Transporter 3

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Transporter 3
Theatrical release poster
Directed byOlivier Megaton
Written by
Based onCharacters
by Luc Besson
Robert Mark Kamen
Produced by
  • Luc Besson
  • Steve Chasman
CinematographyGiovanni Fiore Coltellacci
Edited by
Music byAlexandre Azaria
Distributed byEuropaCorp Distribution
Release date
  • November 26, 2008 (2008-11-26)
Running time
104 minutes
Budget€26.6 million[1]
($40 million[2])
Box office$112.9 million[3][2]

Transporter 3 (French: Le Transporteur 3) is a 2008 French action film directed by Olivier Megaton. It is the final installment in the original trilogy of the Transporter franchise. Jason Statham and François Berléand reprise their roles as Frank Martin and Inspector Tarconi. Frank Martin returns to France in order to continue his low-key business of delivering packages without question. Transporter 3 grossed $112.9 million, making it the highest-grossing film in the trilogy.


On a cargo ship at sea, two workers open a shipping container to discover barrels of toxic waste, and succumb to the deadly fumes. The ship's captain, aware of the cargo, disposes of their bodies. Meanwhile, having returned from Miami to the French Riviera, Frank Martin is unsuccessfully fishing with his friend Inspector Tarconi, who receives a call about a black Audi A8 that sped through French customs and evaded police. In Odesa, Ukrainian Environmental Agency Minister Leonid Tomilenko receives a threat from corrupt Ecocorp official Jonas Johnson to reopen business negotiations.

That night, the Audi crashes into Frank's home, driven by wounded transporter Malcolm Melville, whom Frank had referred when he declined a previous job. As paramedics take Malcolm away, Frank discovers a passenger in the back seat who warns him not to take her from the car; Frank realizes the metal bracelets she and Malcolm are wearing will detonate if they are too far from the vehicle, but the ambulance explodes, killing Malcolm. Knocked unconscious by one of Johnson's henchmen, Frank wakes up wearing an explosive bracelet, and Johnson forces him to drive a package and Malcolm's passenger, Valentina, to Budapest.

Ecocorp, having arranged a secret deal with Tomilenko to allow the ship full of toxic waste into the country, tells him to expect another seven ships. Given one day to sign Ecocorp's agreement, Tomilenko sends his own agents to learn Frank's destination from the GPS in Malcom's car. While Tarconi researches Johnson's motives, Frank goes off-course to visit his mechanic friend Otto. Johnson's men arrive to order them back on the road and Frank fights them off, but Otto is unable to disarm the explosive transmitter inside the car.

Frank reaches Budapest, but one of Johnson's men steals the Audi with Valentina inside. Chasing them down by bicycle, Frank recovers the car and Johnson redirects him to Bucharest. Pursued by Tomilenko's agents in a black Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Frank manuevers them off a cliff and realizes Valentina is the real package. Taking the car keys, Valentina forces Frank to strip for her, and they have sex. She is revealed to be Tomilenko's daughter, who was drugged in Ibiza and transported by Malcolm for Johnson to blackmail her father.

Johnson redirects Frank and Valentina to Odesa, ambushing them on a bridge. Valentina is captured and her bracelet is removed, while Frank drives into the lake and Johnson leaves him to die. Underwater, Frank uses air from the car's tires to inflate a large plastic bag, buoying the car to the surface where he is rescued by Tarconi and the Ukrainian police. Boarding a train with Valentina, Johnson gives Tomilenko fifteen minutes to sign the contract.

Frank jumps the Audi on top of the train and kills Johnson's men, but Johnson is too far from the car for him to reach and uncouples the train cabs. Jumping his car into the next cab, Frank subdues Johnson and takes his key, attach the bracelet to Johnson instead, and sends the Audi into reverse. Johnson is killed when the bracelet detonates, and Frank reunites with Valentina. Tomilenko learns from Tarconi that Valentina is safe and tears up the Ecocorp contracts, while the cargo ship is raided by police. Frank and Tarconi return to fishing in Marseilles, joined by Valentina.



Natalya Rudakova was spotted by Luc Besson on the street as she hurried to her job at a New York City hair salon. He paid for 25 acting lessons over a six-month period, and brought her to audition in Paris, before she received the role.[4] Roger Ebert noted the rarity of leading ladies who are heavily freckled.[5]

Shooting was initially expected to last for 16 weeks, in France. It was also filmed in Odesa, Ukraine.[6]


Unlike its predecessors, Transporter 3 was released by Lionsgate Films instead of 20th Century Fox in the United States. On its opening weekend, the film opened at number 7 with $12 million.[7] The film grossed $31.7 million in the United States and in Canada and $77.3 million in other countries, for a total gross of $109 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film in the Transporter trilogy.[3] Transporter 3 was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on March 10, 2009 in the United States. 1,108,030 units were sold, bringing in $19.7 million in revenue.[8] Icon Films picked up the rights to distribute the film in the UK and Australia.[9]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 40% of 115 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 4.8/10. The website's consensus reads: "This middling installment in the Transporter franchise is a few steps down from its predecessors, featuring generic stunts and a lack of energy."[10] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 51 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

