When we’re looking for a Transporter sequel, we’re looking for three things: creative fight sequences, car stunts and Frank Martin strictly obeying his own three rules. Transporter 3 misses on all three, fumbling through a nonsensical plot and wasting Jason Statham’s — and the viewer’s — time. Let’s just cut to the chase: the “package” Frank must transport in Transporter 3 is a mysterious Ukrainian girl who by no fault of her own is tied into an environmental pollution conspiracy. Frank eventually trades names with her, breaking his own rule and setting up a love scene. Um, OK….
Keeping Frank and this woman named Valentina in his Audi are wrist bombs that will automatically detonate if they wander more than 75 feet from the car. This plot device had the potential to deliver killer action scenes. It was only use twice, and poorly at that. Frank’s nemesis, Johnson, goes as far as to describe how the wrist bombs will display different colors as someone moves increasingly farther away from the Audi. Yet when Frank battles a dozen men in multiple rooms of a mechanic’s shop, never does he peek to see how close he is to exploding.
Oddly enough, that mechanic’s shop fight is the action centerpiece of the film, but it may as well have been lifted from the opening scene of Transporter 2. Frank is outnumbered, surrounded and ends up using his clothing and their weapons to clean house. At least the ladies will like Frank going topless. You know, because it’s practical and all.
The multimedia fares slightly better, with a 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encoded 2.35:1 transfer that generally looks great. As with the previous Transporter films, there is heavy filtering to push contrast and saturation hard resulting in ultra-bright reds, blues, yellows and greens. The transfer manages all of these effectively under an intentional light grain that matches the scruff on Frank’s face. Black levels are strong, but they do yield occasional blocking in the backgrounds of action-packed scenes.
A 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track makes full use of the extra two channels of surround by creating a strikingly realistic soundstage whether through ambient noise or during hard action sequences. One early sequence in particular sees a car crash through the side of Frank’s home while he’s watching TV. The aural impact of this crash was so real that I jumped in my chair as if a car had smashed into my home.
Transporter 3 includes the requisite amount of bonus features you’d expect, with the notable exception of Jason Statham participating in an audio commentary. In Statham’s place, Director Olivier Megaton man’s up to the microphone for an average Feature-Length Audio Commentary with a heavy French accent and diverse discussion topics ranging from script analysis to casting to character motives to photography styles.
A collection of older government intelligence officers tell us how real-life Transporters operate, and have operated since the Revolutionary War, in Special Delivery: Transporters in the Real World (13:49). One consultant openly blames Princess Diana’s “Transporter” for her untimely death due to his inability to avoid the tunnel accident. In Making of Transporter 3 (16:16), Megaton takes us behind-the-scenes of his European production home base with minimal references to how great he thinks his film is.
The next three featurettes are extremely brief and touch upon their subject matter without delving too deep into details. Storyboard Compare (2:47) shows some sequences that didn’t make the film including driving between passing trains that was later modified to trucks. Visual Effects (2:33) focuses most of its time on the final act’s stunts, while The Sets (2:10) links the architectural interests of the production designer to work seen in the film.
Also included is the Theatrical Trailer in high definition, too many trailers for upcoming Lionsgate’s films including Crank 2, and Lionsgate’s MOLOG interactive “blog” feature exclusive to Blu-ray.
Frank Martin’s third time through the paces is by far the weakest in the series. It’s an inferior retread of its predecessors in every conceivable way, and it would be completely avoidable if not for another gusto performance by Statham. Consider Transporter 3 as a rental for the faithful 1080p transfer, lifelike 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix or curiosity; not because you expect to see a good Transporter film.
Click here to buy Transporter 3 on Blu-ray from Amazon.com.
- Score: 7