Transporter 3
Please punch her in the face, leave her for dead and drive away!

Theatrical Release Date: 11/26/2008
Director: Olivier Megaton
Cast: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, Robert Knepper, François Berléand

Sometimes, films are so bad that they’re funny because you can laugh at all of their mistakes. Other times, they’re “Transporter 3″. Do yourself a favor and just throw your money in a shredder if you plan on seeing this … or send it to me … I feel like someone owes me a lot of money for sitting through this one.

Punch her in the face!

No, that’s not a random written version of Tourette’s – That’s the line you’ll be thinking in your head for about the last 80% of this cinematic masterpiece, which is the latest in the Jason Statham is a driving badass franchise. Why would you want to say such a hurtful comment over and over and over and over again? Hmmm …. where to start.

You see, in this installment, our beloved Audi driver/package delivery courier is forced to transport a case in the trunk along with a mysterious (and ultra-annoying) female companion (Natalya Rudakova) to a destination of the client’s choosing.

How does the villain (Robert Knepper, whose overall performance I blame on the script) forcibly gain Statham’s services? Well, by borrowing a trick from that classic Rutger Hauer & Mimi Rogers film “Deadlock” of course. Only instead of neck collars wired to explode if they venture too far away from each other, the filmmakers here went with bracelets proximally tied to the car. Oooh, fancy.

Honestly, as annoying as that is as a plot device, the rest of the film does little to render that point moot. From the directing to the editing to the writing – “Transporter 3″ manages to land itself in worst film of the year territory and I’m not being facetious in any way – this film is really terrible.

I’ll being my assault on editors Camille Delamarre and Carlo Rizzo and director Olivier Megaton (who’s apparently a big enough jerk to take his last name from a reference to the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima according to IMDb … his real given name is Fontana). I completely understand that this isn’t a film that one might expect high drama from or even a plausible set-up and resolution. Audiences want good action, simple as that.

But Megaton and his team decided that even with excellent fight sequences choreographed by Corey Yuen (who directed the first and only good film in this franchise), he’d speed up the film and cut it together like a music video on Ritalin. This only made enjoying what seemed to be good work by Yuen, Statham and the stunt team virtually impossible. If I want to see sped up action and non-sensical editing, I can find the latest Steven Seagal direct-to-dumpster vehicle.

Moving onto the script, it really does pain me to knock series creator and co-writer Luc Besson. His films aren’t always as spectacular as “Leon (The Professional)” but they work within the surreal sensibility that he creates. Take “Angel-A” or “The Fifth Element” for example. Both are far from traditional and dabble often in the comically absurd but they work because the entire tone of the film matches the acting and writing. Here, via a combination of terrible directing, editing and casting (I’ll get to this soon), Besson’s playful dialogue comes off worse than junior high Shakespeare.

Onto the reason I want so dearly to punch a woman in the face, we arrive at Natalya Rudakova. Where the hell did the casting department find her? What producer is she related to? I’m thinking much worse thoughts but since I don’t know the woman personally, I’ll refrain from expounding on them (and I think you get the gist).

For the first 15 minutes or so, she seems to be okay for the part … of course, that’s probably because the character is either sleeping or unconscious at the time. Once she does begin to speak, what begins as mild annoyance springboards to rampant hostility when she decides to take a few “happy” pills and down it with a splash of vodka. From there on out, Rudakova creates quite possibly the most annoying character on film since Jar Jar Binks.

She taunts and teases Statham’s character for the rest of the film and almost every time she spoke, I was hoping he’d deliver a right cross to her jaw and save the audience from her prattling. I realize that films “need” to have a love interest (really? do they?) and since she’s the only woman in the film, it had to be her (really? did it?). But still, a professional criminal (with a conscience) like Statham would have delivered a sharp blow to her skull, gagged and tied her up in the back of the car, and gotten on with the job.

Alas, twas not to be and all I can continue to say in my head (and aloud at times) while watching the film was “Punch her in the face!” … and hope for either a blackout or natural disaster to speed the film to its conclusion.

Fans of the series may be thinking, well it certainly can’t be worse than the ridiculous and over-the-top “Transporter 2“. Think again, because at least that one is consistently but playfully awful as it ignores the laws of physics and confuses our brains with what physical acts the human body can perform and endure.

Here, Megaton and the rest of his Decrapticons have just laid a stinky egg for audiences to hold their noses at while praying for divine intervention (or for Statham to punch her in the face!). I’m only sparing “Transporter 3″ the lowest rating possible because the first 15 minutes are okay and I don’t think it’s necessarily Statham or Yuen’s fault that the franchise has gone downhill since the original film. However, there’s no way in H E double hockey sticks that I can give it any more than a 1 out of 5.

And remember: Punch her in the face! Seriously … for all of us … knock that woman out and give audiences some small measure of peace.