statham is a wonderful successor to Ryan O’Neal as this man with tones of gray allowed more breathing room this go around.

Statham is at his usual level of cool here but is given much more leeway with Martin as a character who is able to answer some questions about himself that were always lingering in audiences minds. One of which is Frank gay? The answer is of course contrary to the daring direction that this series could go, but at least the movie takes a turn by making Frank one of the packages for once, turning him in to a ticking time bomb that could go off at any moment. This sets up some intense sequences, one of which involves a lone car jacker, and the other a high speed chase that ends on a wheelie and a drive off of a cliff. With “The Transporter” films you could always expect a level of pure absurdity, but here it’s taken to the usual heights with moments that are off the wall and idiotic, but entertaining just the same.

How else to express the love for big fight in the car shop, or Frank’s ability to maneuver between two trucks, or run after a high speeding vehicle without barely breaking a sweat? Though I could have stood a film twenty minutes shorter, “The Transporter 3” is a great and entertaining final film in an abundantly entertaining vehicle of a series that’s allowed Statham to flex his charisma and depth and given him a chance to play action hero for his fans. With the proposed series coming very soon, I expect we’ll see so much more of Frank doing what Frank does, with his enigmatic past coming in to the foreground and much more PG-13 action scenes entertaining his growing parade of fan boys.

But as a final film in the series, and a possible final escapade to Frank Martin’s life where his business is now ruined by corrupt mob bosses unwilling to play fair, this is an adequate and thoroughly exciting action fixture with taut editing and a great sense of humor. Particularly from Jason Statham who seems aware this material is abundantly ridiculous, but charming nevertheless. Though a little long for its own good, “Transporter 3” is a satisfying finisher to a trilogy of guilty pleasure films that have embraced the absurd and turned it in to a bona fide gimmick for fans of Jason Statham and classic carsploitation action films. I look forward to seeing what they can do with a television series.