Friday, December 05, 2008

TRANSPORTER 3: MOVIE REVIEW


Cast: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, Robert Knepper
Director: Olivier Megaton
Runtime: 100 min.
Rating: **1/2
Genre: Action

        The version of Transporter 3 doing the rounds here in India doesn’t have a single subtitle despite there being a sizeable amount of dialog in French. Cause of concern? Oh, not at all. A chance to rejoice, as a matter of fact. In the final analysis one less thing to process. Transporter 3 feels like a film that has been processed through a grinder just to make it light. Light as a feather. Ultra-light. So light The Transporter can fathom pizza deliveries to far off planets. All the better, since one of his rules is to not open the package. Of course, I wouldn’t bet on it. If you have seen the other two, you wouldn’t too. And while you’re at it, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to bother yourself with the story either.
        What kind of a grinder that might be, one might wonder. In a time when every action film, every franchise of note is moving towards darker, heavier tones, this one strives to take a detour off into preposterous-land. The point, it might seem, is not to make a better film, but one that might outdo the previous ones in all possible departments of the outrageous. The second one had The Transporter jumping his Audi up an incline and making a neat spin in mid air just in time for the crane hook to grab the bomb and be the lone casualty. Here, right in the middle of a car chase, where the black Audi is being chased by a black Mercedes, there appear two trucks driving side by side and blocking the road, and the chase. Maybe the two truck drivers are pals catching up on each other’s lives, or maybe they just got acquainted and were driving away their boredom. Especially since the long road seems to have been set in a far off land where nobody is ever cited driving on it. Kinda like a free way. I mean, really free. The Transporter honks his horn, and the two trucks seem to be so taken in by the surprise that a thing as elementary as veering to the left causes endless confusion. You know it is really three simple steps. Indicating, braking and turning. Maybe they both were having such a great time, and they really didn’t expect for anyone to turn up. Neither from front, nor from behind. The Transporter though has a smart idea. He always has, even if he is stripped of his gadgets. He jerks it with a swift motion towards the left, and there you go, the car is driving on two wheels. Economy of position, and it smoothly negotiates its way between the two trucks.
        I’m not sure if you have seen such a stunt ever been attempted, but I’m sure you haven’t ever seen it shown with more contempt. The director here is Olivier Megaton, kinda like a cool name for a bad film, and I believe he has strict instructions to make a ridiculous and entertaining film. Seems like the instructions suffered a short circuit somewhere. We already laugh our hearts out at the stunts on display in The Transporter films, but this time around it seems the director, watching us laugh, wants to jump in and join too. The car chases are in full acceleration, by which I mean it is all being run fast forward. With action films, it is always cut to the chase. Here, it is cut away from the chase, to the next. There’re so many chops in the action sequences they might as well be still frames on a flip book. I believe you have an idea about the grinder now.



        Two things do stand out in this film though. Stand out, as in getting outside the production line and standing right out. There’s a girl in the Audi, kidnapped by the bad guys. She is The Transporter’s job, and a point of interest here is the film intends to keep it as a surprise. The surprise everybody knows about. Never mind. Her name is Valentina, and she is played by Natalya Rudakova. And her casting is a matter of great wonder. I’m sure her audition didn’t involve rehearsing any scene. Only her freckles. That army of them, an ungodly number of them, making their way to every which where. Everywhere. Weren’t it for the multi-layered eye shadow, I am sure I would have spotted a few of them there as well. I was never a man of freckles, but I am a transformed man now. It was after all a matter of numbers, and under them, Rudakova is a glorious sight. She cries, and the tears already drenched in mascara, dazzle their way over the freckles creating an arresting canvas of various shades of gray. The red hair around provides quiet a backdrop. The Transporter is smitten too, and at her demand, involves in a bit of striptease. She dangles the car keys before him. Now I know, what a male striptease ought to involve. No, not just The Full Monty. The true joy comes when the stripper is surrounded by a battalion of bad guys, who venture to engage one by one, and are lent the smashing of their lives. And as they go down, they take a piece of clothing off the stripper, gradually revealing a muscular body. Yeah, that might work. Speaking of which, I have learnt, when spoken with an indiscernible accent, keys and striptease rhyme. And so do keys, and a kiss.
        Oh yeah, the other stand out feature. There’s a bracelet on both The Transporter and Valentina. It has been designed to explode if they venture more than 75 feet from the car. Nice trick, especially since it has him chasing his car on a bicycle through everything that can play the part of an obstruction.

1 comment:

Thomas Watson said...

Came out my Sophomore year. Made me a fan of Statham since.