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Frank Martin puts the driving gloves on to deliver Valentina, the kidnapped daughter of a Ukranian government official, from Marseilles to Odessa on the Black Sea. En route, he has to contend with thugs who want to intercept Valentina's safe delivery and not let his personal feelings get in the way of his dangerous objective.
For more about Transporter 3 and the Transporter 3 Blu-ray release, see Transporter 3 Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 7, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, François Berléand, Robert Knepper, Jeroen Krabbé, Alex Kobold
Director: Olivier Megaton
» See full cast & crew
Transporter 3 Blu-ray Review
'Transporter' fans should escort this disc into their Blu-ray collections.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 7, 2009
One condition: I drive my own car.
The Transporter films, like xXx and xXx: State of the Union, for example, represent solid if not unexceptional genre pictures that offer shoulder-shrugging entertainment. Now under the wings of a new studio, seeing its third director in three tries, but retaining the same star, they're good enough to keep the audience watching through to the end, but good luck remembering the finer details a week later. Other than generic Horror, there may be no other genre so consumable and ultimately forgettable than moderately-budgeted Action pictures. They're akin to a good fast-food hamburger, maybe something that might be found at a Chotchkie's if everything goes right, but don't expect prime rib here. These sorts of pictures are easy, cheap, readily available, and satisfy even a modest hunger for entertainment.
Plot? What plot? Any semblance of a plot in movies of this variety is superficial at best. It serves as nothing more than a shaky bridge to tie together the action scenes and, in this case, develop the burgeoning relationship between Frank (Jason Statham, The Bank Job) and Valentina (Natalya Rudakova in her film debut). In the interest of keeping with format, here's the nuts-and-bolts that hold that bridge together. Transporter Frank Martin violently rejects his latest job proposal and recommends to his potential employers the name of a close associate. Soon enough, his friend is dead and the package literally finds itself in Frank's living room. He is now left with little choice but to once again get behind the wheel of his favorite Audi and escort a young woman, Valentina, across Europe while her father is pressured into a deal with the film's villain, Johnson (Robert Knepper, "Prison Break"). To ensure Frank doesn't stray too far off task, his car is modified to allow Johnson to track its every move, and both Frank and Valentina are outfitted with bracelets that will explode should they wander more than 75 feet away from the car. As Frank and Valentina speed across Europe, they will fight off evil henchmen, chit-chat about their favorite cuisine, and perhaps even come to see one another as more than a necessary nuisance.
Transporter 3 features a paper-thin plot that barely makes any sense, but fortunately, it's not robust stories or life-changing philosophical undercurrents that make this and similar films a success. No, they rely on hard-hitting action and over-the-top stunts to keep audiences satiated, and in that respect, Transporter 3 is a general success. Like any good Jason Statham picture, this one features plenty of hand-to-hand combat sequences that offer dazzling fight choreography, though it is unfortunately toned down to earn a more audience-friendly PG-13 rating. There is also some gunplay added to the mix to spice things up here and there. This film is also a great commercial for Audi. Frank's car-of-choice is sleek, stern, and muscular in every shot, and behind Statham, it is the star of the show. The car chases are fairly exciting, too; they begin humbly enough but become highly entertaining as they progress, featuring some nifty stunts, camerawork, and sounds to deliver the goods Transporter fans demand. They may not be on the same level as Ronin, but they do generally border on the spectacular.
Transporter 3 sometimes feels like it might have been an early draft for a Crank spinoff or sequel. This film doesn't enjoy quite the same relentless pace as Crank, but certain elements would seem right at home in Chev Chelios's world. Perhaps it is because Jason Statham seems comfortable performing in these sorts of films, not to mention the abundance of action, that such a parallel might be drawn. The actor has definitely been typecast, but with good reason. Both Frank Martin and Chev Chelios offer incredible stamina and skill, able to withstand plenty of abuse and an onslaught of foes, all the while keeping their wits about them, their observation skills at their peaks, and their general level of intelligence above-average. Statham is as fans expect in this role -- lean, tough, skilled, and quick on his feet -- in other words, he plays the same character he plays in most of his other recent roles. Robert Knepper also delivers a solid performance as Johnson. He portrays a devious but mostly generic villain but does well enough with what he has to work with.