Roger Ebert gave praise to Megaton's direction for sidestepping the shaky cam for more stable visuals and found Statham to be a "splendid action hero," calling it "a perfectly acceptable brainless action thriller, inspiring us to give a lot of thought to complex sequences we would have been better off sucking on as eye candy."[5] Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum rated the film a B grade, noting how the plot is similar to previous efforts but said it "makes good on its formula with no pretensions."[13] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle said, "Transporter 3 is terrifically stupid fun, in the very best (or worst, depending on your tolerance for this sort of thing) sense."[14] The A.V. Club's Scott Tobias said the movie falls short of the standards set by the first two Transporter films but gave praise to the "Speed-like bracelet gimmick" for delivering on the action scenes and the decent chemistry between Statham and Rudakova, concluding that: "It's enough to pass the time, but just barely."[15] Mike Mayo of The Washington Post called it "the best of the unapologetically ridiculous series", pointing out the "hyperactive editing" in the cartoonish vehicular stunts and fight scenes, concluding that: "Overall, the production has the polish and pace that producer/co-writer Luc Besson's work is known for. Any complaints about the lack of substance are pointless."[16]

Jim Vejvoda of IGN wrote that: "Transporter 3 gets some points for a few cleverly handled action sequences, but the romantic subplot and nods to Crank ultimately undermine the film."[17] Norman Wilner of NOW criticized the premise for lacking the "nice balance between car stunts and gymnastic punch-ups" from previous films and forcing Statham to perform more driving scenes than hand-to-hand combat ones, concluding that: "It's not the best use of his talents."[18] Jeremiah Kipp of Slant Magazine was critical of the filmmakers utilizing the "ultra-slick, sexy-sheen, redundant style of car commercials" for their overall visual aesthetic and Statham's dry humor coming across like Sean Connery's James Bond in Goldfinger.[19] Peter Howell of the Toronto Star criticized the overall plot structure and monotonous pacing for betraying the film's "action status," saying: "You know a series is in trouble when it begins mocking its own premise."[20] James Berardinelli called it "the most frustrating entry into a series that has never set the bar terribly high", commending Statham and the fight scenes he's in but was critical of the nonsensical plot trying to fit in with the action scenes and the car chases coming across as "empty amusement", concluding that: "Transporter 3 is proof that brain-dead action movies can be found in theaters during Oscar season as well as during the summer. Fans of the first two Transporter films will likely find this one diverting, although it is a step in the wrong direction. Others will wonder how a movie this disjointed and poorly scripted could get made."[21]

Rudakova's performance was generally derided by critics. Berardinelli commended her sexual appeal, despite not being "conventionally attractive" for the role, but felt her English delivery came off like "phonetic readings."[21] Vejvoda called it "one of the most grating film debuts of all time," criticizing her romantic scenes opposite Statham as not "particularly charming or sexy."[17] Conversely, Ebert said that "Rudakova is no Bonnie Hunt when it comes to personality. She skulks, pouts, clams up, looks out the window, and yet falls in love with the Transporter. Some perfectionists will no doubt criticize her acting. I say the hell with her acting. Look at those freckles. I can never get enough of freckles."[5] Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle found her to be the "perfect woman" for the film, pointing out her "Dennis the Menace freckles, red hair and semi-crazy behavior," and lacking the "plastic hotness of your primped-up Bond girl."[22]


  1. ^ "The Transporter III (2008)". JP's Box-Office. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Transporter 3 (2008) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  3. ^ a b "Transporter Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  4. ^ "Jason Statham – Statham's Love Interest Was Plucked From Obscurity". November 11, 2008. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger (November 25, 2008). "Your special delivery sometimes may be forced to leave the road". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on August 11, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020 – via
  6. ^ Hayhurst, David (February 25, 2008). "Statham revs up 'Transporter 3'". Variety. Archived from the original on January 2, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2008.
  7. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results from November 28–30, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  8. ^ "Transporter 3 (2008) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  9. ^ "Icon hijacks 'Transporter 3'". Variety. June 12, 2008. Archived from the original on December 17, 2019. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  10. ^ "Transporter 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 28, 2020. Edit this at Wikidata
  11. ^ "Transporter 3". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  12. ^ "Home". CinemaScore. Retrieved 2022-02-27.
  13. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (November 25, 2008). "Transporter 3". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 17, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  14. ^ Savlov, Marc (November 28, 2008). "Transporter 3 - Movie Review". The Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 17, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  15. ^ Tobias, Scott (November 25, 2008). "Transporter 3". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on August 7, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  16. ^ Mayo, Mike (November 26, 2008). "Transporter 3". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 7, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Vejvoda, Jim (November 26, 2008). "Transporter 3 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on December 27, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  18. ^ Wilner, Norman (November 26, 2008). "Transporter 3". NOW. Archived from the original on March 18, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  19. ^ Kipp, Jeremiah (November 23, 2008). "Review: Transporter 3". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on April 23, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  20. ^ Howell, Peter (November 26, 2008). "Transporter 3: A love story of a man and his car". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on March 19, 2020. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  21. ^ a b Berardinelli, James. "Transporter 3". Reelviews. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  22. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (November 26, 2008). "Movie review: 'Transporter 3' stays in low gear". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.

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