Transporter 3's lead writer (Luc Besson) has a thing for redheads.
I came to this conclusion after watching Transporter 3. I'm a big fan of Besson's science fiction foray, The Fifth Element, and all I could think as I watched the slinky, thickly accented Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) was how Transporter 3 would have been so much better if it had been Milla Jovovich in the role.
That I was distracted by the stiff Rudakova's acting is a testament to how much the film insists on zooming in on her, letting her drone on and on in her broken English, and the endless patience that Frank Martin (Jason Statham) seems to have for what amounts to a rich brat in a miniskirt and heels.
Oh right, the plot. So anyway, Martin is a wheelman who does jobs with certain rules. These are all meant to ensure success in Martin's job as a wheelman. By the time we reach Transporter 3, every one of those rules has been broken.
And that's the problem. The rules made Martin interesting. In Transporter 3, Martin has become a walking parody of himself, fetishized by the director to strip away (literally) everything likable about him, only to replace it with beefcake shots of Statham with his shirt off, whip-cut fight scenes that don't let us see his martial arts prowess, and aggravating supporting characters whom the Martin we know from the first movie would have left on the curb.
The gimmick here is that Martin can't just run away from his job because a super-advanced device is connected to his wrist that will blow him up if he is more than 75 feet away from the car. For reasons that only make sense to movie villains, Martin is forced to drive Valentina to a variety of locations, during which they track him constantly.
That's right, the bad guys track Martin's every move. In fact, the movie is obsessed with keeping Martin in the car to the point that the entire universe seems hell bent on keeping him in it. Even the laws of physics are in on this cruel joke, which helpfully bends its laws to allow Frank to do ridiculous things like drive his car on two wheels, float it to the surface using air pressure from its tires alone, and land it on a moving train.
The generic villain Johnson (Robert Knepper) is a victim of the So Bads. As in, he's So Bad that:
... he kidnaps drunk college girls!
... he shoots his own men when they asks stupid questions!
... he's helping sneak toxic waste into Europe!
That's right, uber-villains can now hit a new low: they're not just mean to you, they're mean to the environment!
The movie just spirals from there. Valentina, patently unlikable, somehow seduces Martin, who doesn't show the least bit of interest in her. Given that the ransom picture of Valentina shows her in a schoolgirl's uniform, there's at least a ten-year difference between her and Martin. Ick.
There are so many logic fallacies that you have to wonder if Besson's just mocking his audience. Statham as Europe's answer to the Kung Fu martial artist is just plain awesome -- I loved him in The Transporter and was willing to forgive the silliness of Transporter 2 -- but this is too much. Frank Martin deserves better.