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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Transporter 3

I don’t know about you, but every time I see Jason Stratham (Death Race) I always think how sad it is the way he’s let himself go. All those muscles upon muscles and those tight abs stretched across that furry tan tummy. What a shame it is all going to waste… on someone else (although I do hear he is currently single). Jason, call me.

I’m sorry, but my mind wanders during whatever movie he’s in and it is hard to keep track of the plot, not that the plot is all that important. Stratham is the ultimate himbo. He oozes testosterone, can literally kick ass with the best kickboxers in the business and he has his always delicious British accent to entice when his chest hair and that always at just-exactly-two-day stubble aren’t enough to keep a girl swooning. Of course none of this matters because those of the female population are not the target audience Stratham is aiming for with his movies. Jason is a man’s man, and I don’t mean that in the third grade *giggle-giggle* sense. Nope, Jason is the kind of man other men fantasize about. They simply love every inch of him.

That was certainly evident the night I went to see Transporter 3. The theater at the Essex
Cinemas was packed, and the smell of testosterone was pungent in the air. It was like a ‘straight boys dating straight boys date night’. Almost everybody in the audience was of the male persuasion and had obviously already seen The Transporter and Transporter 2. This was like a family reunion to these guys, a chance to see their long-lost (and highly developed super-ego) selves, a studly former mercenary named Frank Martin.

Frank is known as a man of few words and major attitude, and it is while he is quietly spending an evening alone at his home outside Marseilles that his privacy is (literally) crashed and he is drawn
into a convoluted plan to force Leonid Vasilev (Jeroen Krabbé; Ocean's Twelve), the Prime Minister of The Ukraine, into allowing eco-terrorists to use the Black Sea as a dumping ground for thousands of tons of toxic waste. What is it with this sudden upsurge in environmentally conscious ass-whupping films? Just last month it was Quantum of Silence with James Bond trying to save the world from water-rights thieves, and now this! The next thing you know our tough guys are going to be saving baskets of kittens, but before that happens, in Transporter 3, Frank is focusing on rescuing only one wildcat, Valentina (former hairdresser making her debut, Natalya Rudakova). She’s the Prime Minister’s daughter, who has been kidnapped as leverage by those irritating eco-terrorists. Headed up by a villainous man known only as Johnson (Robert Knepper; ‘T-Bag’ of tv’s “Prison Break”), they are also responsible for strong-arming Frank and burdening him with the task of delivering the fiery redhead to her father, but only after the deal with him has been completed in Odessa.

To ensure that Frank does exactly what Johnson wants, he and Valentina have both been equipped with chemically-charged bracelets that are rigged to explode any time either of them gets seventy-
five feet or more from Frank’s super-slick armored Audi S8. Obviously, this presents a whole lot of problems (you try finding an available restroom, m’kay?), especially when you’ve got to contend with armed goons sent by Vasilev himself to rescue his daughter, unaware of the kabooming bauble situation, as well as Johnson’s army of not-so-well-wishers who are stationed along the way in Stuttgart and Budapest to make sure Frank doesn’t deviate from his path. Think of this as a sort of bullet-piercing travelogue with lots of “almost” situations, as in Frank “almost” gets killed.

It’s a cinch that Frank is going to fall for the dame too, though why is beyond me. Natalya Rudakova reminds me of a Euro-trash version of plain white trash Lindsay Lohan ~ all red hair, freckles, and lack of acting ability. At least the Euro-trash girl wear panties, so we don’t have any unexpected shots of escaping pussies from that basketful we were talking about earlier every time Valentina exits the Audi, if you know what I mean, and I am sure you do.

What is cringe-producing, however, is Frank’s giving in to the Ukrainian Lohan’s demands for sex when one considers she had been out partying hard the night of her kidnapping and it is now at least two days later and she hasn’t showered or even brushed her teeth. I’m sorry, but Valentina looks like a walking infection and considering all the booze she has consumed and spilled in recent days she’s got to reek. How much must Frank suffer along the way to deliver the “package”?

Director Olivier Megaton (I am not making this name up, seriously) whose last full-length movie was 2002’s La Sirène Rouge, does a terrific job taking over the reins from previous directors Louis Leterrier (T2) and Corey Yuen (T1), with a script and story from Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, the pair responsible for the first two installments. The car stunts are completely off the hook and anyone who believes they could even remotely recreate some of these is in need of intensive psychiatric therapy, but that doesn’t mean watching them isn’t a lot of fun. There is one
sequence reminiscent of a critical scene in this year’s Wanted involving a train, which is too bad because both movies rock, and since Transporter 3 has been released later it will be seen as a copycat, but both use their bits effectively and I think Transporter 3 does so better in the long run because it utilizes Frank’s Audi more and in an extended way to actually dispatch the villain.

I quite enjoyed
Transporter 3, even though my estrogen levels were diminished by the dominance of male hormones permeating the hall. I’m looking forward to Transporter 4, but somehow, before then, Frank is going to have to ditch that freckled female. She’s more annoying than charming, and, like Bond, Frank needs to fill his passenger seat with someone new in every film. If I was him, I’d have kept one of those “special” bracelets for her just to wrap things up completely before moving on to the next chapter. One thing is certain. Jason, you can transport me any day.

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