Transporter 3 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Lionsgate delivers Transporter 3 to Blu-ray with a stunning 1080p transfer presented inside its 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The image is consistently sharp and clear and impresses from the get-go. It features incredibly rich colors that jump straight off the screen and are presented fairly naturally, perhaps slightly warm in appearance. Transporter 3 ranks near the level of excellence as seen in Australia, both in terms of its color as well as the clarity and depth of the image, not to mention the fantastic spectrum of detail that is to be seen in every shot. Rock formations, crowded city streets, human faces, and more offer jaw-dropping resolution that rivals the very best seen so far on Blu-ray. Even long-distance shots reveal clarity and detail that is above and beyond, with every square inch of most every frame revealing seemingly each nuance there is to be seen. Film grain is lightly presented over the transfer and adds to the theatrical-quality feel of the Blu-ray presentation. Black levels are generally exceptional, though flesh tones occasionally stray towards a red shade. Transporter 3 represents another demo-worthy transfer from Lionsgate.
Transporter 3 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Lionsgate brings Transporter 3 to Blu-ray with a top-of-the-line DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless soundtrack sure to wake the neighbors. The track creates a full and rich sound field with sonic goodness emanating consistently from each speaker in conjunction with a tremendous amount of deep, rumbling bass, and that's just what is to be heard during the film's opening moments. Transporter 3 offers a nonstop sonic attack that will test even the best of sound systems. Bass is easily the sonic highlight of the film. Whether in the rip-roaring music, many explosions, or just the rumbling of an idle car engine, its presence is heard -- and felt -- consistently throughout the movie. The track also offers a more subtle yet highly effective presence in quieter scenes; two brief fishing scenes in the film feature the calming water flowing realistically around the listening area, and listeners will be everything but wet. Dialogue reproduction, too, is worthy of a top-tier soundtrack. Still, it is the action sequences that shine, and they are ridiculously loud and aggressive, sure to leave a 104-minute grin on the faces of home theater enthusiasts everywhere.
Transporter 3 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Transporter 3 bursts onto Blu-ray with several bonus features, a commentary track with Director Olivier Megaton leading the charge. The director covers all the bases to satisfaction, sharing his recollections on the beginnings of the film, the impact of the actor's strike on the project, the strengths of the script including his pleasure with both the villain and the performance of actor Robert Knepper, the design of the bracelet, and plenty more. Megaton offers a track that is both an easy and pleasant listen. Special Delivery: Transporters in the Real World (480p, 13:49) features interviews with former Secret Service agents, Intelligence Operatives, Special Forces, and Navy SEALs, amongst others. They discuss the role of a real-world transporter, including duties, clientele, the physical and mental challenges of the profession, and more. Making-of 'Transporter 3' (480p, 16:16) takes viewers briefly through the process of the production, looking at the challenge of improving on the first two films, including a glimpse at the film's costuming; fight choreography and stunts; Robert Knepper's, Jason Statham's, and Natalya (Sasha) Rudakova's contributions to the film; and shooting the car chase sequences and the film's climax. The piece is intercut with plenty of interview clips with primary cast and crew.
Storyboard Compare (480p, 2:47) looks at the importance of storyboards to the film. Visual Effects (480p, 2:33) is an interesting and too-brief look at the incorporation of special effects into the film. The Sets (480p, 2:10) examines the architecture as seen in Frank Martin's home and takes another brief look at the making of the film's climax. Concluding this supplemental package is MOLOG functionality and 1080p trailers for Transporter 3, Crank 2: High Voltage, The Punisher, Bangkok Dangerous, The Spirit, and War. Disc two of this set features a digital copy of the film. Played back on a second generation iPod Touch, the movie enjoys a nice looking transfer with strong colors, good detail, and far less blocking than seen in most other digital copies. Likewise, the sound is fairly robust with discrete effects traveling in between the two channels with good intensity, topped off with solid dialogue reproduction.
Transporter 3 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
At the end of the day, Transporter 3 is a transparent, irrelevant movie that offers fine action sequences wrapped up in a slightly less-than-coherent, paper-thin plot. It's a nice time waster but not much more. It tries to be a bit more than a straight action picture, attempting to develop and showcase a tender side and relationship between its lead characters that more often fizzles rather than succeeds. Lionsgate's Blu-ray presentation of Transporter 3 is as expected -- marvelous. The video quality is razor-sharp and wonderfully detailed, bested only by the explosive lossless soundtrack. The disc even offers a decent supplemental package. Jason Statham and Transporter fans should be quick to add this to their collection, and Blu-ray aficionados looking for the latest top-tier soundtrack should give this one a rental.
Transporter 3 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Transporter 3 Gets Detailed - February 10, 2009
Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced the technical specs and special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Transporter 3', which is due to hit store shelves on March 10th, day-and-date with the DVD release. This two-disc set, which features a digital ...
• Transporter 3 Coming to Blu-ray - January 2, 2009
Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring 'Transporter 3' to Blu-ray on March 10th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Third in the popular action series, the film stars Jason Statham as a driver of mysterious cargo to dangerous locations. ...
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