Perhaps one of the most curious franchises to ever form into a trilogy, the Transporter series has managed to rack up three titles under its belt and judging by the series continued box office performance, it’s likely it’ll continue down the line. While Transporter 3 didn’t receive the same box office results as the second in the series, it still managed to perform admirably despite critical reception essentially calling it the worst in the series. Now with the film arriving on home video, fans can get a chance to watch the trilogy back-to-back-to-back—should they so desire, at least. And if they opt to watch them in Blu-ray, they may just enjoy them a lot more…
Frank Martin (Jason Statham) has been pressured into transporting Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), the kidnapped daughter of Leonid Vasilev (Jeroen Krabbé), the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for the Ukraine, from Marseilles through Stuttgart and Budapest until he ends up in Odessa on the Black Sea. Along the way, with the help of Inspector Tarconi (François Berléand), Frank has to contend with the people who strong armed him to take the job, agents sent by Vasilev to intercept him, and the general non-cooperation of his passenger. Despite Valentina’s cynical disposition and his resistance to get involved, Frank and Valentina fall for each other, while escaping from one life-threatening situation after another.
It’s fair to say there was never a whole lot of plot going on in the Transporter universe, but what little was there was just really to string together action scenes of mindless violence, so I never objected to it. Now for the third installment, however, they attempt to load the viewer up with a great deal more plot than is probably required; a love connection between Frank and his cargo this time is formed and is probably the most tedious part of the entire film. At first it seemed innocent enough; Valentina looked like she was no more than sixteen or seventeen (though her age is never stated), but once she and Frank started snogging on each other I had to wonder what the hell this type of stuff was doing stepping into the Transporter universe.
Okay, so romance aside, the action is still good, right? What there is of it…yes. The problem is that during the 104 minutes of the film, only about a half hour or so of it is actually occupied by the adrenaline fueled action that we’ve become accustomed to from the series. There are some admittedly crazy stunts here and there, but for the most part the action in this film is really quite…tame. The hand-to-hand combat is as exciting as always and some of the car sequences are absolutely edge-of-your-seat material. But then those sequences end and we’re back inside the car with Frank and Valentina and it turns to crap again.
An element of the film I’m rather confused about is why the hell they spend so much time talking about food. The first time it was a cute little connection point between Frank and Valentina; the second time it felt a little useless, but ok, whatever, that’s what they like to talk about. By the third time it happened I was wondering if the writers were watching Food TV while writing the script and when the film actually ended with them talking about fish, I threw my hands up in the air.
It’s a shame that this series is apparently running on empty when it comes to story ideas. The idea of pairing Frank up with a better half is entertaining, but the character is so…strange that it’s hard to really get invested in her character. At one point she’s emotionally withdrawn then she takes some pills and downs some vodka and then she won’t shut the hell up afterwards. It’s a very awkward and confusing character and one I don’t want to revisit anytime soon, as on top of her annoyances the actress playing her just wasn’t very good (or there was some kind of strange language barrier going on, one or the other).
Foreign locations, awesome cars, and cool hand-to-hand combat are all the film has going for it and even then it’s in such short supply that the viewer will have to fill the void with the films plot, which is not only very bland but also overly drawn out. I’m sure you could piece it together if you pay full attention to the story, but the first two lines of the synopsis supplied by Lionsgate actually tells you more about the films plot than the film does within the first forty-five minutes.
Overall the film isn’t even as filled with mindless entertainment as one would hope. Worth a Rental for fans, but otherwise Skip It. There is just nothing of redeemable value here. Instead save your money for the next Crank, as that movie looks like it’s going to be nothing but mindless violence and insanity.
Even for the most mediocre of films, Lionsgate never fails to impress with their Blu-ray releases. Arriving in a standard two-disc Blu-ray case (second disc is a digital copy) and the usual inserts (including one with the code for the digital copy), the film has a basic and easy to use menu setup as well as a whole myriad of Blu-ray BD-Live style extras, such as the MoLog feature which is really probably one of the more…interesting (i.e., rather useless) BD-Live extras, but at least Lionsgate is trying.
The excellence doesn’t stop with the external presentation of the film. The internal contents are just as astounding. An AVC encoded 1080p transfer of the film is absolutely stunning from beginning to end. Immediately as the film starts out with a sunset colored ocean, the detail on the waves and shipping freighter is absolutely astonishing. The slickness and clarity of the Audi that Statham pushes to the limit is breathtaking and the muscles and chest hair defined on Statham’s body is…well, I’ll stop commenting there. Simply put it is a fantastic transfer and more than demo worthy, especially when paired with the films deafening DTS-HD MA 7.1 track. Although there are few instances in which the film is required to pump out the bass, when it has to the walls immediately begin to rumble. Explosions rock the floor and a full backdraft of the flames floods the front and surround speakers before exiting out the back. It’s definitely a powerhouse of an HD treat and more than satisfactory. If only I didn’t have to hear them talk about food and wine in 7.1…
Extras for the film start out with a Audio Commentary with Director Olivier Megaton that is a pleasure to listen to, as he is quick to cover all of the bases of the film. Whether it’s the delays due to striking actors or even smaller things like design elements for props, the director is informative and intriguing—but only if you’re a fan of the series. If you don’t care about Frank’s past, then you probably won’t care to listen to a commentary for a very mediocre film.
Next up is a round of standard definition featurettes including Special Delivery: Transporters in Real Life (13:49), which looks at the real-life transporters. Next is Making of Transporter 3 (13:49), a round of Storyboard Compare (16:16) and two quick featurettes on the Visual Effects (2:33) and The Sets (2:10). Finally our only HD extra, the Theatrical Trailer (2:10, 1080p), wraps up the extras. There are some trailers for other films that precede the film in HD (including the aforementioned sequel to Crank, an advertisement for the Blu-ray release of The Spirit and…a trailer for War? That movies been out for over a year now…) as well, so you may want to check those out first—they’re more entertaining.
Overall this is a decent release for, again, fans of the series but newcomers will be less than impressed. Rental for those interested in being blown away by what the Blu-ray format can do, but otherwise this can be easily Skipped.
Transporter 3 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.