Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TRANSPORTER 3 (Blu-Ray)

As it happens, I’m an action movie junkie and a fan of the balding badass Brit known as Jason Statham (CRANK, DEATH RACE). For my money, he’s the only action star currently working who’s worthy of that noble appellation. He is the sole legitimate successor to the blood-encrusted legacies of Eastwood, Bronson, Schwarzenegger, and Norris, and his films are real favorites here at the Late Show, as they manage to honor the no-holds-barred, balls-out action genre perfected in the 80’s… and keep it alive.

I’m particularly fond of the TRANSPORTER series. The first entry was a fun blend of kung fu and car chase flix, with plenty of explosions and a suitably iconic protagonist. The second upped the ante, with even more outrageous stunts and sly wit, and now Lionsgate brings the third (and hopefully far from final) entry in the TRANSPORTER franchise to DVD and Blu-Ray Disc.

Once again written by producer Luc Besson (LEON, THE FIFTH ELEMENT) and Robert Mark Kamen, this latest installment of the series has another delightfully ludicrous plot: Frank Martin (Statham) is forced by a nefarious villain to drive a beautiful young hostage (fetchingly freckled newcomer Natalya Rudakova) across the European countryside. If he attempts to stop or leave the car, a bracelet on his wrist will detonate and blow him to hell. This set up makes for a bunch of interesting situations and action sequences, including a fantastic bicycle chase and some outrageous – and completely ridiculous – car/train stunts. In other words, it’s awesome.

Director Olivier Megaton (!) is new to the franchise, but delivers a creditable job, keeping the pace brisk and imbuing the film with a slick, hip look. My only complaint is that he edits the action scenes and fights with the same ADD, hyperkinetic cutting style so in vogue today (see my review of QUANTUM OF SOLACE, for more bitching on this subject), instead of letting shots play out and allowing the audience to track and enjoy the efforts of the highly-paid and talented stunt teams.

Lionsgate’s Blu-Ray of TRANSPORTER 3, looks and sounds fantastic, with a razor-sharp, hi-def 2:35.1 widescreen transfer and both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS-HD audio. The package also includes a standard definition "Digital Copy" of the film (does anyone actually use these things? I don’t, and I resent paying for them.) There are a number of bonus features, including a commentary track by Megaton, various featurettes, and several BD Live applications.

If you’re a Statham and/or TRANSPORTER fan, number 3 is definitely worth picking up. And, if you’re HD equipped, the Blu-Ray is the way to go. Recommended.

BUY: Transporter 3 [Blu-ray]